After the win against Johnson, the boys soccer team captured the third seed in the playoffs opening playoffs against Smithson Valley at BAC-West Friday at 7:30 p.m. The teams’ last meeting resulted in a 3-0 Smithson Valley win Jan. 15.
The loss of last year’s talented senior class made this year seem as if it would be a rebuilding time. While the preseason showed this to be true, the team turned their game around in order to capture a playoff spot. In fact, they ended the season with the same district record and playoff seed as last year’s Regional Quarterfinalist team.
“We had adversity at the beginning [of the season,]” sophomore Jarvian Wigfall said. “Everybody doubted us, but we came back strong and showed them that we could play.”
The amount of returning starters from last season is minimal, seniors Parker Miller and Jose Bermudez, and sophomore Chandler Farnsworth being the the true returning starters. Most of this year’s starting lineup has not seen much playing time, and more than half have never been in a high school soccer playoff game.
“I don’t think [our younger players are] used to as many fans as there’s going to be and especially the hostile crowd that Smithson Valley can bring,” Miller said. “So, I think [our youth] will hurt a little bit at the start, but, over the year, they’ve gotten used to big games and it doesn’t really affect how they play, so I think they’ll be alright.”
The team ended the preseason with a record of 2-6-0 (W-L-T). Although, they ended up with an even record of 9-9-2 because of their 7-3-2 district record.
When looking at the preseason record, the difficulty of the schedule has to be taken into account. Every area team on the preseason schedule made the playoffs, three of those being Brandeis, Clark, and Boerne Champion, which are also some of the top ranked teams in the state in their respective classifications.
“Every day at 6:30 in the morning, we get up together and we grind together,” Wigfall said. “Every day we make it a point to just get better.”
Since the start of district, the team has been more cohesive in their passing and have developed a nice on-field presences that gives them a commanding control of the ball. The team’s set pieces often result in successful passing and open lanes, compared to the struggles at the beginning of the season. Overall, this is a different team now than it was before the district season.
Players believe this team can make a deep playoff push in spite of their post season inexperience. The young sophomore Wigfall thinks this team will “go to State.”
“I think we can go as far as the guys are going to push,” Miller said. “It’s hard to predict what’s going to happen because every team we play is going to be a good team, but I think we can go pretty far.”