By Greg Ford
It’s been quite a couple of weeks for Plano East boys’ soccer.
A short time ago, the Panthers were fighting for their postseason lives, a battle that wasn’t won until PESH downed Allen 4-0 in the regular-season finale.
Now, the black and gold has a pair of playoff victories under its belt, with the most recent taking place last Friday at Flower Mound Marcus, where East upended Southlake Carroll 2-1 in Class 6A area-round action.
The victory sets up a regional semifinal with El Paso El Dorado 6:30 p.m. Friday in Midland. The regional title game will be Saturday at Midland’s Grande Communications Stadium.
“I have been very pleased with what they have been doing,” head coach Rick Woodard said. “I think we are peaking at the right time. We’re still not totally healthy. Against Southlake I was missing two starters (Roman Caro and Reuben Molinar). That just shows how deep the bench is.”
Against the Dragons, PESH faced a team that possessed the ball well and were all over the field, the coach said. In response, the Panthers tried to maintain the ball and move it with speed, which negated Southlake’s physical style.
“In my opinion, (the reason for success) is total team play, from the No. 1 player on the team to the last player on the team. Everybody has been focused,” Woodard said.
That’ll be needed the rest of the way, particularly against West, which beat the Panthers twice during district season.
“It’s another game, it’s another game,” Woodard said. “All we have been talking about after spring break is one game at a time, one step at a time, because our playoffs pretty much began then.”