No one on the Harker Heights girls soccer roster has ever played in a postseason game.
And while the Lady Knights will have that chance after clinching a playoff berth with two games left to play in the regular season, first-year head coach Jared Cruddas said his girls don’t need to wait until then for that experience.
In his mind, they’ve already played a playoff game.
“When we started the season, I took them to two very difficult tournaments where I said this is your playoffs,” Cruddas said. “The two teams that we could face (in bi-district) is either Midlothian or Mansfield, and we’ve already played both of those teams.
“So, we’ve already had playoff games this year, the girls just weren’t aware of it.”
Not that Heights has any reason to fear an opponent these days.
The Lady Knights are coming off their seventh shutout of the district season in a win against Temple on Tuesday, a playoff team that scored four goals in the teams’ first meeting.
As Heights continues to climb the district standings — the Lady Knights are third heading into the regular season finale against Waco Midway tonight — it is the defense that has fueled the run.
“I think that’s what got us here,” Cruddas said. “Our defense is really our strength right now.”
That Heights is playing well defensively is perfect timing, according to Cruddas.
With Midway tied for first, and Heights guaranteed to face the first or second-place team out of District 7-5A in the bi-district round, Cruddas said the Lady Knights’ success will ride on how well they are able to contain the potent offenses they will face in the next two games.
And while Heights is happy to even have two more games at this point, after years of finishing short of the postseason, Cruddas maintains that the goal all season has not been to play in a postseason game but to advance as deep in the playoffs as they can.
After all, no need to be happy to be there when you’ve already played a playoff game this season.
“So, we’ve asked the girls to challenge themselves,” Cruddas said, “and make sure that once they do reach that final playoff game that we can be successful just like we’ve proven last night and hopefully again Friday.”