The Mansfield boys soccer team finds itself in a bit of a scrap for the fourth and final playoff spot this season, and coach John Fazekas said it will likely come down to the final game of the season against Midlothian to determine who is in and who is out.
Mansfield played Cedar Hill on Tuesday night after the press deadline and will travel to Midlothian at 8 p.m. on March 17 to take on the Panthers in its season finale. See www.dfwvarsity.com for results.
“It's going to be a very aggressive game,” Fazekas said. “They're going to come out and give it everything they've got. They have nothing to lose, and we have nothing to lose. I'm sure it will be a little nerve-wracking at first until things settle down. It's always been a battle with them, and I expect more of the same.”
Mansfield lost to South Grand Prairie by a score of 4-0 on Friday night, and Fazekas said it was one of those games for his team that was kind of a tale of two halves.
“I think we played really well the first half of the game and kept things scoreless,” Fazekas said. “Starting the second half, we started well, but we made a mistake and they scored. After that, the floodgates kind of opened up on us.”
Mansfield finds itself in fourth place as the playoffs approach and Fazekas said that he anticipates it coming right down to the wire to determine who gets a playoff spot and who misses out.
“Right now, we're in fourth place, and we're battling with Midlothian,” Fazekas said. “So it is probably going to come down to the last game of the season. The winner of that game will probably be the one that advances to the playoffs. We played well against them the first time and beat them 2-1.
“We feel confident going into that game, even though we know it's going to be a good game, but we've got 18 seniors who don't want to end their season. We feel confident that they will come out really fired up and ready to go.”
Fazekas said that his entire team has played well this season, but said that a couple of players that have really stepped up for the Tigers.
“Chase Lankford is probably our best player right now, and he is our team leader,” Fazekas said. “He's our leading goal scorer, and when he's on, the team's on. He's a big key, and then on defense, Kody Korleski is going a great job of leading our team defensively. Those two guys have been great for us.”
With the layoff Mansfield will have before its season finale with Midlothian on March 17, Fazekas said he plans to do a couple of things.
“We're going to come back on Thursday and Friday, because we want to stay as sharp as possible,” Fazekas said. “We will go easy, but we want to get as many touches as we can going into the Midlothian game.”