Not a single Tri-Nine Conference game has been played yet in boys soccer. However, after a few non-conference games, the conference looks like it may be in for a big surprise this year.
The perception is that the Tri-Nine has always been Green Hope and Apex at the top. And while both teams can usually punch their ticket to the playoffs, let's keep in mind that three teams have won the conference title in the last three years.
The nonconference season has, so far, brought into question whether or not we'll have a fourth different team in four years. And here's why:
- Green Hope is 1-2 on the year. Then again, the Falcons went 2-1-2 last year then rattled off 20 straight games without a loss. But this year those two losses have come by giving up three goals apiece to Jordan and Leesville Road. Jordan's probably the best team in the east, but Leesville? The same Leesville that lost to Panther Creek 4-2? That's not the Green Hope defense we're accustomed to seeing.
- Apex is 2-1 on the year, but they haven't looked sharp yet either. A wild 6-5 win over Riverside is good, but it doesn't take away the fact you gave up five goals. A 2-1 loss to Millbrook is the only blemish, and a 1-0 win over West Johnston is somewhat surprising that it wasn't more.
- Athens Drive is 3-0 and looking strong. Not only did the Jaguars defeat that same West Johnston team 5-1, they also clipped Sanderson 1-0.
- Speaking of Sanderson, that's where Fuquay-Varina is tonight. We'll find out if they're for real, because right now Fuquay is playing great. The Bengals are 2-0 and have outscored their opponents 11-0.
- Sanderson has also handed Panther Creek its first loss. That came last night in a 2-1 game. Panther Creek, as stated before won 4-2 over the same Leesville team that upset Green Hope 3-2. The Catamounts also walloped Heritage High 10-0 in the season opener
Conference play starts Monday, and Panther Creek and Green Hope will get to play in the Britanny this Saturday. Who knows how it'll all turn out.