MO Soccer Blog
The 36th girls soccer championships kick off Friday in St. Louis at the World Wide Technology Soccer Park with four championships up for grabs. After 207 games played in the postseason so far, we are down to 16 teams and 16 games left on the schedule.
First, a little history. The girls tournament crowned its first winner in 1985 when Cor Jesu knocked off McCluer North 2-1 in the state final. From 1985-1998, there was only one class of girls soccer, but the girls game continued to grow (not a coincidence was the US Women’s National Team’s electrifying World Cup championship in 1999 and a boom of new high school programs nationally, especially in MO) and a second class was added in 1999. A third class was added in 2008 and the current four-class system began in 2015.
Private schools have dominated the championships over the years, even with the expanded classes. In the current four-class system no public class 1 or 2 team has won a title although that could possibly change this year - especially in class 2, where three of the four teams are public - a likely result of the new Championship Factor shuffling successful private school programs up a class or two. The last four years (not including 2020’s canceled season) have been a little better for public schools with six public school titles out of 16 champions (37.5%), but still the overall championship percentage overwhelming favors private schools (62/77 - 81%).
4 Classes: 18 private, 6 public (75% private)
3 classes: 15 private, 3 public (83% private)
2 classes: 18 private, 3 public (one co-champ year where two teams tied in the final and no OT was played) (86% private)
1 class: 11 private, 3 public (79% private). Note: the first public school girls champion was Oakville’s 1991 squad, coached by the legendary Dave Robben (Missouri’s all-time combined soccer wins leader), who passed away earlier this year.
The quarterfinals were fairly predictable based on the Missouri Power Rankings scores going in. Only Ursuline’s 1-0 win over Notre Dame (STL) was considered an “upset”, but the two teams were virtually dead even (only .02 separated them).
Previews (teams with a higher MPR score will have that score next to them and could be considered the favorite based on the seasonal body of work). MPR rankings in parentheses are from the final regular season MPR):
Three squads make their school’s debut in a girls final four as all four corners of the state get represented this weekend. Mid-Buchanan is the long shot here based on MPR while also being the class 1’s only public school rep. Winning a title this weekend would indeed be historic. Whitfield’s schedule and demanding path have them battle-tested, while Pius and Greenwood (under first year coach Melissa Kuhar) both expected to be in this position based on their paths.
(2) St. Pius (Festus) (13-6-1) (+.08) vs. (4) Greenwood (15-3)
**St. Pius looks to advance to win its second title after winning the 2012 Class 1 championship 3-1 over Principia…The Lancers are making its 5th appearance in a final four, winning one, finishing second once and third twice…Pius has cruised in the playoffs, outscoring opponents 22-0.
**Greenwood makes its first appearance with the girls side in a final four…this year’s seniors started their careers with an 0-10 freshman season…The Blue Jays advanced with a 3-1 win over Crocker.
(3) Whitfield (11-6) (+.43) vs. (8) Mid-Buchanan (15-6)
**Whitfield is also a first-time girls final four squad, finally getting there after years in the shadow of the highly successful boys program…The Warriors road wasn’t easy as a highly competitive district proved demanding but Whitfield (seeded 3rd) eliminated #5 Lutheran St. Charles (2-0) and #1 Villa Duchesne 1-0 to advance…the quarters were a little more comfortable with a 4-0 win over Valley Park.
**Mid-Buchanan reaches its first final four in its second year after taking out Barstow 3-0 in the quarters. The Lady Dragons took out district top seed and #6 Bishop LeBlond 1-0 in that final, avenging a 3-2 loss from earlier in the season.
Statistically, this looks to be the most competitive class of the weekend with both semifinals matching equal squads and razor-thin MPR margins. MICDS will look to continue the private school Class 2 dominance, while the three other public schools all look to break that trend.
(2) Perryville (19-2-1) (+.06) vs. (3) Orchard Farm (19-5-1)
**Perryville plays in its first girls final four and hopes to join the boys 2014 squad as state champs…Jerry Fulton’s team hasn’t lost since back-to-back defeats against Windsor (2-1) and St. Vincent (1-0 2OT) at the end of April…Lady Pirates score in bunches and enter as a slight favorite.
** Orchard Farm makes its second finals weekend appearance after finishing 4th in Class 1 in 2011…this year’s squad has the makings of a potential champ after eliminating last year’s Class 2 runner-up St. Charles 3-2 in the district finals and Southern Boone 3-0 in the quarters.
(7) MICDS (14-6) (+.07) vs. (10) Pleasant Hill (17-5)
**MICDS’ first journey to the final four was a long one after traveling to Logan-Rogersville in the quarters, eliminating them 2-0…a solid schedule should have Jack Fischer’s squad prepared…MICDS will look to join the boys 2020 squad as first-time champs under Fischer…The Rams advanced with a 2-1 2OT thriller over Westminster Christian in the district finals.
**Pleasant Hill makes its fourth consecutive final four appearance and hopes to parlay that experience into its first ever finals, finishing 4th in 2021 and 3rd in 2018 and 2019…the path hasn’t been as easy this time, with three-consecutive one-goal wins, but the Chicks have found a way with a 1-0 win in Maryville punching their ticket to St. Louis after a tense 2-1 OT win over Summit Christian in the district finals.
Ft. Zumwalt South looks to extend its vice grip on Class 3 titles in boys and girls as it tries to defend its 2021 title and match the boys back-to-back runs. Ursuline is the only private school remaining and hope to pull off a rarity - winning back-to-back championships in different classes. The Bears won the 2021 Class 2 title and got bumped to Class 3 this year with the Championship Factor.
(16) Ursuline (10-9) vs. (3) Glendale (20-3) (+.59)
**Ursuline is the Cinderella remaining after upsetting Union 2-1 in the districts and squeaking past Notre Dame (STL) in the quarters 1-0. The Bears started the season 2-6, but righted the ship and enter on a playoff roll…This is Ursuline’s fourth final four, winning one and finishing second twice.
**Glendale plays in its fourth final four under Coach Jeff Rogers, who has crept even closer to 1000 total wins (he’s at 995 coming into the weekend)…Glendale’s biggest challenge so far was a 1-0 win over rival Springfield Catholic in the district finals. Glendale has never won a semifinal in the girls, finishing 4th in 2009 and 2012 and 3rd in 2011…All three losses are to class 4 teams.
Ft. Zumwalt South (24-1) (+.52) vs. (4) Smithville (24-3)
**FZS enters as a the clear Class 3 favorite in its third finals appearance. The Bulldogs fell to Eureka 2-1 April 20, but have since rattled off 13 straight wins under Coach LeAnne Sanders. South beat fellow final four squad Ursuline 4-0 early in the season.
**Smithville held serve and advanced to its third finals under Coach Jon Reed, but the first since 2012’s 4th place finish in Class 2. The Warriors have outscored opponents 23-1 in the playoffs and advanced with a 4-1 win over Smith-Cotton in the quarters.
All eyes will be on the marquee matchup Friday night when two-time defending champ St. Dominic and the state’s only undefeated team Liberty North square off at 7. Several high-flying offensive players will take the stage in this class with several D1 commits headlining the state’s biggest class.
(3) Nerinx Hall (20-2-1) (+.95) vs. (14) Rock Bridge (20-5-1)
**Since losing 2-1 to Incarnate Word April 13, Nerinx has won 15 straight…Nerinx also lost to St. Dominic in the season opener 2-1 in OT, and a rematch is entirely possible in the finals…Coach Brian Haddock’s team got a bit of a breather with a 5-0 win over Jackson in the quarters, but the district path wasn’t as easy in eliminating St. Joseph’s Academy 3-2 OT and Lafayette in the finals 2-1 2OT. This is the Markers’ 9th final four, but only one produced a title - 1988’s 2-1 OT win over Pattonville.
**Rock Bridge advances to its third final four but enters as a clear underdog in the MPR’s biggest discrepancy match…RB went 8-1 down the stretch, losing only to #1 Cor Jesu 3-0 in early May…The Bruins finished 4th in class 3 in 2010 and 3rd in 2000’s Class 2…RB’s defense has been the star as of late and will need to play well again in the final weekend.
(8) St. Dominic (21-3) vs. (2) Liberty North (21-0) (+.62)
**St. Dominic has been rolling over the past decade or so…11 straight playoff appearances and four titles since 2012, six overall and will be making its 10th final four…Coach Greg Koeller will look to lean on a senior class that has only lost five games in its career and seems to be playing its best soccer of the season since a 4-1 loss to Cor Jesu, winning each playoff game by at least two goals, including a 4-0 win over Liberty (Wentzville) in the district finals that avenged an earlier 2-0 loss.
**Liberty North makes its first finals appearance in the best possible way - undefeated after 21 games…The Eagles have had only three matches decided by a goal all season, with a 2-1 OT win over Lee’s Summit North April 12 and a 1-0 win over Incarnate Word April 29 being its toughest matches so far…LN has outscored opponents 18-0 in the playoffs.
Girls PostSeason #2
The girls season is rapidly coming to a close with a big Saturday slate (15 matches - one quarter in class 3 was played on Friday…more below) ahead after 32 district championships in four classes were decided last week. As always, there were some surprises who will look to keep the momentum rolling, the top seeds who took care of business and every team remaining that has high hopes of making some playoff magic and memories in the next ten days.
For those interested in the stats of it all, there was only a two game difference between the Missouri Power Rankings (MPR) and District Seedings when it came to predicting the winners through district play. District seeds were accurate in 156 of the 191 games (82%), while the MPR was accurate in 154 (81%). For comparison, boys district seedings in the fall were accurate in 154 of the 190 games (81%), while MPR was 151/190 (79%).
Concerning MPR and upsets, there are basically two types…1) those where the teams are within .50 points of each other and the lower pointed team wins and 2) those where the score difference is greater than .50. Category 1 upsets obviously occur more frequently, but the girls season produced nine Category 2 upsets so far with two of those upsets being significantly bigger than any boys upset in the fall. Both occurred in Class 3. #57 Blue Springs’ 3-2 upset over #19 Grain Valley (last year’s Class 3 finalist) came with a 1.45 point differential - the biggest of the year so far, while #28 Webster Groves’ surprise run in a demanding district gave the playoffs its second biggest upset by points when WG knocked off #2 Parkway West, which had a +1.34 difference. In comparison, the biggest boys upset of the fall was #21 John Burroughs taking down #2 SLUH with a difference of 1.02.
Overall, the average girls upset has been with a .38 difference in scores, while the boys was .31. Basically, the amount of upsets were nearly the same, but the girls produced a few more shockers so far than the boys did.
Statistical breakdown of the 32 quarterfinalists:
#1 seeds - 19
#2 seeds - 9
#3 seeds - 3
#4 seeds - 0
#5 seeds - 1
#6-8 seeds - 0
21 public schools and 11 private/parochial remain.
Class 1 - 4 public, 4 private
Class 2 - 6 public, 2 private
Class 3 - 6 public, 2 private
Class 4 - 5 public, 3 private
Quarterfinal Previews (Final season MPR rank rankings in parentheses):
Note: Missouri Power Rankings scores are next to the team that has the higher score between the teams. The lower the MPR score, the closer the two teams are in regular season rankings. For example, an MPR of +.10 is a much closer score than +1.05, etc. Analysis over the years suggest that any teams separated by .50 or less means that the game should be close. Scores above .51 tend to heavily favor the team with the better score, but also lead to the more surprising upsets. There are also many other factors to consider (injuries, home/away, etc.).
(2) St. Pius X (Festus) (+.61) vs. (11) Metro
(12) Crocker vs. (4) Greenwood (+.55)
(7) Valley Park vs. (3) Whitfield (+.32)
(14) Barstow vs. (8) Mid-Buchanan (+.40)
**Crocker and Metro are the only two repeat teams making quarterfinal appearances in Class 1 and both will have difficult challenges against two of the favorites. #4 Greenwood already topped Crocker midway through the season, 5-0. Metro (14-3) has had a big year, but will have to face a Pius squad that cruised through its district and looks like a title-challenger. Whitfield had the toughest district to negotiate and looks to pull off the boys-girls titles in the same year with Valley Park in the way of a final four trip. Whitfield had no problem with VP late in the season, winning 6-0. Barstow and second-year program Mid-Buchanan haven’t played this year but have comparable scores against common opponents.
(2) Perryville (+1.02) vs. (30) Bishop DuBourg
(3) Orchard Farm (+.29) vs. (11) Southern Boone
(7) MICDS) (+.45) vs. (19) Logan-Rogersville
(10) Pleasant Hill (+.13) vs. (12) Maryville
**Four of the eight quarterfinalists return for another chance at making the final four in what seems to be a wide open class after several favorites were eliminated in district play. Perryville is the top ranked squad left and has the biggest MPR cushion against DuBourg. Both teams have scored a bunch of goals on the year, but Perryville’s defense (.5 GAA) has been a strong suit as well. #3 Orchard Farm will have a tough task on the road at Southern Boone, a program that has been in the playoffs five consecutive years and whose seniors have averaged 22 wins over their three seasons. #7 MICDS will make the long journey to Logan-Rogersville in a contest of two teams with no common opponents. The best matchup of the day may be in Maryville as the Spoofhounds host Pleasant Hill. Maryville has been in nine of the past 10 playoffs, but never advanced to a final four, while Pleasant Hill has won seven districts in a row and been to three straight final fours, but has never won a title. Both teams find the net easily, so defense will be the key there.
(15) Notre Dame StL (+.02) vs. (16) Ursuline
(3) Glendale (+.72) vs. (22) Carl Junction
(28) Webster Groves vs. (1) Ft. Zumwalt South (+1.40) FZS wins 4-0
(11) Smith-Cotton vs. (4) Smithville (+.38)
**It was fun while it lasted, but Webster Groves improbable run came to an end Friday night at the hands of heavily favored and defending champ Ft. Zumwalt South, 4-0. The Statesmen had pulled off several upset to get there, but FZS proved to be too much. Two teams can’t be much closer on paper than Ursuline and Notre Dame. Notre Dame (15-8) has the better record, but Ursuline won last year’s Class 2 title and its record is deceiving (9-9) based on the demanding schedule. Carl Junction has had a stellar year so far (21-5), but will host perennial challenger and #3 Glendale who is coming off a big 1-0 win over local rival Springfield Catholic. #4 Smithville hosts #11 Smith-Cotton in the other quarter, with the winner getting FZS. Smith-Cotton advanced to its first playoff since 2010, while Smithville rode a high-powered offense (5.3 goals/game) to its first district title since 2015.
(24) Jackson vs. (3) Nerinx Hall (+1.28)
(21) Kickapoo vs. (14) Rock Bridge (+.21)
(23) Francis Howell Central vs. (8) St. Dominic (+.72)
(15) St. Teresa’s vs. (2) Liberty North (+1.07)
**Four of last year’s quarterfinalists and three from last year’s class 4 final four return to the quarterfinals with all four home teams having an edge in the MPR. Two-time defending champ St. Dominic (6 overall titles) is an annual fixture in the playoffs and hopes to not overlook upstart Francis Howell Central. Central advanced with a 1-0 win over perennial power Incarnate Word. #3 Nerinx Hall made it to the finals last season before falling to Dominic and the two could get a rematch down the road, but first Nerinx has to fend off a Jackson squad that was only seeded third in its district but won three close games to advance. Nerinx has won 14 straight. Kickapoo and Rock Bridge are the closest MPR game in Class 4 but RB does already own a 3-0 win over Kickapoo earlier, the only time the Chiefs have been shut out this year while averaging nearly five goals per game. The KC area match doesn’t look all that close MPR-wise, but this one has a lot of intrigue. Liberty North is the state’s only undefeated team left at 20-0, but St. Teresa’s history is one of the best in MO girls history with 19 final fours and six championships, including last year's third place finish.
After two days and 123 games, the girls playoff season is rolling along and quickly reaching the end with quarterfinals scheduled in 11 days (May 28) and the final four a week after that (June 3-4). Hopefully the weather holds out and games can stay on schedule, but it would seem that most districts chose to play early (68 games Saturday and 55 on Monday) in case the spring storms do pop up. Good choice so far!
Tonight’s schedule is also heavy with mostly district semifinals in play. 30 games tonight, 17 Wednesday, 16 Thursday and 1 set for Friday means that we should have our quarterfinalists set by the weekend in all four classes.
So far, it’s been mostly status quo based on seeding and Missouri Power Rankings order. Both the seedings and MPR have been 108/123 (88%) in correctly predicting the winners (even though not all the games were the same).
One thing that the MPR has shown over the past few years is that games with teams within .50 of each other are at higher risk of upsets than those beyond .51 difference. The boys tournament reiterated this component multiple times last fall. A full list of our final MPR scores can be found at our website: www.mosoccercoach.com.
Everyone loves an upset (unless, of course, your team is the one being upset) and we’ve had three notable ones so far. The biggest in MPR discrepancy and by seeding was in last night’s Class 4, District 6 match between #2 Grain Valley (19th in Class 4) and #7 Blue Springs (57th in Class 4). Blue Springs pulled the 3-2 upset win on Blue Springs South turf and currently owns the biggest upset by point differential (1.45) of any of the 15 so far.
The other two upsets weren’t as big in point discrepancy, but certainly were significant as Class 3 #28 Webster Groves started the tournament with a 1-0 2OT decision over #9 John Burroughs Saturday in the Class 3, District 3 4-5 game. Several interesting points to take from this one with the biggest being Burroughs getting eliminated in game one at Class 3 after winning the Class 1 title last season. In an interesting twist, the Bombers boys squad were the upset kings of Class 4 in the fall as they reached the Final Four by virtue of several shockers over Class 4 powerhouses.
Webster Groves, on the other hand, had fallen on hard times after winning the 2017 state title with a 24-1 record. Since then, the Statesmen had gone over .500 just once and posted a 31-41-1 mark, including 5-11 this year, but WG plays in one of the toughest areas in STL and had lost seven one goal games this year - three in OT scenarios.
The final upset outside the .50 range actually came in Class 1, District 2 where STEAM Academy (#17) eliminated Cardinal Ritter (#13) 1-0. Ritter had a +.83 in points. STEAM will look to continue its run against top-seeded Metro (#11), but will again have to pull an upset as the two are .92 apart.
One other upset to note that was within the parameters of an “upset alert” but certainly will have ramifications going forward was Westminster’s Christian (Class 2 #13) ousting of overall MPR #1 Clayton 1-0 Monday night. MICDS is the #1 seed in that district and #7 in MPR.
Quick Class Notes:
Class 1 - Based on the “.50” theory, eight of the 22 teams would be in contention to win the state title. Villa Duchesne is #1 with a 3.20 mark and Mid-Buchanan is at 8 with a 2.72. So far, only #5 Lutheran St. Charles has been eliminated as they fell 2-0 to #3 Whitfield Monday in the state’s toughest Class1 district. Whitfield and Villa play in that district’s final. #4 Greenwood looks to have the clearest path to the final four based on the potential Laquey matchup in the quarters. Greenwood knocked off the Hornets 4-1 earlier. In District 8 Bishop LeBlond (6) and Mid-Buchanan (8) will likely meet up in the final. LeBlond won the first match 3-2.
Class 2 - 16 Teams are separated from the top and within .50 of each other in Class 2. As mentioned, #1 Clayton is out, leaving #2 Perryville, #3 Orchard Farm, #4 Harrisonville, #5 Father Tolton and #6 St. Pius (KC) as the front runners. Perryville is the #2 seed behind #8 Fredericktown (the two tied earlier 0-0) in District 1, Orchard Farm will likely have a finals match with #9 St. Charles, Tolton and #11 Southern Boone should square off in a District 6 final, while Pius and Harrisonville look to have easier routes.
Class 3 - All eyes are on a potential quarterfinal between #1 (and defending champ) Ft. Zumwalt South and #2 Parkway West - the two teams who have traded the #1 spot most of the year in the class, but each has some tricky obstacles to overcome first. #7 Duchesne is only a few years removed from a dominant run in the small schools with 5 titles and a third place, but maybe more importantly only has two losses this year - both to Class 4 power St. Dominic. Parkway West has upstart Webster Groves first in a semi and then will have to deal with the winner of #5 Ladue and #12 Visitation in the finals. The state’s #3 squad Glendale will also have a regional rival to tussle with in the finals as perennial state qualifier Springfield Catholic awaits. The Irish are ranked 13th and have three losses - just as Glendale does. #4 Smithville and #6 Platte County meet at Van Horn in the District 8 final with identical 22-3 records. Smithville won the first match 1-0 and only .08 separate the two on the year. Capital City (#10) and Smith-Cotton (#11) are the favorites to get to the District 7 final, but Pembroke Hill (19) and St. Michael’s (24) could make things interesting in the semis. Union (#8) has been a final four regular over the years but will have a strong test with last year's Class 2 winner Ursuline (16) and Rockwood Summit (20) and Pacific (21) in that district.
Class 4 - Despite finishing the season undefeated, Liberty North fell from the top MPR spot to Cor Jesu in the last rankings. Cor Jesu (#1) is only a 3 seed in a demanding district that includes top seed Nerinx Hall (#3), 2nd seed Lafayette (#4) and arguably the state’s most heralded girls program over the years, St. Joseph’s Academy (#6). SJA knocked out #7 Eureka 3-1 in the 4/5 game earlier. District 2 should be an epic battle, with the winner/survivor getting either Oakville (22) or Jackson (24) in a quarter. As mentioned, Liberty North (2) is 19-0 and will face city rival Liberty (29) in the District 8 final. #5 Lee’s Summit West has a tough challenge in escaping District 7 as Lee’s Summit (9) and St. Teresa’s (15) await after another local game against Lee’s Summit North (30). Two-time defending champ St. Dominic (8) and the winner of Francis Howell (10) and Liberty (Wentzville) (11) appear to be on a collision course in District 4.
Blog #4 - Women in Coaching, District Seeding Assist and Field Types and Preferences
Item 1: Recently brought to our attention…Missouri has an up and coming coaches association to empower high school female coaches in our state and our male advocates. This is for coaches of any sport. We would love to have a good representation from our Missouri soccer community!
MIAAA Women's Coaches Association Mission Statement:
Our mission is to support female high school coaches in Missouri by creating a strong, inclusive network that empowers, educates and develops female coaches throughout their careers, to retain and grow the number of women in sports.
Become a member and learn more information here: https://miaaawca.org/
Item 2: Starting on Monday we will be releasing a “District Seeding Assist” page for the girls season. We will likely just post it for the next two weeks until district seedings are completed, but we thought this might be a useful guide for coaches in districts where many don’t play each other. Unfortunately MSHSAA doesn’t release district (and class) assignments until the season has already started, which doesn’t always allow for head-to-head results (the #1 factor in determining district seeding, but often a complicated task if multiple teams are involved). MSHSAA has to wait to see which programs will be fielding teams for the season ahead and that often takes a few weeks into the season…this spring there have already been a few that started but won’t be playing in the postseason. This obviously affects district and class arrangements, so we hoped that by using Missouri Power Ranking numbers and dividing them within districts, coaches could get a better feel for how to seed when the time comes. Hopefully, this is a useful guide as it is not intended to be the ONLY or dominant factor in deciding district seeding. The coaches ultimately decide, but ideally this will help with that task. Can’t hurt to try and see how it goes!
Item 3: Ah, Spring in Missouri…where the weather often is as much a factor as anything with regards to having a quality season. As usual, this spring’s wet and often times chaotic weather has challenged and changed many practice and game schedules. Since the girls season is essentially two weeks shorter (though not by days) due to Spring Breaks, Proms, Graduations, etc., the weather often plays havoc on teams that end up playing games in less than ideal circumstances or losing them to time/schedule conflicts. Often, girls teams end up playing a lot of games in a small amount of time (especially compared to the boys season where weather isn’t usually as much of a factor until later), which can lead to extra injuries and a diminished level of play.
One way MO schools have adapted to inclement weather/field situations is the increased use of artificial surface fields that can handle the extreme conditions better and allow for matches to be played where natural grass surfaces ones could not. We thought it would be interesting to see what coaches thought about field preferences and what the state looks like in a snapshot of field surfaces. Obviously, these numbers would have looked far different 10-15 years ago with the increased use of multi-sport turf fields at schools being more of a factor. While many would argue that the availability and implementation of multi-use fields is a good thing for ease of maintenance and MO weather concerns, the soccer community worldwide isn’t generally a proponent of the artificial surfaces and even training at the higher levels is preferred (and almost always done) on a natural surface.
In any case, here’s what we found:
What kind of field does your school play on?
89 (61%) play on turf
45 (31%) play on grass
8 (2%) have both
The field your school plays on is:
95 (66%) play on some form of shared field (mostly football, but other sports as well)
45 (31%) play on a soccer specific field
Does your field have lights?
127 (88%) YES
17 (12%) NO
If given the choice, what would you as a coach choose for the surface of your field?
69 (48%) said artificial turf (with several varieties of soccer specific answers preferred)
64 (44%) preferred natural grass
11 (8%) had no preference
42 (29%) favor the current MSHSAA system of using the Championship Factor for private schools only and using a regional base location of which teams will eventually represent the final four
26 (18%) wanted to keep the MSHSAA system, BUT seed the 8 district winners for the playoffs
24 (17%) wanted to use a 3-year Missouri Power Rankings (MPR) model AND seed the 8 district winner
21 (15%) wanted to use the 3-year MPR but keep the playoffs regional based (as is now)
11 (8%) wanted to return back to the 1.35 multiplier for private schools that was used for roughly 20 years prior to 2020
The remaining 13% were made up of a different combo of suggestions.
One thing for certain is that MSHSAA’s Championship Factor, in only its third year (two for girls) is going to take some time to see how it impacts the sport as it is intended. Again, a committee of mostly private school admins came up with the plan as a way to answer the concerns that private schools have advantages over public schools when it comes to competition. Many believe that a 6-year window (as is currently used) is too long and “punishes” private schools too harshly, while others argue that the 6-year window must be used in order to gain a significant feel for how strong programs are. There is also a group out there who think the Championship Factor should be used for ALL schools (public and private) in order to level the playing fields.
A LOT to process here - the biggest is that while the MPR is a relatively new and seemingly accurate representation of the strength of teams, this would also require MSHSAA to want to change focus and be open to discussing a way to classify teams based on recent success, which may be a significant departure from the aims of the state’s governing body. Regional representation has always been a big factor in the postseason tournament and it still could be with MPR being used, but it would also mean MSHSAA would need to embrace some outside ideas.
Coaches want a level playing field - regardless of public/private, size, etc. There are many schools large in number who could not compete at a higher level, even with a significant enrollment advantage, and others who do quite well with a smaller enrollment. Finding a consistent “fair” is always going to be a challenge with a state such as ours that has many geographic, academic and financial layers to decipher and likely to be a significant discussion for years to come - or at least until we give the new system time to play out.