ENNIS – The Palestine Wildcats are in their fifth regional tournament in the past seven years as they're pinned against the Nevada Community Braves tonight in Ennis.
An early first half goal for the Palestine Wildcats (24-5-2) was enough to survive the 25th ranked Pittsburg Pirates Friday and secure them another area championship at Bullard High School.
“First half I though we looked great,” head coach John Absalom said. “We controlled the flow of the match. Once again, we had a couple of opportunities we left out there.”
Absalom's emphasis on defense showcased itself throughout the night as the Pirates struggled to find clean looks at the goal. The Wildcats nearly went up two scores right before half when Nieto found the back of the goal as time ran out.
“We talked at halftime about finishing teams off,” Absalom said. “We needed to get another goal to seperate ourselves and not make it a nail biter to the end. Pittsburg is well coached and put pressure on us.”
The Wildcats handled the pressure accordingly and kept the Pirates out the net for the remainder of the game.
“It felt like we were on our heels trying to survive,” Absalom said. “That's not the style you want to have. But a win is a win, baby. I don't care how we have to get it as long as we're moving on to the next round.”
The win puts the Wildcats in their fifth Regional Tournament the last seven years. The two times they didn't make it to the tournament they were defeated by eventual state champions, Kilgore, and last year they were defeated by Covid-19.
“We're a young team with a lot of growth ahead,” Absalom said. “I still see a little jitters at the beginning but it didn't last long. They're gaining a lot of playoff experience. We're looking forward to playing Community. They're a good club and we're going to have to bring it.”
The Braves have outscored they're past six opponents 24-1 with five straight shutouts until last week's area round matchup against Terrell. The winner of tonight's matchup will play the winner of Celina and Paris in the Regional Semfinals.
Tonight's game will be played at Ennis High School. Tickets will be $5 cash only.