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Feel the burn as the soccer playoff races heat up

With the District 30-6A and 31-5A soccer seasons winding down, 10 of the 14 Big 7 schools’ boys and girls soccer teams remain in control of their own playoff destinies. Broken down by district, the 30-6A boys’ teams are faring the best, but broken down by school district, the Sharyland ISD teams are sitting the prettiest, in regards to the likelihood of qualifying for post-season play.  


Here we will take a look at each of the four districts, two boys’ and two girls’, involving Big 7 teams and how the 14 teams are faring, as only two weeks remain in regular season play. But first, for the benefit of those that may not be as familiar with soccer as they are with other team sports, let’s take a look at the rather unique way the district standings and playoff qualifiers are determined in soccer.


20180130 Soccer Boys LJHS vs MHS LG 18

Unlike most team sports in which it is won-loss records that determine how teams line up in the standings and which teams qualify for the playoffs, in soccer it is the accumulation of points the teams earn throughout the season that determines both of these. When a district game ends in regulation, the winning team gets three points and the losing team gets none. However when the outcome of a game that is tied at the end of regulation is decided by a shootout, the winning team gets two points and the losing team gets one. That is why it is possible in high school soccer for one team to finish the regular season with a better won-loss record than another team but still finish behind that team in the standings.


Now, let’s take a look at the four districts involving Big 7 teams and how they’re stacking up as the playoffs loom right around the corner.


District 30-6A – Boys
Of the four districts, there is only one in which it’s looking more and more likely as if every Big 7 team in that district will qualify for the playoffs; the 30-6A boys district. That’s because as of the end of Tuesday night’s games, the four top spots in that district are being occupied by Big 7 teams; Juarez-Lincoln (7-1, 21 pts), Mission (5-3, 16 pts), La Joya (5-3, 16 pts) and Palmview (4-4, 11 pts) while the bottom three spots are being occupied by the three McAllen teams, Memorial (3-5, 8 pts), Nikki Rowe (2-5, 6 pts) and McAllen High (1-6, 3 pts).


While there are no guarantees that this is the way the district will end up, with only four games remaining in most of these teams’ district schedules, it is very likely that at least three of the Big 7 teams will hold on to one of the top four spots and qualify for post-season play. If any of the McAllen teams are going to displace a Big 7 team in the top four, it will most likely be Memorial beating out Palmview for fourth place.


As for the district championship, Juarez-Lincoln is in the driver’s seat as the Huskies look to not only qualify for post-season play, but also to make another run at the 6A state championship game as they came within one win of playing in last year. Their remaining district schedule includes Mission High, McAllen High, La Joya and McAllen Memorial.


District 30-6A – Girls
While the 30-6A Big 7 boys’ teams are dominating the three McAllen teams, the opposite is the case when it comes to the 30-6A Big 7 girls teams. That’s because the three McAllen teams are currently occupying the top three spots in the district while the four Big 7 teams are occupying fourth through seventh places.


Through Tuesday night’s games, McAllen High (7-0) and McAllen Memorial (7-1) are tied for first place with 21 points each, Nikki Rowe (5-2) is in third place with 15 points, Juarez-Lincoln (4-4) is in fourth with 12 points, La Joya (3-5) is in fifth place with nine points, Mission (1-7) is in sixth place with three points and Palmview (0-8) is in last place with no points.


Last year, the Lady Huskies were the only Big 7 30-6A girls team to make the playoffs. They were district runner-ups with a 9-3 record and 26 points. Seeing as how they’re currently occupying fourth place in the district, they are the most likely 30-6A Big 7 girls team to make the playoffs this year. However, the Lady Coyotes could still get in; especially if they defeat the Lady Huskies in their second round match-up, a week from today.


District 31-5A – Boys
With only two weeks remaining in district play, the Valley View Tigers (11-0, 32 pts) have the 31-5A district title all but wrapped up. While the Sharyland Rattlers (8-3, 25 pts) and the Pioneer Diamondbacks (7-5, 23 pts) are both theoretically still within striking distance of the top spot, it is highly unlikely that the Tigers will allow anybody to knock them off the top of the District 31-5A hill this late in the season.


The good news for the Rattlers and the Diamondbacks is that they both control their own playoff destinies. While Laredo Martin (6-6, 19 pts), Mission Veterans (6-5, 18 pts) and Roma (6-5 18 pts), could possibly move up into second or third place should they win-out, those three teams will most likely be battling it out for fourth place and the district’s final playoff spot. Laredo Cigarroa (4-8, 12 pts), Laredo Nixon (3-8, nine pts) and Rio Grande City (0-11, 0 pts) are currently occupying the bottom three spots in the standings.


Of the three Big 7 teams in this district, the Sharyland Rattlers are the only one to make the playoffs last year.   


District 31-5A – Girls
The big question in this district is which Sharyland team will emerge as champs. With 31 points, the Sharyland Lady Rattlers (10-1) are currently alone atop the standings but with 29 points the Lady Diamondbacks (10-1) are nipping at their heels. Their second round match-up this coming Tuesday, could very well decide which team will win the title and which will have to settle for no better than second place.  


While Pioneer did win the first round match-up between these two teams, they did so in a shootout so they only gained a one point advantage in the standings. Since then the Lady Rattlers have gone undefeated while the Lady Diamondbacks lost to Laredo Martin to drop them back into second place.


With 25 points Martin (8-4) is currently in third place while Roma (8-4) is in fourth with 24 points.  The only other Big 7 team in the district is Mission Veterans (4-8), and the Lady Patriots are pretty much out of the playoff picture with 11 points.

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