Both of Holtville’s soccer teams traveled to Montgomery Academy for the first round of the playoffs Friday night but the challenges proved to be too difficult as both teams finished their seasons with blowout defeats.
After a loss in the regular season finale, the Holtville boys team grabbed the two seed in Class 4A-5A Section 4 but was forced to face the second-ranked Eagles in round one. The Bulldogs could not match the skill and technique of their opponents and fell 8-1 to finish the season with a 7-7 record.
“My goal every year is to finish .500 and make the playoffs,” Holtville coach Robby Broom said. “We were able to do that but our biggest issue was our youth. There was such a gap between our experienced players and our young guys. We couldn’t overcome that.”
The team’s youth showed early on when the Bulldogs were no match for a tough schedule to start the season. Holtville lost all three games in the Capital of Dreams tournament before falling to Montevallo in its home opener.
The Bulldogs quickly responded to return to .500 with four consecutive wins. Holtville started section play 3-0 while outscoring its opponents by 12 goals in those three games.
Holtville finished the regular season with seven wins in its final nine games but the postseason draw was too much for the Bulldogs to overcome. Broom said there were still positives to draw from the big loss to MA.
“That’s something we can actually flip and use for good,” Broom said. “They were much better than we were so that’s something we can use over the summer and into the preseason. We want to show them that’s what we’re working toward and we can use that as good motivation.”
Holtville has won 46 games across its last six seasons, making the playoffs each year. The Bulldogs had six seniors on their roster this season and they will leave as the most successful senior class in the program’s history.
“They have the most wins of any class that has come through here,” Broom said. “They have two area championships and went to the playoffs every year. They have set a new standard for the following teams.”
The Holtville girls team has not had success in recent past but the Bulldogs made the postseason for the second year in a row. The season came to an end with a 14-0 loss to No. 2 Montgomery Academy but Holtville coach David Lovering said the team is focused on the progress it made this season.
“They were already focused on that,” Lovering said. “We talked about the accomplishments of the season leading up that game. There were a lot of positive things to draw from this season.”
The Bulldogs finished the season with a 6-7-1 record and went 3-3 in section play. All three of Holtville’s section losses came by one goal, two of them in overtime.
In the three seasons prior to 2019, Holtville won just six combined matches including a 1-win season in 2017. The Bulldogs hope their continued success can help build toward a new culture around the soccer program.
“The girls know we’re expecting more than we ever have,” Lovering said. “They’re getting excited. It’s just about continuing to work and developing every year.”