COVINGTON - The Newton girls soccer team is headed to the Class AAAAA soccer playoffs for the sixth year while the boys have to win out against the top three teams in Area 2-AAAAA if they hope to have a chance.
While being in the playoffs is a goal, it's even better to have that first round on your home field.
The Lady Rams' last win in the playoffs was in 2007 when they won their opening game at home. They do not have a playoff win when they are on the road.
In order for the Lady Rams to get that home-field advantage for the first round they have to win two of their last three games against Luella, Greenbrier and Union Grove.
While Luella and Union Grove have dominated the Lady Rams in the past, head coach Mary Roach feels that this could be their year to turn things around.
"Both of those are down from past years. In the past they were strong on experience and we just wanted to get in the way," she said. "This year we have an equal opportunity to play with them."
The one game that Roach feels could be in question of winning is Greenbrier.
So far in area play Greenbrier, who is first place in the area with a 5-0 record, has only given up one goal while winning three of their five games by mercy-rule.
Union Grove scored against them in an 8-1 Greenbrier win with Douglass (10-0), Stephenson (11-0) and Redan (12-0) all being called.
"What we want to do against Greenbrier is do the best we can and play hard from the beginning whistle until the end. I want us to do that in every match, including Greenbrier," Roach said.
"Anybody can be beaten on any day. It will be a very tall order. They've scored 59 goals and allowed 12 so far."
Luella, who is third place in the area with a 3-2 record, is followed by fourth-place Union Grove (2-1) who has three games left besides Newton.
"If we beat Luella and lose to Greenbrier, the Union Grove game will be big," Roach said. "We've never beaten Union Grove, so to beat them will secure a No. 2 spot."
While the girls are playing for a chance to host at least the first round of the playoffs, the boys have to win two of the last three to avoid being left out of the playoffs.
Newton still has first and second place Greenbrier (5-0) and Luella (4-1) along with a strong Union Grove (1-2).
Even though Union Grove only has one win and two losses, the two wins were against the two top teams.
If Newton wins all three remaining game, and depending on what Union Grove does, the Rams have a chance to finish in second place behind Greenbrier.
If Newton wins two of the three, it could finish fourth or out of the running all together.
Losses to Redan and Stephenson hurt Newton's chances to make the playoffs.
"I would feel better if we had won the Redan and Stephenson games. We are two goals away from being 4-0 in the area," Newton boys coach Tim Hardison said.
Newton lost both game 2-1 with the Redan game being decided by penalty kicks with Newton converting three while Redan made four.
"This is where we are program-wise," Hardison said.
Manny Fils can be reached at email@example.com.