Apr. 5—UTPB men’s soccer coach Dennis Peterson knows what’s on the line in the Falcons’ regular-season finale Tuesday at Lubbock Christian University.
Peterson emphasized this point during a virtual press conference Monday.
“I’ll be honest with you, years ago I would have made it sound like it was just another game,” Peterson said. “But nowadays with social media and the way that it is, every one of these players knows exactly what is on the line.”
The Falcons will face the Chaparrals at 5 p.m. in Lubbock, a different start time since the LCU women are hosting a tournament game immediately after.
A win — plus some help — puts the Falcons in the Lone Star Conference Tournament as one of the top four teams. A loss means that the spring season is done for UTPB.
The Falcons had a chance to put themselves in a better spot last week but fell to Midwestern State last Tuesday.
UTPB, UT Tyler and Texas A&M International are tied for the final playoff spot with 10 points with Lubbock Christian just behind with nine. In the other matchups, Texas A&M International hosts St. Mary’s and UT Tyler hosts Dallas Baptist.
There are a number of tiebreaker scenarios that could come into play — including one where UTPB wins but still misses the postseason — but Peterson said that the focus is on controlling what they can do to defeat Lubbock Christian.
“We broke down probably four Lubbock Christian games this year and went over every scenario with the players,” he said. “They are so prepared right now and if we can’t win, it’s because one of us got outhustled.”
In order to get the win, Peterson focused on making the most of counterattacks against the Chaps’ defense. He added that since Lubbock Christian likes to play three defenders in the back, the UTPB defense will have to be at its best against that.
“If we can get the ball out quick in a counter situation with them having only three in the back and we can attack with five, we can get some pretty good looks on the counter and that’s what we’ve been working on the most this week,” Peterson said.
>> BACK AT HOME: When asked to describe where his baseball team was heading into the final four series of the regular season, UTPB head baseball coach Brian Reinke described his team as “consistently inconsistent.”
The Falcons got a taste of that against at Arkansas-Fort Smith as UTPB lost 25-3 before bouncing to end the series with a 5-4 victory in a doubleheader Friday.
“I think it was huge,” Reinke said of bouncing back with the victory after being routed the previous game. “We talk about how the first at bat of the game has no bearing at the next at bat and just being able to separate those things in a baseball atmosphere and I think they did that in the last game.”
Reinke also credited starting pitcher Jake Rohde for his efforts in the final game. Rohde got the win after shaking off a three-run third inning and was able to stretch his start to seven innings.
“He was really close to getting pulled and then just every inning after that, he was minimal with his pitches,” he said. “He did a really good job.”
The Falcons hope to build off that success in a three-game series starting Friday against Oklahoma Christian. All three games will be played at Momentum Bank Ballpark in Midland, with the first game starting at 6 p.m. Friday.
This will be the third straight home series that the Falcons have played at the home of the Midland RockHounds.
“It’s been a great relationship for us this spring,” Reinke said. “The ability to get to go play there just adds another element. We can give them the experience of playing in a professional baseball stadium and I think that’s cool.”
>> THIS WEEK IN UTPB ATHLETICS: The UTPB men’s and women’s golf teams are competing in tournaments in Arizona.
The men’s team is at the Mustang Intercollegiate in Goodyear while the women are the WT Desert Invitational in Tucson.
The men’s and women’s tennis teams are back in action as the men face Sul Ross State and the women host UT Tyler Thursday at the Bush Tennis Center in Midland.
Both teams will be on the road Saturday at Western New Mexico in Silver City, N.M.
The UTPB softball team is also back after a week off with a pair of Lone Star Conference doubleheaders. The Falcons will play at St. Mary’s starting at 4 p.m. Friday in San Antonio followed by St. Edward’s at noon Sunday in Austin.
>> Follow Tony Venegas on Twitter at @OA_TVenegas