It is a big and busy sports day today for many Aledo High School sports teams.
The Aledo Ladycats and Bearcats soccer teams will begin bi-district playoff matches today, and the best news is that both teams will be playing at the same stadium in back-to-back matches.
Also, Aledo High School is hosting its annual track and field meet (see schedule below), and the Ladycats softball team will continue District 8-5A play at 5:30 p.m. today at Cleburne.
Both the Ladycats and Bearcats soccer teams finished in second place in District 8-5A and each will assume a second seed in the Class 5A state playoffs.
The Ladycats will face Western Hills at 6 p.m. at Brewer High School followed by the Bearcats/Arlington Heights match at 8 p.m.
The Bearcats (14-6-2) have rebounded from missing the playoffs last year, and came within two matches of a district championship this season.
“It is a relief – relief to get back in the playoffs,” Bearcats head coach Derek Vierling said. “It was very frustrating last year finishing sixth but knowing we were so close. Our record didn’t reflect our efforts last year. Also, (he feels) satisfaction. It’s very satisfying to make the playoffs.
“This team really worked hard in the offseason, weights, running and practicing. Last year we conceded 43 goals and only scored 32 so we concentrated exclusively on finishing and defending, and this year we have scored 44 and conceded 25, so it really paid off.”
The ‘Cats and Yellow Jackets (16-7-1) are not unfamiliar foes. The Bearcats, behind a shutout form goalkeeper Caleb Hill, blanked Heights 2-0 at the AHS home tournament in January, the Moritz Kia Tournament of Champions.
While both teams have improved and are different from their match-up two months ago, Vierling said having played them once will help.
“Luckily we played them in our home tournament so we have some video and some first-hand knowledge of what to expect,” he said. “Arlington Heights has a great goal keeper – he is huge and makes a ton of saves.”
Vierling senses he has a special team that is still motivated by last year’s failure to reach the playoffs.
“It’s been a really exiting year and a tough district run,” he said. “The guys really stepped up and met the challenges and performed well, and I think we are going make some noise in the playoffs.”
The Ladycats also came close to a district championship, falling just a match shy of district-champion Joshua. The Aledo ladies won a playoff match last year before falling to 1-0 in the area championship last season.
This season the Ladycats (16-3-3) have hung their hats defensively, led by the senior duo of defenders Courtney McMillan and Holly Peterson, sophomore defender Kristen Burns and sophomore goalkeeper Mackenzie Covington. Covington’s defense has limited opponents’ shots on goal and has helped her achieve an almost-un-heard-of 0.06 goals against average.
“We have a very solid defensive unit,” Ladycats head coach Bryan Johnson said. “They have played well together all season. We have added some players that have increased our depth and our center mids have found their form. We are starting to score goals and finish chances. Set pieces are becoming an extremely important aspect to our game.”
Although the Ladycats had no trouble with Western Hills (13-7-1) last year in this same round – a 5-1 win – head coach Bryan Johnson said the Lady Cougars are a better, more experienced team this year.
“Western Hills is a ball-control team that will be a very good opponent,” Johnson said. “They handle the ball very well and keep excellent possession. They have some good players and will give us a great match.”
The Ladycats softball team is coming off a win over Everman and look to raise their District 8-5A mark to 5-2 with a win today at Cleburne. This game marks the halfway point of district play.
The AHS sports week will end with baseball, tennis and golf.
On Friday, the Bearcats baseball team will continue District 8-5A play at Crowley with the first pitch scheduled for 7 p.m. The AHS tennis team will play at Richland High School with matches scheduled all day on Friday.
Concluding the week, the AHS boys’ varsity Black golf team will compete Friday and Saturday at the Vernon Newsom Tiger Cup at Walnut Creek Country club in Mansfield.
Below is today’s AHS track meet schedule:
3:15 – field events
Field event order:
Shot put Ring 1, VG, VB
Shot put Ring 2, JVB, JVG
Discus ring 1, VB, VG
Discus ring 2, JVG, JVB
Long jump Pit 1, VG, VB
Triple jump Pit 2, VB, VG, JVG
Long jump Pit 3, JVG, JVB/ triple jump JVB
High jump Pit 1, VG, VB
High jump Pit 2, JVB, JVG
Pole vault Indoor Runway, JVB and VB combined; JVG and VG combined
(if weather permits pole vault could move outside)
Running Finals (JVG, VG, JVB, VB):
5:30 p.m. (in order)