Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Still Game: Tough Paces Have Cadets All Set for the Playoffs

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Still Game: Tough Paces Have Cadets All Set for the Playoffs

Article excerpt

CBC High soccer coach Terry Michler, in a conversation with an out-of-town reporter last week, was asked about the Cadets' preparations for postseason play.

Michler laughed.

"I told him we had four games against top teams that week and four more this week," Michler said. "And then we head into districts. With the schedule we play, there's no time for special preparation; in fact, I can't remember the last time we had a practice.

"At this point of the season, you just hope that the games you've played have prepared you for the challenges you'll face in the playoffs."

The Cadets, ranked No. 1 in the Post-Dispatch large-schools poll, figure to be as prepared as anyone once districts start. Some teams begin play this weekend, but most - including CBC - start playoff action next week.

Heading into tonight's contest at Francis Howell North, CBC is 18-1-1.

The Cadets suffered their first loss of the season Tuesday, falling 2-0 to visiting Hazelwood Central.

CBC, ranked No. 1 nationally much of the season, , should be battle-tested for the playoffs. Nine of CBC's victories have been by 1-0 scores.

"With the rankings and schedule we play, we've faced some pressure this season," Michler said. "Early on, I think it affected us; we were playing not to lose instead of playing to win. But now we've adjusted. We know that if we play our game, we have a good chance of winning."

Senior goalie Jason O'Donnell leads the area with 16 shutouts. O'Donnell and the Cadets have allowed just five goals in 20 matches this fall.

"Early in the season, Jason was called on to make some big saves for us," Michler said. "But as the season has gone on, our defensive play has really improved and Jason's saves have been more routine."

O'Donnell was a backup to All-Metro goalie Ken Duncan last year.

"At the start of the season, our plan was to split time until one or the other took control," Michler said. …

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