Don Sparks

Back in action

Three Frisco teams return to playoff action on Tuesday. On the boys’ side, Frisco Wakeland (23-2-3) faces Rockwall-Heath while Frisco Centennial will face Richardson Pearce. The Wakeland girls also return to the pitch to face Pearce, also on Tuesday. All three coaches are ready to resume their playoff runs.

Wakeland boys’ coach Rusty Oglesby got a look at Rockwall-Heath (18-5-1) in their 7-1 win over Dallas Bryan Adams over the weekend and he was impressed with what he saw.

“They’re a solid little team,” he said. “They’ve got a central midfielder who just really works hard. I really liked watching him play. Their outside mids do a good job of getting forward. They don’t seem to have a lot of weaknesses. Their forwards work well off the ball and work well to get into opportunistic situations. It should be a good game.”

The Wolverines advanced with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Frisco HS in double-overtime on Thursday at Pizza Hut Park, a game his team can take some lessons from.

“We hadn’t been in an overtime situation since we played Pearce and Little Elm back in the tournament season,” Oglesby said. “It was good to play a team that really forced the pace of play. We saw we couldn’t force our will on them and had to settle in to wait for the right opportunity. We took advantage of that and that was a positive. It is a wake-up call. When you win 4-0 or 5-0, kids are kids and they start thinking every game is going to be that way. I think we’ll be better off for what happened last week.”

Junior forward Len Smith has four goals in the playoffs for the Wolverines. Geoff Hill, who headed in the game winner against Frisco, has scored twice.

The Frisco Centennial boys (19-4-1) also return to the field on Tuesday, when they will face Richardson Pearce (16-6-6). Jason Aune’s Titans advanced with a 4-1 win over Carrollton RL Turner last Thursday while the Mustangs beat Lovejoy 1-0 to advance.           

Centennial and Pearce met back on January 29 and played to a 1-1 draw but Aune knows his team is much different now than it was then.

“We’re not the same team we were in preseason, so it’s hard to say if they’re going to be the same,” the Centennial coach said. “I did watch them (Pearce) play and nothing has changed. I do expect them to come out and play hard. I expect their guys to want to compete and want to win the game as much as my kids do. It’s going to be a pretty good matchup. We went 1-1 in preseason and I expect a pretty good result, probably going overtime, for this one.”

Late in the season, it looked like the Titans might miss the playoffs. However, they won their district finale to qualify and have carried that groove into the postseason.

“I think the biggest thing is we’re finally playing to our potential. I’ve got a lot of big-time players and it’s been one of those things that we played a really tough preseason,” Aune said. “I had a majority of 5A teams on our schedule. District was tough and it’s proven that we’ve got one of the toughest districts around with the top four making it through to play each other again. I really think we’re hitting our stride right where we need to. We’ve gone through some tough times but good things are happening at the right time for us.”

Centennial has been lead in the playoffs by senior forward Imoh Edohoukwa, who had three goals. Sophomore midfielder Brenden Lee and senior midfielder Josh Franco also have two goals each for the Wolverines. However, the Titans have gotten goals from at least five different players thus far in the playoffs, a big plus for Aune.

“We’ve got those natural goal scorers but anytime those others can contribute, it’s nice. That’s what I have a lot of confidence in us to do,” the Titans coach said. “If someone is shut down, I have no doubt that the slack will be picked up by somebody else. It’s a team effort and that’s what the score sheets are showing, that I’ve got a group of guys that are starting to work hard and put it together like they should.”

The Frisco Wakeland girls (18-0-5) will also face Pearce (19-4-2) on Tuesday with revenge on their mind. Last year, it was the Mustangs who sent the Lady Wolverines home in their first-ever playoff run. It’s a defeat that Kim Colon’s team hasn’t forgotten.

“We kind of had a sour taste in our mouth after last year. We gave up three goals in the first 10 minutes of that game and that put it out of reach early,” Colon said. “It was our first real big game, that game and the Highland Park game. We feel more prepared this year. We had a solid game against Frisco and hope we can take that into playing against Pearce.”

Her team comes off an impressive 4-1 win over Frisco on Thursday. Junior midfielder Logan White had a pair of goals in that win, giving her three in the playoffs. Fellow junior Ashley Kingston also scored, giving her three tallies this postseason.

Pearce advanced by defeating The Colony 4-1 last week. While the two teams have their share of different players this year, Colon still sees a lot of the same things that made her team’s next opponent so successful one year ago.

“They’re still very talented. I think the thing they have going for them is they have seniors who have been in this position several times,” Colon said of the Mustangs. ”They’re going to have good leaders. They have kids that play at the highest level in club soccer. Hopefully it will be a good game. They have a lot of experience. Even though we advanced far last year, their experience will be tough to match up with.”