Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Stretch run provides opportunities for Ryan
The margin separating Ryan from the top of the District 11-4A boys soccer standings is, officially anyway, two games.
In reality, though, the Raiders are just a few small slip-ups from being at the top of the pack more than halfway through district play.
That could all change tonight, though, when third-place Ryan takes on second-place Argyle at home with the hopes of avenging one of its two district losses this season.
“Every one of these games, one at a time, is going to be crucial at this point,” Ryan head coach Bob Lamon said. “This one is going to be big for us. It should be a pretty special atmosphere for the game.”
The stakes in this one couldn’t be any higher for the Raiders (11-8, 5-2) who sit a game back of Argyle and two games behind undefeated Birdville in the 11-4A standings.
Ryan lost to the Eagles 5-3 earlier this season after pulling out to an early lead only to watch it evaporate. Last week, the Raiders lost a 2-1 heartbreaker to Birdville after giving up the winning goal with just 30 seconds left to play.
Wins in those games would have left Ryan with undisputed possession of the top spot in the district. Now, they’re faced with either beating the Eagles in a rematch tonight or falling even further out of the title race.
Ryan will have to contend with Argyle (17-1, 6-1), which has been nearly unstoppable this season with a potent attack led by freshman Ian Sadler and Mats Wolthuis. Wolthuis is coming off a hat trick in a 3-0 win against Lake Dallas on Wednesday, while Sadler has been one of the district’s most potent attackers in his first year as a high school player.
“They just play very quickly,” Lamon said of the duo. “They’re able to force the defense to make mistakes. What impresses me about them is that just about every shot they make challenges the goalie. Their shots are always on frame. It takes a lot of maturity and skill to do that.”
Denton girls see week full of ups and downs
Trailing by two goals after just 10 minutes against Lake Dallas on Friday, Denton somehow managed to pull itself out of the fire and keep itself alive in the 11-4A playoff race.
On Wednesday, though, the Lady Broncos had no such luck, suffering a shutout loss against Ryan.
That comeback win over Lake Dallas might have been one of Denton’s best showings in district play this year. After giving up two goals early, the Lady Broncos (9-9, 2-6) stormed back behind three goals from Taylor Kennedy and used a game-winner from Kyla Petrie in the 60th minute to pull out a 4-3 win.
Those fortunes saw a reversal just one game later, though, as Denton struggled in a 4-0 loss to Ryan after losing two starters, including sweeper Morgan Rushing, to injury prior to the game.
“It’s almost like we played with one hand behind our back,” Denton coach Iseed Khoury said. “When you have a young team like we do, you can’t just take an injured player and replace her like an experienced group can. We have to go to our JV team, and you can’t ask a player that inexperienced to compete at a high level against a good team like that. It’s putting them in a situation where they can’t be successful.”
Still, Denton finds itself in position to make a late run at a playoff spot. The Lady Broncos will face Fort Worth Arlington Heights tonight at home before taking on second-place Birdville.
After that, though, they’ll have a chance at a late run with a game against an Argyle team that is winless in 11-4A play before turning around and playing Keller Timber Creek, and Trophy Club Byron Nelson — two of the teams currently ahead of them for playoff spots.
If the Lady Broncos can win those three games, they’ll move into third-place in the district and head to the playoffs. If they can’t, their season will be over.
“It’s fighting for our lives as far as the playoffs are concerned,” Khoury said. “We feel like we can get some points out of Birdville, but with those three games, it’s all in our hands.”
Guyer girls struggling so far in District 7-5A
After racing through non-district play undefeated, things seemed to be looking up for Guyer as it headed into its first season in Class 5A.
Since then, it’s been a very rocky road.
Stuck in a loaded district with three highly competitive teams, the Lady Wildcats (10-5-2, 2-5-2) are hovering near the bottom of the District 7-5A standings despite their hot start after losing to Coppell on Wednesday.
Guyer, which is fighting for playoff spots with state powers like Coppell and Southlake Carroll, fell to the Cowgirls 4-0. Still, things might be looking up, at least for the next two games.
The Lady Wildcats will have a chance to rebound against Keller Central tonight in a rematch of a game that ended in a 1-1 tie earlier this year. From there, Guyer will move on to face a Saginaw team it beat 8-0 back on Feb. 12.
Those two games could signal a chance for the Lady Wildcats to get back on track before heading into the final stretch of their season, which ends with a rematch with a Southlake Carroll squad that shut them out 3-0 last week.
Lady Raiders still racing through District 11-4A
So far, Ryan’s girls soccer team has been nothing short of perfect in district play.
The Lady Raiders won again on Wednesday, racing past Denton 4-0 behind an early goal by Kirby Wright and ensuing goals by Taylor Maxon, Stevie Harris and Lindsey Eccles to remain unbeaten in 4-4A play.
Ryan (15-2-1, 7-0) will put that record to the test against a struggling Argyle squad tonight. With a win, Ryan would be in prime position to lock up the top seed in district play heading into its season-ending rematch with previously unbeaten Birdville.
Last week, Ryan handed Birdville its only loss of the season in a 4-1 blowout. The Lady Raiders hold a three game advantage over Birdville because of that win.
MARSHALL MOORE can be reached at 940-566-6869. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .