December 5 - Boys '23 Final Blog - Strength of Schedule and moreby Admin on 12/05/23
The boys season concluded a little over two weeks ago and we have been busy with end of the season awards, recognition and all the odds and ends that go with our association. Our final blog of 2023 focuses on wrapping up the boys season and a little bit of fun at the end.
First off, congratulations to the 2023 state champs - first timers Westminster Christian (C2) and East (KC) (C3) joined the championship school list, while Duchesne (C1) added its third title and first since 2003. A huge congrats to Rockhurst, who not only won its 10th title (T-2nd for most overall), but also its third in a row and even topped that with a United Soccer Coaches National Championship! The ending of the C4 game with a very worthy Park Hill South squad certainly will be considered one of the more epic finishes to a championship.
In the week that followed the finals we were able to release our All Region and All State players, while also selecting our MO All Americans and All Central Region players for the United Soccer Coaches. Those players were selected after nominations from coaches and a state-wide voting process. Our number of players are determined by how many coaches we have registered with the United Soccer Coaches and players honored must have coaches who are members of the United Soccer Coaches. The MO list is in our Boys Awards section of our website.
In addition, we also honored our Coaches of the Year with the United Soccer Coaches. There are three categories and three honorees who will now be up for the Regional Coach of the Year Award (the Central Region has six states - MO, KS, IL, SD, ND and MT) and regional winners are then up for the National Coach of the Year, which will be announced in January at the convention in Anaheim. This year’s winners: Large - Gerzo Guerrero (East KC), Small - Brett Wubbena (Logan-Rogersville) and Private - Daniel Legters (Westminster Christian).
Our Boys Academic Teams were also announced last week - we have expanded the fields over the past few years to included a Small and a Large School Academic Team and as always we had an impressive list of nominations and honorees. We factor in three different areas (Academics/School, Soccer and Community) and the impact that each student-athlete has to his respective program.
This week we will be sorting out our final awards - Assistant Coach of the Year, Team Sportsmanship Award, Field of the Year, Select Brand Coach of the Year, Administrator of the Year and Champion of the Game. Those will be announced sometime next week.
Unfortunately, we were not able to have a banquet this year to celebrate all the accomplishments from the year that was. We have provided free digital All Region, All State and All Academic certificates to the coaches to print as needed and have a small window open for any of those players (Boys or Girls) who won any of the All State or Academic Awards to order plaques and T-shirts. (Sorry, no All Region plaques are available.) The deadline to order awards WITH T-SHIRTS is DECEMBER 11 and the PLAQUES ONLY deadline is DECEMBER 15. We hope to have all of these shipped out in early-mid January. Details and a link to order are on our main web page.
Finally, we have posted the 2023 Boys Strength of Schedule with a slight tweak this year that has sent us down a few hypothetical rabbit holes. We broke the schools down by success (using our MO Power Rankings) over THIS season into four “classes” and a team’s Strength of Schedule was formed by multiplying the Opponent’s Win Percentage with an adjusted Average Class Size Played against.
In the past, we used MSHSAA’s classifications (the four classes used in the state playoff system) as one of our multipliers, but we figured a better indication of the strength of schedule was by the success of the team played against and not just a designated class size mostly done by enrollment. The reality is that there are some C1 teams who are stronger than C4 teams so we wanted to get a better representation of how difficult the schedules were based on success during the 2023 season. For example, C1 finalists Duchesne (31st) and Bishop DuBourg (35th) each had MPR scores that would place them in the C4 category, so playing against them gave a “4” toward Opponent Size instead of a “1” if we used the MSHSAA classifications.
The “new” classes are at the bottom of the Overall Strength of Schedule page. These were based on MPR scores at the end of the year. Interestingly enough, there were 8-10 schools whose MPR class would have changed if we had used the final regular season (10-27) MPR. For the competition purists out there, these four new classes would likely have made for a better match of alike teams as an end of the season tournament (about as close to our own promotion/relegation as we can get). Again, MSHSAA’s direction is to have the state tournament based on enrollment and geographical representation - our toying with the system is just for fun, but it does lead to some interesting possibilities if explored.
For example, one of the big concerns with the current MSHSAA system is that it often leads to huge mismatches in tournament play - games that end early and usually with some unfortunate scores (MSHSAA “mercy” rules stipulate that a game ends when their is an 8-goal difference, but at least 40 mins must be played, so we ended up wth some games that were won by more than 8 goals). None of this is great for the teams, players or the sport itself. In fact, there were 20 tournament games with MPR differences of 2.0 and higher. The average score difference in those 20 games was 7.45. There were also 20 games played with an MPR difference of 1.51-1.99. The average goal differential in those games was 5.35.
In short, roughly 1/6 of the matches played in the state tournament pitted teams in the same MSHSAA class, but not in the same “competitive class.” As the differences in “competitive class” dropped, the games became closer. An MPR difference of 1-1.5 in 28 games played had an average goal differential of 4, but once the MPR difference went to under 1, the goal difference in games dropped to 2.36 over 153 games, which meant that MOST of those games pitted two teams of similar capabilities at least based on final scores.
There were only four teams who won games with an MPR score difference of -1.0 and above in the tournament, with STEAM’s 5-3 win over Soldan setting the mark as the biggest upset (-1.80). The other three upsets were all closer to -1.0 (St. Charles West over City -1.18, Saxony Lutheran over Perryville -1.07 and Northwest over Jackson -1.05).
As a point of reference, our “new” classes looked like this - again they are at the bottom of the overall Strength of Schedule page:
Class 4: MPR of 3.5 and above (37 teams).
Class 3: MPR of 2.8-3.4999 (60 teams)
Class 2: MPR 2-2.7999 (73 teams)
Class 1: MPR of 1.999 and below (53 teams)
We posted an overall list as well as each (MSHSAA) class for easier reference.
One thing to note, playing a stronger schedule can be both a benefit (Ladue being a prime example - reaching the C3 finals with a 12-15 mark but the 16th toughest schedule overall) and a drawback (STL power conference MCC didn’t have one FF team this year but all 5 teams finished in the top 9 of SoS and MPR which just goes to show how difficult it is to even reach a FF).
Our state champion with the highest Strength of Schedule, Rockhurst, had the 20th toughest schedule BUT the lowest SoS of the C4 Final Four teams. Westminster Christian (60) was the only state champ to have the toughest schedule in the Final Four (and #2 overall in C2 behind Barstow). East (KC) (77) also played the easiest schedule of the C3 FF teams (a contrasting to runner-up Ladue) while Duchesne (103) was behind runner-up Bishop DuBourg (59) but ahead of Maryville and Laquey.
And with that…we are mostly done with the 2023 season.
Don’t forget to order those awards and have a great, safe and healthy holiday and new year ahead!