For a second-straight season, the Jackson girls soccer team (14-4) has been seeded No. 2 in the Class 4 District 1 Tournament.
This is because the Indians fell to a district opponent in the regular season. Last year, Jackson fell to Seckman 1-0, which went on to be seeded No. 1.
The Indians defeated the Jaguars 1-0 to win their second district championship since 2015 and advance to the state playoffs.
On April 26, Jackson fell to now No. 1 seed Northwest (12-8-1) 1-0 on the road.
“We’re ready [for districts],” Jackson head coach Justin McMullen said. “I think that we’re really focused. You never like to say a loss has done you some good, but it gave us a rejuvenation. It refocused us knowing you can’t take any game for granted especially when it’s postseason time.”
To start the district tournament, Jackson will face No. 3 seed Seckman on Monday, which the Indians defeated handedly 8-0 April 18 at home.
Northwest will face No. 4 seed Poplar Bluff in the opening round. The Lions defeated Seckman in penalty kicks 2-1 May 1 on the road, but did not face the Mules in the regular season.
The Indians defeated Poplar Bluff with ease as they tied a season-high 10 goals in the match on April 23.
This year’s district championship game will be played May 16, which could see a rematch between Jackson and Northwest.
Coach McMullen said his team is confident moving forward against anyone Jackson may face. He said what his players learned when they fell against Northwest is that they failed to capitalize on their scoring opportunities.
Northwest had a total of two shots on goal against Jackson with one of them coming in.
The Indians were able to get 15 shots off with none of them hitting the back of the net for a score.
“Every game is going to obviously be a little bit different and will take on a different identity, but we’re hoping the chips fall our way the next time [we face Northwest],” McMullen said. “We’re not going to take Monday for granted either, though.”
Jackson has scored a total of 83 goals this season while only allowing eight, having recorded a total of 13 shutouts.
To win a second-straight district title, McMullen said his team must remain together while playing unselfishly like it has all season.
Junior Natalie Miller and senior Grace Pehle are currently tied for most goals on the team with 19 apiece. Miller and Pehle have also combined for 16 assists.
Senior Lauren Welker leads the team in scoring with 16 goals and 14 assists.
Jackson’s fourth and final player with 10 or more goals this season is junior Mik Liley, who has scored 15 along with nine assists.
In Jackson’s last two games following its loss, the team defeated Carbondale 6-0 and then Cape Central 10-0 on the road.
“I think at this point in time we are starting to play really well,” Coach McMullen said. “We played 13 games in the month of April, and our legs can get really, really tired. I think at this point we’re starting to get fresh again, and we’re healthy right now for the most part. ‘Focus’ is our word, and I think