TENNERTON – Despite winning a sectional crown, being just one game from the Class AAA State Tournament, finishing fifth in the 13-team conference and posting a 13-6-4 overall record, the Buckhannon-Upshur soccer Lady Bucs did not land a player on the Big 10 All-Conference Girls Soccer First Team.
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A player from Preston and Liberty did though. Do you know the combined conference records of those two teams? How about 1-22-1. Now I am not about to say that those two girls from those two schools aren’t deserving of First Team honors, not at all, they probably are and more so, but how can nobody from B-U be worthy of First Team honors after the season they had? Does actually winning games not count for anything?
I have been complaining about all-conference teams in many different sports for years now. There seems to be no rhyme or reason on how any of this gets sorted out, and yes, I understand that team that finishes higher in the conference standings get more nominations and a lot of it is a political game played by the head coaches. It may be true that the Buckhannon-Upshur Lady Bucs didn’t have that one elite player on the team that got a lot of notoriety, but first-year head coach Jason Piacente preaches a team game, and that is exactly what he got this year. A group of young women that played the game the right way within the team concept and it worked, as the Lady Bucs made it to regionals for the first time in over a decade.
They did so with a tough schedule as well picking up wins over George Washington, Brooke, Bridgeport and University.
The conference’s 13 head coaches choose the conference teams. In an off-the-record text conversation with Piacente about the voting procedure, he mentioned a good point (Which I guess it means it is now on the record). In general, high school soccer games are played on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturdays. While Piacente was busy on those days leading his team to a regional final, how is he supposed to, or for that matter, any other conference coach, supposed to track 12 other teams throughout the year to form an opinion on who should or shouldn’t make all-conference teams?
And with soccer, you don’t have a lot of stats like you would in football or basketball to back up the claim that a player is worthy, especially on the defensive side of the ball. A coach may see that player only once, or at best maybe twice a year.
Now I am throwing a problem out there without a satisfactory answer. How do you pick a perfect all-conference team? I really don’t know. The media is in the same boat as the coaches, as they really don’t see many teams they don’t cover, so it probably shouldn’t be left up to them either, although that is how the All-State teams are selected.
While someone smarter than me can produce an answer, shame on the conference coaches for the snubs to the deserving players on the Buckhannon-Upshur team.