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5 area soccer teams in playoff position; see what’s next for seeding purposes

With the soccer playoffs on the horizon, Port Arthur and Mid-County has five teams sitting in the top four of their districts.

Port Neches-Groves girls and boys teams sit in the No. 1 and No. 4 spots, respectively, while Nederland boys and girls teams sit in second and third, respectively. The Memorial girls team is in fourth.

On the boys’ side, PNG could clinch a playoff berth with a win over Memorial today. If PNG losses, Barbers Hill would need to win its last two games (one of which is against Nederland) to take the final playoff spot from the Indians.

PNG boys head coach Chad Luttrull said getting his young team playoff experience would be valuable.

“We will return 10 starters next year,” Luttrull said. “(Jason) Lovejoy has been the only senior that has started all year for us. Grant Pearson has been a kid that came from football and basketball. He is the only other senior that really starts some games. It depends on the lineup. After that, it is all underclassmen, so the playoff experience would be huge.”

While he said he would like a higher seed, Luttrull is happy his team controls its own destiny.

“We have kids that want to be in that situation and preform week in and week out to be in that situation,” he said. “We are the smallest school in the district. We have a great sports history, but academically, I think we have the smallest enrollment in the district.”

Luttrull said playing in a tough district prepares his team for a playoff run, the Indians make it.

“To be able to play those big schools and compete is great,” he said. “You look at Nederland, and Coach Barrow has done a phenomenal job over there and they are all seniors. Us being able to compete and battle with them says a lot about our kids.”

Luttrull said the leadership Lovejoy provides has helped the young team grow. The senior has more than 100 goals scored and more than 100 assists for his high school career.

“I am still looking but I don’t know if that has ever been done in Texas high school soccer,” Luttrull said.

Nederland also controls its own destiny as the Bulldogs play Galena Park, which sits a spot above the Bulldogs. A win by Nederland today would put the Bulldogs within a game of Galena Park with one game left in the season.

Last weekend, the PNG girls clinched the District 21-5A title with a 1-0 win over Barbers Hill.

The girls team will play its final game of the regular season in the next two days. PNG and Memorial close the regular seasons out against each other at 5 p.m. today in Port Arthur. The Titans are a game up on Crosby. The two teams could play a tiebreaker Tuesday if the Titans lose to PNG.

Nederland plays Galena Park today and Barbers Hill Saturday.