With spring break on the horizon, District 9-6A soccer won’t resume action until March 17 — granting the conference’s eight high schools a brief reprieve from what has been a rough-and-tumble run through league play.
That was made clear once again on Tuesday with races for both district championships tightening and playoff stakes heightening as teams prepare for the final week of the 9-6A schedule later this month.
Here’s a look at some of the notable happenings around the 9-6A soccer pitch on Tuesday.
Since the UIL assembled this 9-6A alignment in 2018, Allen and Prosper have stood out as the district’s two most well-rounded athletic programs, and fittingly enough, those two schools are on a collision course to hoist the conference titles in both boys and girls soccer.
Following Tuesday, the Allen boys and Prosper girls maintained their grip on first place in their respective districts, but are far from being in the clear.
Allen (7-1-4, 25 points) currently holds just a one-point lead on second-place Prosper (7-2-3, 24) in the boys table in a race that tightened on Tuesday after Prosper rode goals from Nathan Smith and Cooper Olson — including a score inside the final seven minutes of the match — to overtake Plano West, 2-1, in a battle of top-three teams.
That win, coupled with Allen’s 2-2 draw with McKinney Boyd — a result the Eagles let slip away after building a 2-0 lead and surrendering a late equalizer with three minutes left in the match — separates the top two sides in 9-6A by one point. Allen next travels to Prosper for a 7:30 p.m. showdown on March 17.
Meanwhile, all that stands between the Prosper (8-1-1, 25) and Allen girls (7-1-2, 23) heading into their highly anticipated rematch that same night are two points. Prosper, which has garnered statewide and national acclaim for entering the week undefeated on the season, suffered its first loss on Tuesday in a 3-1 setback to Plano West — a decision Allen capitalized on by defeating Boyd, 1-0, thanks a goal from Lauren Woodruff to creep within striking distance of Prosper.
Better late than never
Speaking of which, what a timely upset scored by the Lady Wolves to heighten the chase for 9-6A’s final two playoff spots.
Whereas Prosper and Allen are already assured one of the district’s top two seeds, third and fourth place remain wide open. Boyd’s (5-5-0, 15) loss to Allen still keeps the Lady Broncos in third place and three points clear of Plano Senior (3-4-3, 12), which had a bye on Tuesday, but a much-needed three points vaults West (2-4-4, 10) into fifth place.
The Lady Wolves erupted over the final 40 minutes on Tuesday with goals from Madison Tackett, Aisha Polk and Brooke Roberts to down Prosper following a scoreless first half. Matches against Plano East and Allen loom for West, whereas Plano still has bouts with Boyd and Prosper on its docket.
Should the two city rivals wind up gridlocked, the head-to-head tiebreaker belongs to Plano over West.
Spoilers gonna spoil
Following Tuesday’s matches, the girls district’s second-longest winning streak belongs to none other than seventh-place McKinney.
Despite being eliminated from postseason contention, the Lionettes have been a thorn in opponent’s sides over the back half of district play — picking up points in three consecutive matches after amassing just one point over its first eight.
That includes two straight wins, edging both West (2-1) and East (5-4) over the past week. The five goals scored against the Lady Panthers doubled as a season-high for the Lionettes, who have their always compelling “Crosstown Showdown” meeting with Boyd set for March 20 in their final match of the season.
Meanwhile, the Plano boys — embroiled in a rocky 2020 campaign after narrowly missing the playoffs in 2019 — have shown signs of life over the past week as well. The Wildcats got off the schnide Friday and nabbed their elusive first district win in a 5-3 victory over East and followed that up with a 2-2 draw on Tuesday against.
Jack Bender and Jackson Booth scored in the tie, which muddied the playoff hopes for both the Rangers (4-6-2, 14) and Panthers (4-7-1, 13), who sit in sixth and seventh place, respectively, and now behind McKinney (5-7-0, 15) as teams look to catch Boyd (4-3-5, 17) for the district’s last playoff berth.