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Soccer set to face Midlothian in Area at Birdville today

Jacob Vaught, Broadcast Director

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The girls’ soccer team battles Midlothian Heritage today at the Birdville Fine Arts Athletic Complex at 6 p.m. in North Richland Hills for a chance to advance to the regional quarterfinals.  The team has made it to the playoffs every year since the group was founded three years ago.

“I kind of knew that we were going to [make the playoffs], but at the same time I was still really excited,” goalkeeper Kinley Bishop said.  “We placed second in district which also made us really excited because we finally beat Argyle.”

For the past three years, Celina (5-7-3) has played recurring state champion Kennedale in the area championships.  

“It’s kind of nice seeing somebody else in another round other than Kennedale,” coach Steve Nichols said.  “It’s like cutting off your nose despite your face: We get rid of Kennedale, but now we’re going to get Midlothian Heritage and they’re a very, very talented team.”

The Jaguars come in with almost twice as many wins as Celina has games, which Nichols attributes to the number of tournaments on Midlothian’s schedule.  The Bobcats used tournaments in early January to build a larger schedule last year, but chose to take a different approach this season.

“Some teams choose to do that and others don’t,” Nichols said.  “I’ve always done that in the past, but I wasn’t real satisfied with our two tournaments we played last year and how we really came out of it.”

In lieu of tournaments, the girls have focused on practices, which isn’t always the case with high school soccer teams because of the number of players on club teams.  

“I’ve just been trying to focus more in practice,” Bishop said.  “I kind of have issues diving because I don’t do club ball or anything like that so my only practice is at school, so I’ve been trying to work on my diving and my reaction time to the ball when it’s near.”

This is the first season without FIFA World Cup hopeful Hailey Berg, which has allowed for a more team-focused approach entering playoffs.  

“It’s been a team effort and everyone’s really worked hard together,” Nichols said.  “They all care about each other and they fight for each other. The chemistry has been unreal with this group, it’s a really good group of girls.  That gives me some confidence going into this game.”

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