Ellison head girls soccer coach Matthew Watt said it doesn’t get any bigger than the Lady Eagles’ showdown with Harker Heights tonight.
“We’ve had a lot of big games,” Watt said. “Killeen earlier in the season was big, (Copperas) Cove earlier in the season, our first time when we played Heights was big.
“But being tied with only three games left in the regular season? It’s huge.”
The two teams, who in the first meeting were separated by one goal in the 74th minute, meet again with the stakes considerably higher this time.
After an Ellison loss to Belton and a Heights win against Killeen on Friday, the Lady Eagles and Lady Knights are tied for the fourth and final playoff spot in District 8-5A.
And with just two games remaining in the regular season after tonight, the winner will have a huge leg up in securing that final playoff berth.
Playing at home, Ellison took the first meeting on a goal with about six minutes to play.
But coming off a 4-0 win against Killeen, the Lady Knights — who will play at home tonight — feel they have a bit of momentum with the way they’ve been playing of late.
“Even when the games were down and out against Ellison and Midway we don’t give up,” Heights head coach Jared Cruddas said after the Killeen game Friday. “The girls play every second of every game. The score line really doesn’t dictate how well we play.
“I know it challenges wins and losses, but I think we’ve won every game inside. We’ve come a long way.”
And Ellison is expecting a similarly close contest to the first meeting between two teams, which are similar in personnel.
“Top to bottom,” Watt said, “we’re both even.”
And so, the rematch between the teams — and perhaps the last playoff spot in District 8-5A — may come down to one miscue and whether or not the opposing team is able to take advantage of that miscue.
And both teams are looking forward to the challenge.
“It’s going to be a fun game,” Watt said “and, really and truly, I think it’s just going to be won in the midfield. Who can win the midfield, who can play the balls in the midfield, that’s what you’ll see.”