It’s not where they are used to being once the soccer postseason starts, but the Granbury Pirates are nonetheless again playing beyond the regular season.
Entering as the fourth seed from District 15-4A, the Pirates (7-6-7) drew District 16-4A champion Mansfield Lake Ridge (18-3-2).
The game will be played Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Joshua’s Owl Stadium.
The Pirates tied with Joshua for third in district, but the Owls own the tiebreaker by outscoring their district opponents more than Granbury.
Granbury coach Doug Kissinger knows from experience that where a team is seeded isn’t as important as how they are playing when the playoffs start.
Two years ago the Pirates were upset in bidistrict by Burleson, the fourth-place team from its district, 2-1.
That was the only time in Kissinger’s first three seasons as a head coach the Pirates did not advance deep into the playoffs.
In fact, last year they posted the second-best season in school history (20-4-5), advancing to the fourth round – a season bested only by the 1999 state championship team on which he played.
In the two seasons prior to Kissinger becoming coach, the Pirates entered the playoffs as district champs. Both times they were upset in bidistrict.
All of which has Kissinger thinking that if his team can play up to its potential Tuesday, the situation could be reversed this season.
“I don’t think we are really paying attention to our record,” said Kissinger. “We haven’t been talking about it.
“We won seven, and we didn’t finish seven other games (seven ties).”
Both Granbury and Lake Ridge bring strong defenses into the game. The Pirates surrendered just 11 goals in district, but only scored 14.
Granbury posted three shutouts this season, but surrendered more than one goal just five times.
Lake Ridge comes into the contest having posted a dozen shutouts.
“They’re pretty good. They haven’t given up a whole lot of goals,” said Kissinger of Lake Ridge.
Granbury’s Achilles heel this season has been free kicks. In fact, that has probably been responsible for most of the 24 goals they’ve surrendered.
“Our defense has done really well, if we can just put a hold on the free kicks,” said Kissinger.
The Pirates are entering the postseason off of a 1-0 home defeat to 15-4A champion Cleburne. However, Kissinger said it was not a poorly played game by his team.
He added that he believes his team is entering the playoffs on a solid note.
“We had a really good match against Stephenville (district runner-up) that ended in a tie (1-1), scored a lot of goals against Alvarado (4-0) to build some confidence, and we had some opportunities to win against Cleburne,” he said.
“If we get them, it’s 4-1 us.”
Cleburne’s lone goal was scored midway through the first half.
As for injuries, Kissinger said the Pirates are in pretty decent shape entering the postseason.
“We should be okay. We’re not in injury trouble,” he said.
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Cleburne 1 0 – 1
Granbury 0 0 – 0