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Friday, January 27, 2012
Weekend Watch: Five must-see matches

By Sheldon Shealer

Each week during the high school season, ESPNHS highlights five weekend matches that have a compelling storyline or could have significant state, region and/or national implications.

This week, a pair of perennial Florida powers battle and the Lady Governor’s Cup in Texas features a couple of noteworthy matchups.

Friday, Jan. 27

No. 2 Marcus (Flower Mound, Texas) vs. No. 26 Westlake (Austin, Texas): Westlake ramped up its non-league schedule by attending three of Texas’ most important kickoff events, with this week’s Lady’s Governor Cup being the third. This team’s showing across the three events helps size up the best of Texas soccer from Houston to Austin to Dallas and pretty much everywhere in between. Marcus, meanwhile, could use another victory over a nationally ranked program to enter the debate for a No. 1 national ranking.

No. 10 Ursuline (Dallas, Texas) vs. Plano West (Plano, Texas): This is Ursuline’s final test against a quality public school program this season. A win here followed by yet another TAPPS state title will secure a national top 10 ranking for Ursuline. However, if Plano West wins, it make a strong statement for the quality of the local public school programs.

No. 17 St. Thomas Aquinas (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) vs. Douglas (Parkland, Fla.): If only this matchup happened seven years ago! Aquinas and Douglas, at the time in different classifications, won back-to-back state titles in the mid-2000s. Now, with both in Class 5A, they battle for the right to advance to the region final, meaning one of these storied programs will be eliminated in the state’s round of 16.

Saturday, Jan. 28

No. 21 Taylor (Katy, Texas) vs. Belton (Texas): This is one of the few matches that stands as a test for Belton, which tends to dominate its district. A Belton victory could usher this program back into the Texas top 20. Meanwhile, Taylor is looking to extend its perfect start.

No. 27 Tupelo (Miss.) vs. Clinton (Miss.): This Class 6A state quarterfinal match-up features two of the state’s top five teams. Charde Hannah and Abbie Banko each scored twice as Tupelo got past Northwest Rankin (Flowood, Miss.) 4-2 in the playoff opener to improve to 20-0. Tupelo won the last meeting between the teams 2-1.