Leader Blues

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

SPORTS>>Jacksonville No. 3 seed in East, tops in tie games

By JASON KING
Leader sportswriter

Jacksonville continued its tying trend for the final two matches of the 6A-East Conference schedule. The Red Devils went into Friday’s game with Mountain Home with five ties on their record, and a 1-1 result against the Bombers made it six. To add to their already-unique record, Jacksonville tied with Jonesboro on Monday to bring the ‘Devils’ regular season record to 7-2-7.

“I’ve never heard of seven ties in a soccer season,” Jacksonville coach Leighton Canon said. “It’s pretty unique, but I do think the close game with Jonesboro will give us some momentum heading into the state tournament.”

Jonesboro looked to repeat a 3-1 win over the Red Devils just two weeks earlier, rushing out to a 2-0 lead in the opening minutes of the match. Jimmy Polatsidis put the Red Devils on the board before the end of the first half with a goal, and senior standout Manuel Alvidrez scored the final two goals for Jacksonville in the second half with a penalty kick, followed by a goal in the final two minutes of the game that set the tying final result.

Alvidrez had a shot at the win in the closing seconds with another free-kick opportunity, but flipped the ball over the goal on the attempt, leaving the score deadlocked at three goals each.

Not only did it mark the seventh tie for the Red Devils this season, it was their fourth consecutive tie in conference action. Jacksonville will end up as the No. 3 seed from the East conference, and will take on Little Rock Hall, the No. 6 seed from the 6A-South, in the first round of the state soccer tournament in Texarkana at noon.

Although the girls team will not be making a playoff appearance this year, the Lady Red Devils showed a slight improvement from last year’s winless season. Jacksonville beat Sylvan Hills for their first win in two seasons, and recorded a tie with Mountain Home. The Lady Devils were not able to carry the momentum into the last week of the schedule, however, losing to Mountain Home 4-0 and finishing the year with a 5-0 loss to Jonesboro.