Boys soccer: 'Cats still in clawing distance
The clock hasn't run out on Cy Woods' quest for the boys soccer playoffs, but time is of the essence, along with victories against teams near the top of the ladder.
"We're still right there, and with back-to-back games with opponents who are above us in the standings, we have a chance to jump over some people," Cy Woods coach Nathan Day said. "The bottom line is we need to win, and we need to win now."
Through nine District 17-5A matches, Cy Woods was 2-3-4 (10 points) and trailing six teams in the 10-team race, but three where tied for fourth place and the final postseason spot with 14 points, so the Wildcats remain within striking distance.
"With three points for every win, you can make up ground in a hurry," Day said, "and that's our plan."
Cy Woods handed district leader Cy-Fair its first 17-5A loss in a 2-0 shutout on Feb. 22, and then went on to tie Cy Ridge, Cy Springs and Cy Lakes in consecutive 1-1 deadlocks.
All that came after a 1-3-1 start that included a district-opening 0-0 tie against Langham Creek, a 2-1 victory over Cy Ranch, and narrow losses to Cy Creek 2-0, Cy Lakes 2-1 and Cy Falls 1-0.
"Too many ties and too many one-goal decisions that didn't go our way," Day said. "We beat Cy-Fair when they were undefeated in district, and thought that would carry us to even more wins, but we got stuck in 1-1 games.
"It just shows how tight the district is from top to bottom."
Senior midfielder Gabe Balochini is Cy Woods' top scorer and a team leader, along with senior midfielder Mike Huerta and junior midfielder-defender Garrett Larrington.
A typical Wildcat lineup also features seniors Michael Gonzales (goalkeeper), Luis Cedeño (midfielder), Juan Varon (defender), Dylan Stiteler (defender), Jordan Flores (forward) and Tyler Todd (defender), sophomores Zach Brown (forward) and Jonathon Hastings (defender), and freshman Josh Ayala (midfielder-forward).
"Balochini has had some goals, but no one else is scoring, and that's been the problem," Day said. "We made a couple of moves to put more speed near the goal, and we're hoping it helps."
The time is now for Cy Woods to make a move with key games at 7 p.m. Friday, March 11, at Cy Falls, and at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 22, with Langham Creek at home.
The Wildcats close district at 7 p.m. on March 25 by playing host to Jersey Village at the Berry Center.
"We need to get on a roll and just get in (the playoffs)," Day said. "Nothing has really surprised me in district, except for us starting the week in seventh place, but we can still do something about that."
Day spent three seasons as Cy Woods girls soccer coach before taking over the boys program last season and leading the Wildcats to the playoffs and a postseason victory against Round Rock in a 4-3 double-overtime thriller.
Cy Woods was edged 1-0 by eventual Region 2 champion The Woodlands in the second round.
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