Much is on the line this Friday as the Lady Eagles head into a rivalry matchup with Jackson County.
East Jackson head coach Ruth Wilson expects the Lady Panthers to give the Eagles “their toughest game yet,” as the regular season comes to a close.
“We have been building and getting ready for this game the entire season,” said Wilson.
Much like last year, the Eagles and Panthers will battle to determine which team will enter the state playoffs as the No. 3 seed from Region 8-AAA, and which team will be resigned to enter as the No. 4 seed.
Last year, the Lady Panthers pulled off a 2-1 victory on their home turf, but Friday’s matchup will take place at Eagle Stadium. However, Wilson doubts homefield advantage will play much of a factor when the schools are located less than 10 miles apart. She expects the “energy and anxiety levels” to be high for both teams.
“Jackson County was tough last year and will be even tougher this year,” said Wilson. “I know that Jackson County will come out fighting. We will have to be ready to play from the first whistle.”
The Lady Panthers’ win last year forced the Eagles to enter the playoffs as the No. 4 seed from Region 8-AAA, thus pairing them with the top team from region 5-AAA.
“The seniors really want to win, especially after losing last year,” said Wilson. “They have talked about wanting to beat the Panthers all season; they want those bragging rights.”
The Eagles will have a bit of momentum heading into Friday’s matchup as East Jackson tied Jefferson (5-0-2) 2-2 last Thursday. Anna Bruce and Kristen Whitlock each scored a goal for East Jackson.