Obviously, Byron Nelson’s girls soccer program has enjoyed its first year at the Class 6A level. The Lady Bobcats are going to the postseason.
After rolling off three wins last week – 2-0 over Keller, 2-0 over Northwest and 2-1 over Denton Guyer – Nelson (16-3, 10-2 in 5-6A) has already clinched a playoff berth and has control of the district race.
Nelson’s win over Keller pushed this team past the Lady Indians to the top of the standings. However, Nelson has yet to clinch the district title. Head coach Philip Salyer’s team played host to Keller Central on Tuesday during spring break week.
“We knew if we beat Keller, we thought we could gain that mental edge,” Salyer said. “That was great to get that win. I think the girls put it all in there and found something for what we need going into the last two games of the regular season.”
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This program always plays with high expectations. After all, the Lady Bobcats played in the 2014 then-Class 4A state semifinals and never backed off its belief that advancing to the 2015 playoffs was going to be part of the plan. Now, a district championship can be attained.
With so much time lost to the wintry weather, Salyer is going to give his team Wednesday and Thursday off before returning it to the field for a practice on Friday. He doesn’t want this group to lose its edge. It would be another week before Nelson plays again on March 20 at Keller Fossil Ridge.
“We expect these games to be hard-fought, because we’re going against teams that are fighting for a playoff spot,” Salyer said. “We want to finish our goal to finish at the top of the standings. We can’t take any of these games off.”
Plus, the playoff positioning is pretty important going into the bi-district round of the Region I playoffs. District 5-6A opposes a very deep and talented 6-6A district that features McKinney Boyd, Hebron and Plano West.
Denton Ryan is in third place with 15 points, while Keller Timber Creek is in fourth with 12 points. Denton Guyer and Central remain in the hunt with 10 points.
Owning the nemesis
If you have followed Nelson girls soccer, you know this program has had its share of great games against its rival Denton Guyer. But Guyer is in a down year after heavy graduation losses. Still, it doesn’t take away from the fact that Nelson swept the two meetings this year for the first time in school history. It beat Guyer, 3-0, on Feb. 10 in Trophy Club and then won 2-1 last Friday in Denton.
“We’re always going to have a lot of respect for them,” Salyer said. “They’re still a dangerous team. They made it very tough for us last week.”
From the defense
In the win at Keller, one of the goals was scored from sophomore defender Elsie Davis. Yes, a defender. There are certain situations where Salyer likes to bring a defender into an attacking situation.
The play worked perfectly. Davis came racing 60 yards up the right side of the field, took a feed from sophomore Ansley Bunger and finished it. It’s not the first time Davis has scored this year.
“We try to teach the back to pick the right times to do it,” Salyer said. “That one particular player worked perfectly. The timing couldn’t have been any better.”
The Lady Texans under Lincoln Hunt were eliminated from playoff contention last week. But they continue to play a respectable brand of soccer. Northwest (8-10-1, 3-9 in 5-6A) continued its season on Tuesday at Denton Ryan.