The District 17-5A soccer race was officially settled last week.
On the girls side, Whitehouse went 8-1-1 (26 points) to capture the league title, with Jacksonville (5-1-4, 22 points) in second, Lindale (5-1-4, 20 points) in third and Ennis (2-5-3, 11 points) finishing fourth.
The boys were led by Nacogdoches (8-1-1, 25 points), with Corsicana (8-2-0, 24 points) second, Lindale (5-4-1, 16 points) third and Ennis (3-5-2, 12 points) in fourth.
All eight squads are now preparing for the Class 5A Region III soccer playoffs. Due to spring break, the teams will go two weeks after their district finales before opening the postseason.
“I kind of wish we didn’t have the break,” Lindale Eagles coach Jason Lawless said. “Two weeks between games is not good.”
Making things more challenging is many of the playoff qualifiers still do not know who their opponent will be.
The final week of the District 18-5A season is this week.
What we do know already is the Lindale boys will face Waco (20-1-1), the second-place team from 18-5A, on Friday, March 24, at either Tiger Stadium in Corsicana or Lumpkin Stadium in Waxahachie.
The girls side of things is a little fuzzier because 18-5A is still unsettled heading into its final round of play on Monday. Regardless of who the LadyCats play, Whitehouse coach Brad Jones said he is happy with how the season has gone so far.
“I thought we had a good shot (to win district), but I also knew our district would be strong,” Jones said.
Whitehouse finished district play with 54 goals, while only allowing eight for a superior +23 goal difference. Second-place Jacksonville finished with a +9 goal differential.
Sophomore forward Brooke Morris led the team with 20 goals in district play. Jones said senior Lindsey Raabe is Whitehouse’s “all-around player who should probably get our District MVP.”
Jones said sophomore goalkeeper Sydney Malmstrom has also been key to the LadyCats’ success.
It was the loss of Malmstrom that Jones said led to Whitehouse’s lone district loss, which inspired the team to go undefeated after that.
After a convincing district opening win, Malmstrom suffered a concussion in practice leading up to Whitehouse’s road game at Jacksonville.
“It happened the night before the game and we didn’t have a backup keeper,” Jones said. “I moved our best defender into the goal, we actually lost two players (on the field) because of it.”
Whitehouse surrendered three goals in a 3-2 loss, which dropped the Lady Cats to 1-1 in district. Whitehouse allowed five more goals in its remaining eight games.
“I think that loss helped us stay focused,” Jones said.
Jacksonville lost once in district play as well, but tied four times, including scoreless draws against Lindale and Corsicana, which gave the Maidens a second-place finish.
Lindale went 2-2-1 in the first half of district before going unbeaten the rest of the way with hard-fought draws against Whitehouse, Jacksonville and Ennis. That is not a coincidence because the Lady Eagles got Division I signee Taylor Webb (Mississippi State) back as basketball ended prior to the second half of district.
A power issue forced Lindale and Whitehouse to abandon their District 17-5A boys soccer finale.
The Eagles and Wildcats were engaged in a scoreless stalemate at Wildcat Stadium last week when the lights went out.
“We just flipped a coin like it was a tie,” Lawless said. “We would have come back the next day to finish, but the game didn’t mean anything to us (in the standings) and they were already out of it, so we called it (a tie).”
The Eagles move into the postseason averaging almost three goals per game. Sophomore Samuel Cox leads Lindale with 19 goals, with senior David Franke finding the back of the net 16 times.
“That’s pretty impressive to have to kids with that many goals,” Lawless said.
Lindale dealt Nacogdoches its only loss in district play, but was stopped twice by Corsicana, which kept the Eagles in third.