November 10, Quarterfinal Preview (Blog #9) : MO Soccer Blog

November 10, Quarterfinal Preview (Blog #9)

by Admin on 11/10/23

November 10, Boys Postseason Blog #9

Quarterfinal Previews

Class 1

#4 Metro (12-4) at #1 Bishop DuBourg (21-3) (+.60) 1 p.m.
DuBourg is 7-0 against common opponents, while Metro is 4-3. Statistically, these teams are about even…BDB has scored 4.3 goals/game, while Metro has scored at a 4.1/game clip. Both teams have allowed 1.2 goals/game. DuBourg did suffer two of its three losses at home…These two have played each other the past two seasons with DuBourg winning this year 3-0 and Metro last year, 1-0.

#3 Maryville (15-3) (+.88) at #12 College Heights Christian (10-11) (Game is at Carl Junction HS) 2 p.m.
One of the drawbacks of quarterfinals is the potential travel and Maryville’s 236 mile journey to Carl Junction (nearly 4 hours) will likely impact this one…Both teams won against their one common opponent (Lone Jack). CHC rolled 5-1, while Maryville won 3-0. The difference here may be the Spoofhounds defense, which is only allowing .9 goals/match. CHC is giving up 2.8…Maryville survived penalties in the district finals with #7 Cristo Rey, while College Heights shocked #1 seed Lone Jack…First meeting between the two schools.

#6 Father Tolton (14-9) at #2 Duchesne (19-7) (+.31) 12 p.m.
This may be the most competitive quarter in C1…Both teams had relatively easy district weeks, with Duchesne winning 5-0 and 8-0, while Tolton won its matches 8-0 and 4-0. Duchesne does own a 3-1 win over Lutheran St. Charles, while Tolton lost to LSC 3-1. Both teams lost to St. Dominic and Borgia in the regular season by similar scores. One thing to note, Tolton is only 4-6 in away games, while Duchesne is 9-4 at home. This is their first ever meeting.

#16 Laquey (11-11) (+.17) at #19 Stover (16-11) (Location/time TBD)
Laquey slipped past Stover 2-1 in the Stover Classic 10-14 and Laquey (5-2) owns a better record vs. common opponents than Stover (4-3) and has scored more goals/game (4.1 to 3.7), but that number is inflated due to a 16-0 win over Iberia. Stover’s defense has been more stout on the season, giving up one full goal/game less than Laquey. This is Laquey’s 7th attempt to advance to a final four, having never won a postseason game in the previous six attempts. Coach Chris Witte’s Stover squad reached the playoffs for the first time in school history - one that dates back to at least the early mid-late 80’s/early 90’s - after a thrilling 4-3 OT win over Green Ridge. Laquey has won all five previous matches, dating back to 2017.

Class 2

#1 Westminster Christian (18-5) (+.48) at #7 Affton (22-4) 4 p.m.
This should be a fun one as both teams enter the playoffs coming off of big wins over top 8 schools.  Affton has much to be excited about - a school record in wins, a 10-0 home mark and winners of 16 of its last 17 ( a 4-0 loss to Seckman its only blemish), although of those 16 wins, only two came against teams with winning records. The big result, was last week’s 5-3 district title win over #8 Bayless. Westminster Christian has been ranked #1 since early October and has won 12 of 14, with both losses to C3 playoff teams (1-0 to Burroughs and 2-1 to Ladue in OT). In fact, WC has only lost to three teams this year - Burroughs and Priory twice and Ladue. A tough 1-0 win over #5 Clayton erased some of the sting of losing last year’s D3 tournament final to Orchard Farm in OT as the overall #1 seed in C2. Defense will be the key in this one - something that WC has excelled at all season, allowing only .9 goals/game. This is the first meeting since 2012, with WC winning the previous four.

#16 Excelsior Springs (13-5) at #6 Harrisonville (17-5-1) (+.47) 6 p.m.
Excelsior Springs will enter as an underdog, but this program has figured out a way to win the past two years, finishing 3rd in both 2021 and 2022. The Tigers haven’t lost since a late September 2-1 defeat at Smithville, a span of nine games. ES can score - it hasn’t been shut out yet - but has also cleaned up its defense in not allowing a goal in two district wins. Harrisonville also hasn’t lost since late September - to KS power Bishop Miege - and held on for a 2-1 district final win over #9 Barstow to advance for the 9th time and first since 2021, when that 10-12-1 squad finished 4th after losing to ES 3-1 in the consolation game. These two both lost to Smithville by a goal, but Harrisonville does own a 2-1 victory over Ft. Osage, while ES lost to FO 2-1. These two teams are no stranger to each other - having played 26 times over the years. Harrisonville leads the overall series 22-4, but ES has won the previous two and three of four.

#20 Fulton (14-10) at #4 Orchard Farm (22-2) (+1.02) (Game will be played at St. Charles West HS) 1 p.m.
Fulton will head to St. Charles winners of seven of its last eight behind an offense that has clicked into gear as of late. The Hornets scored 17 in three district wins and have averaged 4.5 goals on the season. Stopping teams has been the bigger issue, but Fulton has improved of late, getting three of its four shutouts on the year in its last six games. Orchard Farm came within a penalty kick in 2022 of winning the C2 title, but fell to champ Marshall in the finals in a PK shootout. The Eagles have been even better this season - scoring more (3.9 compared to last season’s 2.3), while also giving up fewer goals (.8 goals allowed vs. last season’s .9 mark). A bumpy 2-2 start has given way to 20 consecutive wins, 15 via shutout. OF wasn’t challenged in district play, but did end the season with a solid 2-1 OT result over C3 #7 Ft. Zumwalt East. This is the two teams’ first meeting.

#10 Sacred Heart (23-4) at #2 Logan-Rogersville (24-0) 11 a.m.
A combined 47 wins - the most in a quarterfinal game this year - starts off C2 play Saturday in Rogersville. Host LR has survived three OT games (one PK) this year to stay perfect and may have played its best half of the season in the D5 final, scoring four in the opening half to cruise past #2 seed Bolivar, a team that LR beat by one goal in each of the two previous matchups. The Wildcats finally broke into the postseason in 2021, but fell in penalties to School of the Osage in the district finals that concluded a sterling 21-4 season, but no playoff berth. Sacred Heart returns to the postseason for the first time since finishing second in the 2017 C1 season. As mentioned yesterday, the Gremlins are the smallest school by enrollment left in the tourney in any class and have struggled to repeat its C1 successes of the early 2010s when it made four straight final four appearances. This hasn’t been an easy road for SH, winning all three district games by a goal each, but the Gremlins are on a current 18-game winning streak. Both LR and SH own one goal wins over their only common opponent - Greenwood. This will be the teams’ first ever meeting.

Class 3

#1 Rockwood Summit (18-4-1) (+1.55) at #22 Farmington (13-6) 1 p.m.
On paper, this is the biggest mismatch of Saturday. #1 Summit has been the team to beat all year in C3 and holds a substantial advantage in the MPR standings, but this has all the makings of a possible trap game - the Knights are well-coached, defend well and host this one, so Summit will need to be on upset alert. Farmington scuffled at the end of the regular season, losing its last four, but came alive in district play and advanced in the final over #18 Cape Notre Dame 2-1 in 2OT. If the postseason Knights show, they’ve got a puncher’s chance, but they will need to be near perfect to knock off a Falcons team that is rolling right now. Eleven straight wins since early October - including two over C4 playoff teams John Burroughs (5-0) and Lindbergh (2-1 PK). In all, RS played four C4 playoff teams, going 2-1-1, so the Falcons will be as tested as anyone in the postseason. No doubt the 026 Army will be in full force for this one, as well, which should make for a fun environment. Farmington hopes to make its first ever final four appearance with a win, while Summit is shooting for its third title overall and first since 2019.

#3 East (KC) (+.15) at #4 Van Horn (13-10) 6 p.m.
There may not be a more fun team to watch than East (KC). The Bears run at you with speed and skill while averaging nearly 6 goals/game and have matched the offense with a solid defense that has eight straight shutouts. In fact, East has rattled off 13 wins in a row and are itching at a shot to finish the deal in C3 after a heart-breaking 3-2 finals loss to Webster Groves in penalties last year. East dismantled #5 Platte Co. 5-0 in the district finals. The Bears’ last loss, though? To #4 Van Horn 2-1 Sept. 7 at Van Horn, site of Saturday’s game. Van Horn’s erratic season has given some puzzling results (a week before beating East 2-1, East rolled VH 4-1), but based on the last few weeks, the Falcons have figured something out, topping C3 #2 St. Michael twice - including the district semifinal 2-1 - before eliminating #14 Raytown 2-0 in the D7 finals. Van Horn has been to five playoffs in six years, recently finishing fourth in 2021, so this program knows how to play in the big games. East has a decisive 5-0 advantage against common opponents, while Van Horn is just 2-3, including a puzzling 1-0 2OT loss to Grain Valley, a team East thrashed 7-0. A late start to this one should make for a great environment in Independence.

#21 Ft. Zumwalt South (13-14) at #16 Ladue (10-14) (+.16) 3:30 p.m.
We’ve now reached the bracket buster portion of the previews - if anyone had a FZS-Ladue matchup prior to the playoffs starting, it would’ve been an odd choice. Both teams enter under .500 - one of the few times (if any?) that has happened, especially in the upper classes. Yet, here we are again - the third quarter matchup between these two STL powers and fourth playoff clash between them including FZS’s 2021 2-1 state championship game win since 2014. FZS has won the previous three, but Ladue will go in as the favorite, and for the first time, hosting the Bulldogs. The Rams’ record is also a bit misleading - a 3-5 start prior to the four forfeits midway through the season and a rough stretch against a demanding schedule saw them go 2-5 to end the regular season. From there, though, the Rams have found themselves, eliminating the ’22 champ Webster Groves in the semis 1-0 and then edging perennial power Whitfield 2-1 in the finals. Ladue became the only #5 seed since going to 8 districts to win a district in any class, but will have to contend with missing two starters due to red cards suffered in the finals - a game that Ladue finished with 9 players on the field. FZS didn’t exactly look primed to make a deep run after losing its final two games by a combined 10-2 score, followed by an opening-round 5-4 shootout with North Point. However, the Bulldogs topped #11 Hannibal in the semis 3-1 and shocked #1 seed and #7 Ft. Zumwalt East 2-1 in a rivalry game final, so who knows what these two will have in store Saturday. FZS has won three of the past five C3 championships, but has been under .500 (25-28-1) since last winning in 2021.

#45 Springfield Central (10-17) at #8 Springfield Catholic (18-8) (+.96) 12 p.m.
If there was ever a story of a team getting hot at the right time out of nowhere, it’s Springfield Central. A promising 4-2 start, which included a season-opening 2-1 loss at Catholic, seemed to say that the Bulldogs would be a possible contender in the SW C3 scene, especially in a wide-open D6. That changed quickly, though. A six-game losing streak followed and led to a 3-15 mark over the team’s last 18 matches, including losses in the final seven. Everyone starts 0-0 in the playoffs and Central has found a way, knocking out # Branson 3-2 and #1 Webb City 2-1 to reach its second playoffs. Springfield Catholic fought its way through a competitive D5 district in Jefferson City, winning its first district since 2019 after a remarkable run that saw the Irish make the final four in its first seven years of existence (2008-2014) and back-to-back titles in 2011-2012. Catholic nearly didn’t even see the district finals this year, stunning #2 seed Rolla on a goal with 16 seconds left that forced extra time, where Catholic prevailed 3-2. The Irish made quick work of host Capital City in the finals, scoring twice early and one late for a 3-0 win.

Class 4

#3 CBC (17-6-2) (+.15) at #9 Lindbergh (21-5) 2 p.m.
Historically, this doesn’t look good for Lindbergh, having lost four straight in the series and three times in the playoffs since 2008, but the Flyers get to host and are fresh off a big win over MCC power and #1 seed Vianney 4-3 in OT. These two already played once this year, with CBC winning in penalties at home in late August. CBC, per usual, had to run a gauntlet of quality sides to advance out of districts. The Cadets opened with a 7-0 rout over a solid #18 Priory squad before slipping past #7 Chaminade 1-0 and #2 De Smet 1-0. CBC fell short in last year’s title game against Rockhurst which would’ve tied St. Thomas Aquinas-Mercy with 11 state titles, most in history.  Both teams are 5-3 against common opponents.

#5 Park Hill South (18-2-1) (+.58) at #16 Rock Bridge (18-6-3) 1 p.m.
These two will get to finish they started October 21 in the Rock Bridge Shootout where it ended in a 1-1 draw. That was RB’s only blemish over the final seven matches, but there was a scary semifinal moment against #4 Blue Springs when the Bruins had to score with under 30 seconds left to even make the district finals. A much easier time against #2 Blue Springs South led to a 3-0 win, giving the Bruins back to back playoff appearances after a third place in 2022. The record looks better this year, but that was due to RB having to forfeit 13 games over the course of  the ’22 campaign. A new set of players has stepped in to replace a talented graduating class and the Bruins have a real solid shot to get back to the final four with the advantage of hosting. PHS is also on a roll, going 11-0-1 to finish the year, which included a big 2-1 victory over rival Park Hill in the D8 final. PHS is shooting for its first C4 final four (it has 2 final four appearances when it was in a smaller class after first opening), while Rock Bridge is hoping to go to its 7th final four.

#8 Liberty (Wentzville) (21-2) (+.18) at #13 John Burroughs (17-5) 12 p.m.
Burroughs has to be hoping that history is repeating itself as it prepares to host Liberty (Wentzville) Saturday. Much like its surprise 2021 run in C4 (after having been C2 in the previous playoff structure), Burroughs will host Liberty after shocking SLUH and Chaminade (this year it was SLUH and Howell North in the districts). The Bombers stopped Liberty 2-0 in 2021 en route to a 3rd place finish and will hope for a similar outcome again. Liberty will be slightly favored again and boasts the better offensive (4.1 goals/game compared to JB’s 2.2) and defensive (.7 goals allowed vs. 1 goal allowed/game for JB). The Eagles didn’t have an easy road in the D4 tourney but survived St. Dominic 1-0 in the finals to get through. After a game two loss to Chaminade in penalties, only Ft. Zumwalt East (3-1 Oct. 17) has topped the Eagles. They’ve only conceded once since then so goals will likely be at a premium in this one.

#1 Rockhurst (21-0) (+.74) at #11 Ozark (24-2-2) 12 p.m.
The first-ever meeting between these two is a study in a veteran program that has been there/done that many times before in Rockhurst versus a dangerous Ozark squad that has never reached a final four despite five district title wins since 2016. Ozark has pounded teams with a dynamic offense that has scored 4.5 goals/game without being shut out, while only allowing .8/game. Ozark got over the hump against Kickapoo in the district semis 2-1 (Kickapoo stopped the 23-5 Tigers in the D5 finals last year) and then took out rival Nixa 3-1 in the finals. Rockhurst also hasn’t played since November 1, when the Hawklets fended off a game Ray-Pec squad 3-2 in OT after leading 2-0 late in the contest. The Rock is undefeated and in a solid position to claim a shot at not only the state title, but also a national title with multiple high school ranking services. Rockhurst has been the model of consistency and excellence in MO, reaching every playoff BUT ONE (2011) since 1984, winning nine, finishing second five times, third eight times and fourth five times. The Hawklets are 2-2 in their last four quarterfinals, though, and Ray-Pec’s near stunner has to be a positive sign for Ozark that Rockhurst, is in fact, beatable.

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