Soccer rivalry resumes tonight

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 4, 2016

NEDERLAND — Nederland could take on Port Neches-Groves in a book-reading contest, and there would be a fear someone might leave hurt.

It is the reason why tonight’s matches on the two school’s soccer fields are so big.

Nederland’s Lady Bulldogs (13-3-1, 8-1-1 in District 22-5A) travel to face the Lady Indians (11-6-2, 7-3-1) and the Nederland boys (8-5-5, 5-2-2) entertain PN-G (12-1-6, 6-0-4). The Lady Bulldogs sit in second place in the 22-5A standings and are behind the Lumberton Lady Raiders, who have given up only two goals during district and are undefeated in the league standings.

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Nederland defeated PN-G 1-0 the first time the two girls teams played this year behind a goal from Madison Ledet.

“Both teams are battling for a top playoff spot,” Lady Bulldogs coach Keith Barrow said. “A lot of things could happen between now and the last game. Aside from Mid-County Madness, there are a lot of playoff implications. We are looking at it as another game, at least I am.

“It turns into something else when kickoff is over. We enjoy it. It is a great rivalry and it’s a great environment. We look forward to it every year.”

The Lady Bulldogs know they are in for a hard time slowing down what is a powerful Lady Indians offense behind the legs of PN-G senior Mikayla Johnson and junior Hailey Loupe.

“PN-G has a really good attack with Loupe and Mikayla Johnson,” Barrow said. “We know what they have but you still have to stop it. We will be keying on them and if we shut those two down it gives us a good chance of coming out on top.”

Trying to shut down PN-G is all-state Nederland keeper Emma Roccaforte.

On the boys’ side, the first time the two rivals played, it also ended 1-0 but it was the PN-G squad who got the win. Sergio Aguilar scored with just over a minute left in the match.

PN-G coach Chad Luttrell expects another classic between the two schools.

“It has always been a big game and I’m sure it will be long after I am gone,” Luttrell said. “These kids know each other and are friends, so they want to beat each other. We stole one from them last game in the last minute so I am sure they want a little justice for that.”

The Indians are coming off three straight ties and Nederland lost 1-0 to Central on Tuesday.

“This district is tough,” Luttrell added. “Nederland is a young team, so hats off to them for what they have been able to do this year. Nothing is final and everyone is still fighting for a playoff spot. Hopefully, at the end of the day we are in.”

The Indians have to be able to stop a Nederland offense led by Jaime Moreno, Daniel Luketich and Alex Celaya. PN-G senior keeper Bryce Meche leads the Indians’ defense.

“The key is whoever wins possession and maintains it,” Luttrell added. “High school soccer comes down to who scores a goal. I hope we don’t play to another draw, but I would much rather that than a loss.”

About Gabriel Pruett

Gabriel Pruett has worked with both the Port Arthur News and Orange Leader since 2000. A majority of the time has been spent covering all aspects of Southeast Texas high school sports. Pruett's claim to fame is...being able to write his own biographical information for this website.

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