Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Eagles, Lady Eagles soccer hold destiny in hands; need wins tonight

Clayton Jones/News-Sun
Hobbs' Dustin Wright takes a shot against Clovis on Oct. 8
  Destiny for a district title and an automatic state tournament berth still sits in the hands of the Hobbs boys and girls soccer teams as they both take on Carlsbad at 6 p.m. tonight (the Eagles play at home at Watson Stadium while the Lady Eagles travel to Carlsbad)
  While the Eagles and Lady Eagles are both 1-1 in district and trail their 3-0 competition (for the boys it's Clovis, for the girls it's Carlsbad), both teams would win their respective district titles if they win their final two games thanks to the tiebreaker rules.
  For the Hobbs boys, beating Carlsbad tonight and Clovis on Saturday would tie Clovis at 3-1 atop the district standings. The first tiebreaker is head-to-head and Hobbs and Clovis split so it would have to go to the next tiebreaker.
  The next tiebreaker would be head-to-head goal differential. Clovis beat Hobbs 3-2 on Oct. 8 and currently holds a +1 in differential. If Hobbs beats Clovis by at least two goals Saturday (taking into account it beat Carlsbad tonight) then the Eagles would be district champs.
  If Hobbs and Clovis tie in head-to-head goal differential, then it would go to district goal differential. Through two games, Hobbs sits at +2 (beat Carlsbad by three and lost to Clovis by one) while Clovis through three games sits at +4 (beat Carlsbad twice by a combined three goals and Hobbs by one). If Hobbs wins tonight, it will move up to +3 at the minimum. Then if Hobbs beats Clovis by even just one, the Eagles move up to at least +4 and Clovis, which will still be at +4 entering the game, drops to +3 and Hobbs is the district champ.
  So tonight's game isn't only important to move past a tough 3-2 loss to Clovis in their last outing (a game that Hobbs led 1-0 at the half), the Eagles can also have a chance to win the district on Saturday with a victory.
  For the Hobbs girls, the scenario is much the same with the teams flipped around. The Lady Eagles sit at 1-1 and face a Carlsbad team that is 3-0 in district. A win tonight and Saturday, Hobbs would be tied with the Cavegirls atop the standings.
  Again, the first tiebreaker is head-to-head and with a win tonight the Lady Eagles and Cavegirls would've split in district play.
  The next tiebreaker is head-to-head goal differential. Carlsbad holds only a +1 advantage in goal differential meaning if Hobbs wins by two tonight then beats Clovis, the Lady Eagles would be district champs.
  But even if the Lady Eagles win by just one tonight (and tie in head-to-head goal differential), they still just need to beat Clovis on Saturday by only one to be district champs due to the next tiebreaker – district goal differential.
  Through two games in district Hobbs is at +3 (a 4-0 win over Clovis and a 2-1 loss to Carlsbad) while Carlsbad sits at +5 (beat Clovis by a combined four goals in two games and Hobbs by one). A one-goal victory for Hobbs over Carlsbad tonight moves both the Lady Eagles and the Cavegirls to +4 in district with Hobbs still to play Clovis on Saturday. A one-goal win there puts Hobbs at +5 and the Lady Eagles are district champs.
  Not only do the Lady Eagles want to win tonight for a chance at a district title Saturday, Hobbs also wants redemption for its loss earlier to the Cavegirls. In a physical Oct. 4 contest that saw numerous yellow cards, Carlsbad scored both its goals on penalty kicks – including the game-winner in the 77th minute (for those who don't know, that is with three minutes to play in high school soccer) on a questionable call to beat Hobbs 2-1.
  The sting of this loss should fuel the Lady Eagles tonight as they outplayed Carlsbad for much of the Oct. 4 contest but couldn't cash in on opportunities. Hobbs possessed the ball for much of the game and limited Carlsbad's opportunities – the Lady Eagles just made mistakes in the penalty area that led to two penalty kick goals. With the speed up front of Jessica Singleton, Ariel Lopez and Mallory Martin pushing the tempo (all in the top 15 in Class 5A in scoring), look for the Lady Eagles to try and keep the pressure on Carlsbad by stretching its defense.
  While my brain hurts from all the math, it's pretty simple for both teams. Keep winning and you're district champs.
  It should be an exciting Tuesday evening.