Adam Troxtell, Sports Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org
A great thing about finishing top of the district in Class 4A soccer is a bye week that sends teams straight into the first round of state.
Also, a bad thing about finishing top of district is a bye week into the first round of state, leaving teams with a week of no game time to absorb. The Chickasha girls (9-1, 6-0) had to endure that last week, waiting for either Weatherford of Classen SAS to decide who would be their first round opponents.
The No. 14 Lady Eagles (12-3, 3-2) prevailed in a 3-2 extra time victory over Classen, meaning they'll line up against Chickasha tonight at 8 p.m. Weatherford finished third in 4A District 1, behind Clinton and Elk City. In a win or go home situation, the Lady Chicks won't be taking anyone lightly.
"They're a pretty decent team," head coach Bethany Goble said. "Any team you face here in the playoffs, it's going to be difficult. I'm confident that if my girls are at their best, they can get the job done."
But coming off a week of strictly practice after a schedule that often included two games in seven days can play with a team's collective mind. It becomes important to maintain a schedule of game readiness and recovery as the ladies look to continue their good form which saw them take six wins from six in their first season at the Class 4A level.
Goble said she and the coaching staff have treated this week as "game-like," with match scenarios implemented in training sessions and a routine focussed on maintaing fitness. A benefit from the week off is Chickasha has been able to nurse any niggling injuries.
"The past few games, we've had those injuries are are just going to be there because they happen when you play game after game," Goble said. "I think the girls are starting to realize if you play tough, those just don't affect you."
Making such an adjustment is nothing new to Chickasha. After hosting the Chickasha Invitational, the Lady Chicks went a week without playing before welcoming Newcastle at home on April 8, a game they won 2-1. It was the beginning of a wondrous district season.
"They're eager, ready to play," Goble said. "I think the week off has made them excited and ready to get out there."
The signs look positive for Chickasha, so long as they continue the work that got them here. Weatherford suffered a 1-0 loss to non-district Elgin, the team Chickasha beat 2-0 in the final game of the season.
Both teams have about a +40 differential between goals scored and goals conceded. Although if Weatherford had issues with the Elgin attack, it'll be even more difficult for them against the Lady Chicks, who offer more outlets for goals and are a faster team comparatively.
It will be fitting, then, that they face a Lady Eagles defense that did not concede a goal until eight games into the season, in that loss to Elgin.