'22 Boys Postseason #10 (11-22) Final Four Recap and Awards Season Aheadby Admin on 11/22/22
End of Season 11-22-22
Wow, what a way to finish the 55th year of recognized soccer in Missouri! Saturday’s finals had all the drama and competitiveness that this time of the year calls for and with those memorable games, we turn our focus on our postseason awards and recognition.
But first, a quick recap of the weekend’s action and a deeper look into the champs and the classes they won.
In year three of the Championship Factor, it can certainly be argued that the competitive level has been improved as far as the tournament goes. While geography certainly plays a large role in which teams make the final four, this year’s tournament certainly seemed to match teams of equal levels. The biggest indicator - of the 32 games played in the state tournament (quarterfinals on - eight games in each class) - 19 of those 32 games were decided by one goal. Incredibly, all seven of the elimination games in Class 4 were one-goal affairs and none went into extra time. Only Rock Bridge’s 2-0 win over St. Dominic in the 3rd place game had more than a one-goal differential. Rockhurst’s 1-0 championship win over CBC was decided in the last eight minutes by a penalty kick in the run of play, finishing a worthy final from the state’s two most decorated teams. Rockhurst now has nine titles, one behind CBC’s state-leading ten.
Classes 2 and 3 had a little more drama in the later games but not as much in the earlier rounds. Both the C3 final and third place matches ended in penalties - Webster Grove’s heart-pounding 3-2 win over a determined East (KC) squad was a highlight, giving the Statesmen their third title. East pulled even in the waning moments of regulation forcing the OT and penalties. In the third place game, Last year’s C2 champ, Whitfield, also finished the year with a win as it outlasted Glendale 2-1 in penalties. Five of the eight C3 games were decided by one goal.
Class 2 wasn’t to be outdone in the finals. Eventual champion Marshall held a 1-0 lead late in the match before Orchard Farm scored with under two minutes left to force extra time. The Owls prevailed in penalties for another classic championship finale, winning its first ever soccer title. Excelsior Springs and Saxony Lutheran also put the sting of losing the semis behind them, battling to a 2-2 draw in regulation time before Excelsior Springs earned a 3-2 penalties win. Only one other C2 game was a one-goal game, but the C2 tourney had plenty of upsets and new faces getting their first look at playoff soccer.
In Class 1, more tension and late drama in the finals as St. Francis Borgia found a crack in the Summit Christian defense with just over two minutes left that gave them a 1-0 win and its first state title. Bishop DuBourg secured a third place finish with a 1-0 win over New Covenant Academy.
In all, 16 matches were played over the weekend - 11 of them decided by one goal and none by more than two goals. Pretty incredible and likely unprecedented in MO.
In looking at each of the four 2022 champions’ paths to winning, there are two common themes that stand out. The first - defense. Rockhurst allowed four goals once the playoffs started in six games (0.67 Goals Allowed Average), with two of them in the semifinal win over high-scoring Rock Bridge. Webster Groves was even better - giving up two over the final six games (0.33 GAA) - both to East (KC) who had scored 106 over the year and a whopping 29 over its final six games. Marshall also was stingy with its back line, conceding three in the five playoff games (0.60 GAA). Borgia had the playoff’s most lopsided win in the quarters (7-0), but from there, the defense carried the team by only allowing two over its final five matches (0.40 GAA).
The other theme is a common one for almost any champion - overcoming a tense moment and finding a way to advance. Each of the four champions had to dodge a potential loss throughout their runs. Borgia and Father Tolton battled in a seesaw district final match that went to the seventh penalty kicker before winning and each game-winner over the finals weekend came late in the contest. Marshall nearly fell in its district final, as well. Odessa took the higher-ranked Owls to OT before Marshall got the decider. Webster Groves and rival Rockwood Summit also matched up in an epic district title match that WG won in penalties. 2021 champ Rockhurst fielded a young squad that grew up quickly in the postseason - a late goal by a freshman in the quarters win over Kickapoo and a huge game from a freshman GK in the finals - sent a team with only five seniors to a state title. Rockhurst ended the year #14 nationally.
Today, we released our final 2022 Missouri Power Rankings for all classes and a combined one for all teams - a strength of schedule release will come later. Tomorrow (11-23), we will release our all state teams that will recognize the top players and coaches our state had to offer this year. This is not a perfect science but a lot of people put an incredible amount of time into working with each other to honor our sport as best we can. In a few weeks our national awards will also come out - this year we will have 5 All Americans and 20 All Central Region (MO-KS-ND-SD-IL-MT) players to celebrate as well as three coaches of the year up for regional and national awards. The United Soccer Coaches designates a Small School (Classes 1-2) public, a Large School (Classes 3-4) public and a private/parochial coach of the year for each state that will be eligible for regional and national awards. As a state we honor a private and a public coach of the year in each class.
Additionally, we will have many other awards to come - Academic Team, Ass’t Coach of the Year and our latest Hall of Fame inductees just to name a few - in advance of our All State Banquet to be held January 7, 2023 in Columbia, MO. This is our first banquet “back” in person since Covid in 2020. Look for more details after Thanksgiving.
The season may be over, but we will have much more to come over the next few weeks. Have a healthy, happy and restful Thanksgiving Break!