Tracking the area girls soccer in line for a potential state playoff berth.
With the North Carolina High School Athletic Association returning to its 64-team state playoff brackets, evenly divided into east and west regions for each division, coaches, players and fans are checking their respective league standings to gauge their postseason hopes.
A conference with less than six teams allows one automatic berth, while a league with six or more squads receives two playoff bids.
The newest wrinkle to determine potential wild-card selections is the NCHSAA RPI rankings, an exact formula that takes into account winning percentage and opponents’ winning percentage.
Here are the current Record area girls soccer programs in playoff contention according to the latest rankings released Monday morning.
No. 2 Hobbton (12-1-2)
Returning almost every starter, including leading scorer Nicole Hernandez, the Lady Wildcats are destined for a consecutive postseason appearance.
Hobbton is tied atop the Carolina 1A Conference with Neuse Charter, having already split the season series, with just one more contest remaining.
Whether they take the league’s automatic playoff bid or not, the Lady Wildcats’ are safely in due to their record and tough schedule.
No. 25 Midway (8-6-1)
The Lady Raiders won’t have a shot at the Southeastern Athletic Conference’s two automatic berths, boasting a 4-4 league record with just two more SAC games left.
But their hot start, which saw seven wins through the first nine matches, has them almost assuredly locked into a wild-card spot.
Midway concludes its conference slate with a two-game series against league-leading East Bladen starting Tuesday.
No. 19 Harnett Central (11-4)
Sitting just one game back of Pine Forest in the All American Conference standings with a 9-2 record coming into this week, Central was still in the regular-season championship race.
The group will at least secure a wild-card spot, given the high RPI ranking, which would end a postseason drought over the past three seasons.
The Lady Trojans have two players with over 20 goals, led by Ava Hollingsworth who had 25 and a team-best 25 assists heading into Monday.
Central concludes the regular season this week with a home-and-home series against rival Triton.
No. 33 Western Harnett (8-10-1)
For more than a decade, the Lady Eagles have finished their season without participating in a state playoff matchup.
That streak has a chance to end this year as Western jumped up the RPI rankings after its sweep over in-county foe Triton last week. With two more contests left, the club is just one spot below a wild-card berth.
Western, who has a 7-5 conference record, has won three in a row ahead of its season-ending series with E.E. Smith set to begin Tuesday.