By Scott Taylor | @Taylor_Sports
It may be a new year, but the Metea Valley Sectional is as strong as ever again this year.
That has put solid teams, such as Plainfield South, as underdogs in the opening round.
The Cougars, who fell 2-1 in a recent game against No. 4 seed in the Hinsdale Central Sectional, Downers Grove North, are just a No. 10 seed in the Metea Valley Sectional.
They will open play at 4:30 p.m. against No. 7 seed Oswego, with likely foe No. 2 seed Naperville Central waiting in the regional final.
South fell to Oswego 3-0 earlier in the year.
“We are seeded 10th in our sectional and play a very difficult opponent in Oswego,” South coach Dave Brown said. “You put Oswego in any other sectional and they are probably a 2-3 seed. For us though, we have seen them before in conference, and feel like we did some good things against them even though we lost 3-0. I think we will certainly be up for the challenge and ready to give our best effort to get a positive result.”
Despite the loss earlier in the season, Brown feels his team has the talent to top the Panthers.
“I tell the girls all the time that we have more than enough talent on the team to win any game we play in,” he said. “It’s all about doing the little things for 80 minutes, more if needed, to win games when the competition is higher. I think we are getting closer to that level each game.”
The Cougars have played a difficult schedule of late, which should help them for the postseason as they have suffered from an up-and-down season.
“The season feels like it has been almost two different seasons,” Brown said. “We came out and were very successful the first few weeks and scored lots of goals. During the week of the Pepsi Showdown, it felt like we lost a little bit of rhythm and continuity, maybe lost some confidence as a result of that. We have played some very good teams lately, and I feel we are on the cusp of figuring out how we can beat those top teams, which is a good sign heading into the final portion of the conference and playoff schedule.”
It has been a balanced attack throughout the year for the Cougars and having all their players fill their role would help them in the matchup with Oswego.
“We are successful when we have a team full of girls competing and playing team soccer,” Brown said. “We do not have a superstar, so to speak, that we can just rely on to carry us through tough moments in the game. We have to have every player committed to their role, and when we do, we are a tough team to play against.”