Mississippi Fuego Gears Up for Lady Force in Conference Playoffs - WHLT 22 Connecting the Pine Belt

Mississippi Fuego Gears Up for Lady Force in Conference Playoffs

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Mississippi Fuego FC keeps things light in the days leading up to southeast division tournament play.

The team stays loose at their final practice of the season with a friendly game of horse.

"It helps just to get our nerves out," says Fuego centerback Natalia Nino.

"We just kept it light the past couple days," says Fuego head coach Danny Owens. "We've seen everybody. They know what to expect, so we're just getting ready for Thursday."

The fifth seed Fuego take on the number four seed Knoxville Lady Force on Thursday for the third time this season.

"We lost to them 4-3, and we were up 3-2 with five minutes left," says Owens. "Then we went to their place and beat them 3-0, so I think the girls are very confident and excited about playing Knoxville."

"We know who we're playing," says Nino. "We're playing Knoxville, and we know what to expect, so I think we'll do great against them."

A win over the Lady Force would secure the Fuego's place in Friday's matchup with the number one seed Gulf Coast Texans, a team the Fuego tied 1-1 in their most recent outing.

Owens looks for his team to ride that recent momentum right into Thursday's matchup.

"We've only given up one goal in the past two games, so we've got to continue that sound defense and then take our chances when [they] come."

If the Fuego defeat the Lady Force and the Texans, the winner of Friday's No. 2 and No. 3 seed matchup stands between them, and advancing to regional play in Tampa, Fla.

But the Fuego refuse to look that far ahead.

"We've got to take it one game at a time," says Nino. "We don't want to know."

"We don't want to look beyond, because we've got to get through Thursday," says Owens.

For now, coaches and players continue to exact their revenge on the winner of that game of horse.

"Yeah, he's got to pick up the water and the bibs for the bus ride on Thursday," says Owens.

"Oh, I'll get him back later," says Nino.

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