A view from my side.
The season swings into the final two weeks of qualifying play. We are assured a spot in the playoffs, but, due to scheduling issues, have not played our top Conference opponent yet in regulation play. The only time we met all season was last week, in the Metro Conference Tournament finals. We prevailed, 2-1, on a set piece in the 3rd minute of the 2nd Golden Goal overtime period. It was an amazing match, hard fought by both sides and sets up an interesting week of play this week.
We have to play each conference opponent twice in the regular season in a non-tournament setting. We’ve put them off all year and now will play them twice this week. We will play tomorrow and again on Thursday. This side, located just a few miles from us, has risen fast from the beginnings of a program to a force to be reckoned with. They are well positioned to draw players from three strong clubs in the area and have put together a solid organization. They are the reason we failed to advance to the Final Four last year, only the third time in 10 years we’ve failed to make the trip.
These two matches will determine our ranking going into the playoff brackets. Taking first place in the conference will give us the preferable match ups leading to the Final Four. Either way, we would still have to play either this team or our arch rival from across town, to get where we want to go. We are an extremely young side again this year, starting only one senior and one junior. The remaining starters are 6 sophomores and 3 freshmen. There have been a number of “men vs boys” matches for us this year, but we are holding our own, doing well, and are currently 14-3-1. Four more matches to the regular season end. All four will be tough and challenging, but “win-able.” Two are “must wins”.
It’s going to be a hard run to the finish. We train this afternoon after the emotional high of beating our arch rival on Saturday in front of a huge crowd during our Alumni Weekend celebration. They boys should be ready. They should be set. They have the potential and they have the desire. I hope they are able to dig down deep and put it all together as we make our run around the clubhouse turn.