Soccer’s state playoffs begin this week and the Benjamin Russell Girls soccer program will host the first round against Helena.
The Wildcats finished the regular season 11-3-2 and will welcome Area 6 runner-up Helena (8-6-1) on Thursday. Every game now means the season could end as quickly as it started.
For Benjamin Russell, they’ll get the early advantage of playing at their home stadium in Alexander City.
“Hosting the first round in the friendly confines of the Alexander City Sportsplex at Martin-Savarese Stadium is a welcomed advantage,” coach Lee Wagoner said. “We can expect more home fans, plus the familiarity of the field. With that being said, it is still all about execution, and we have to come out prepared to play. There are no easy matchups anymore.”
If you’re wondering how different postseason soccer is compared to the regular season, look no further than tactical formations employed by the teams. Wagoner says that it’s all about the matchups.
“We will have to deviate at times from our traditional formation to counter what Helena may be doing,” Wagoner admitted. “We have identified potential playmakers and will game plan how to best counter them. We still want to play our brand of soccer, because that is what has gotten us to this point, so we will just let our players play.”
Postseason experience is going to be on the line as well. The Wildcats have the benefit of three players that have some level of experience dating back to their eighth-grade years.
“Kylee Stark, Abigale Sims, and Jordan Osborne all have playoff experience going back to their eighth-grade years,” Wagoner said. “They know it is ‘win or go home.’ They have all three been big contributors to our past playoff runs and that experience is valuable. Not having a postseason last year cost a lot of the girls a chance to experience the playoffs but with our senior leadership, I feel they will be led in the right direction.”
The game starts Thursday at 5:30 p.m.