Everyone is back at square one in District 2-6A.
The Permian and Odessa High girls soccer teams played a district-long game of catch up to Wolfforth Frenship a year ago, as the Lady Tigers took all 30 available points from 10 games.
Wolfforth Frenship allowed just one goal in district play last year, to Odessa High’s Alondra Venegas, and looks to have not lost a step from its regional semifinals appearance a season ago.
Fast forward to today however and everyone has a clean slate with the renewal of district play. The Lady Bronchos host the Lady Tigers in their district opener at Ratliff Stadium, while the Lady Panthers travel to face Midland High at Grande Communications Stadium.
Both Permian head coach Chad Peterson and Odessa High head coach Cecilia Kellar believe the district is more even than last year.
Below Wolfforth Frenship, the trio of Permian, Odessa High and Midland High quickly distanced themselves for the district’s final three playoff spots from Midland Lee and Amarillo Tascosa.
“This is not like in Dallas where there’s every once in a while a gimmie game for you,” Peterson said. “You have to be prepared and you have to be into every game otherwise somebody’s going to get stung on each and every game day and it’ll be a shock.
“Midland Lee is getting stronger, Tascosa is getting stronger, OHS is always strong, Frenship, until they’re beaten, they’re the champions. You can never count out Midland High in anything. You have to be on the ball and in the game every touch, every minute.”
Permian (11-1-1) enters district play with a .917 nondistrict win percentage, the best among District 2-6A teams.
Over the course of the season the Lady Panthers have become more aggressive with their style of play to continually get results. They enter district play with a nine-game win streak.
“From the beginning, we didn’t play much as a team,” Permian junior center back Elissa Easley said. “We were kind of just like individual groups and I feel like now; we’re more like flowing together as a team.”
Permian and Odessa High meet twice, on Feb. 16 and March 16. The Lady Bronchos won each matchup last season by one goal.
Odessa High (9-4-0) hopes to replicate that this season and enters district play on a four-game win streak.
“We’ve got a good group,” Kellar said about her team. “They’re eager to learn, they’re eager to compete on a day-to-day basis, they want to make each other better and they want to be successful.
“Anytime you have a team that is willing to work and really has that yearning to be successful I think is good. They’re all here for the same goal and I think they make that clear.”
Odessa High’s goals include a return trip to the playoffs and to win a playoff game in back-to-back seasons.
The Lady Bronchos started its season at the National Premier Elite Showcase tournament which forced them to quickly assess where their strengths and weaknesses were.
“Once we meshed together, I think we started working on what we needed to and we started finishing and I think we just got more confident over time and I think it’s starting to show now coming into district,” Odessa High junior midfielder Malarie Ramirez said.
Since then, Odessa High has steadily improved by working on little facets of its game. It’s always had today’s date circled, knowing it had to be near its peak to take on the reigning district champions.