MO Soccer Blog
October 31, Boys Postseason #2
Happy Halloween everyone!?
There are 32 #1 seeds each year in the soccer playoffs - eight in each class. Teams spend the season striving to get a top seed with the idea of getting the #1 seed and perhaps getting an "easier" path to the state playoffs.
It doesn’t always go as planned.
The heaviest night of games schedule for the postseason saw 15 of the #1 seeds take the field on a brisk Missouri Monday evening and it didn’t take long for the #1 seeds to start dropping.
Four #1 seeds saw postseason dreams dashed in district semifinal play with two of them bowing out in central MO in early games.
In C2 D4, #4 School of the Osage’s convincing 3-0 win over #1 Moberly kicked off the first of two district upsets in Ashland. Osage (7-16-1) started the year with 10 straight losses, but have recovered to win six of its last nine. Moberly’s (14-9) late season swoon continued as the Spartans lost three of its four matches. Osage will play #3 seed Fulton, who edged #2 host team Southern Boone 4-3. SBC had topped Fulton 3-2 just two weeks ago and had won 14 straight against Fulton. SBC won the C1 state title in 2020 in its 11th consecutive playoff appearance but hasn’t won a district since.
Just down the road in Jefferson City, C3 D5 host and #4 seed Capital City shocked #1 Camdenton 3-1 with three goals in the final 22 minutes. The Lakers played the second half a man down and even went up a goal down a player, but CC converted two free kick opportunities and a late strike to win a wild one. The second semi in that game may have been even crazier. #2 seed Springfield Catholic punched in a game-tying goal with just 16 seconds left in regulation, before getting the game-winner the second OT to oust #3 Rolla 3-2.
C3 D7 host #4 Van Horn ended #1 seed St. Michael’s season with a 2-1 win, making SMA the highest ranked MPR team to go home early. The Guardians entered the playoffs as the overall #2 team in C3, but fell to Van Horn (4th in 2021) for the second time in a week after also losing 4-1 the previous Tuesday. SMA had knocked off VH 1-0 prior to the seed meeting in mid October.
There will not be a repeat champ in C3. C3 D3 #1 (and 2022 winner) Webster Groves became the fourth #1 to fall after #4 seed Ladue earned a 1-0 win off a corner kick rebound. Ladue’s 9-14 mark is a bit misleading after having to forfeit four games earlier in the season and the Rams are only two years removed from a C3 runner-up finish. This district is always a fun one and the final should be quality as well, with perennial title-chaser Whitfield meeting Ladue in the finals Thursday.
By the numbers, the two biggest upsets according to the MPR weren’t actually #1 seeds. In C2 D1, #6 Saxony-Lutheran took out #3 Perryville 2-1 in penalties. Perryville, C2 runner ups in 2021 and champs in 2014, entered with a +1.07 in the MPR and ranked #9 in C2, while Saxony was 38th. This is the classic case of postseason meets local rivalry equals not expected result. Perryville's in-season mark against common opponents heavily favored the Pirates, but the two local schools don't play in the regular season, so a one-off game means anything can happen and for the second consecutive year Saxony advances 2-1.
However, the biggest upset of this year’s tournament so far goes to C2 D3 #6 St. Charles West (3-18-1) after routing #3 University City (13-4) 5-2. UCity (#15) entered with a +1.18 advantage over SCW (#42), which had lost 11 in a row entering district play.
In other non-upset news, C4 overall #1 Rockhurst rolled along to another final with a 3-0 win over Lee’s Summit West. The Hawklets will play #3 seed Ray-Pec, 2-1 OT winners over #2 Carthage Monday.
The other 10 #1 seeds won matches last night by an average of 6.1 goals.
Tonight (Tuesday) features 22 matches, with C2 D7 and C3 D6 getting their districts started and eight others playing semifinals. Wednesday will see our first district champions crowned as five title matches kick off among the 18 scheduled games.
October 30 Boys Postseason #1
We are off!
Saturday saw 48 district games kick off in Classes 2, 3 and 4. Tonight (Monday) is the biggest slate of games - 59 on tap across the state in all 4 classes - with finals scheduled through next Tuesday (11-7). With the elimination of the sectional round a few years ago, several districts have decided to space out games a bit more so there isn’t the long waiting period between district finals and quarterfinals.
As always, we had a few shockers from the opening round already, but for the most part, Saturday stayed status quo based on seedings and the MO Power Rankings (MPR). 42 of the 48 games went “as scheduled” in both seeding and MPR.
The biggest upset involved MO's reigining master of the upset - C4’s Jackson - but this time it worked against the Indians. Northwest Cedar Hill pulled off a 2-0 win over the 2020 surprise champs. Jackson, seeded 3rd in D1, was also a +1.05 in the MPR and had handled Northwest 3-0 in mid-September.
Another surprise in C4 happened in Columbia when 6-seed Smith-Cotton got an OT winner to eliminate district host Hickman 1-0. Hickman had a +.87 edge over S-C and had defeated the Tigers 2-0 earlier in the season.
C3 also saw a few mild upsets with 9th ranked and D7 3-seeded Warrensburg losing to 24th ranked William Chrisman 2-1, ending a nice breakout season for the Tigers. Pembroke Hill’s regular season wasn’t up to its usual standards (4-15-1), but the 6-seeded Raiders are still alive after knocking off Lincoln Prep 1-0 in its opener. 5-seed Mehlville may have had the best opening round performance in routing 4-seed Union 8-0 in C3 D2.
The bulk of the action is still to come, of course, but there is some benefit in looking back over the past few years to see how teams at the top of our final MPR regular season rankings have fared.
Mostly great for the #1s, so potential good news for Bishop DuBourg (C1), Westminster Christian (C2), Rockwood Summit (C3) and Rockhurst (C4). A side note: Rockhurst will look to join a small list of schools that have won three in a row and seek the perfect season. The Hawklets got off to a great start with a 13-0 win over Ruskin Saturday.
2020 was of course the pandemic year and things were a little different with the rankings and several teams not participating, but both Southern Boone (C1) and Ft. Zumwalt South (C3) entered as favorites and won. MICDS (C2) and Jackson (C4) also won titles, but weren’t the top teams going in.
Enjoy the week, dress warm and stay tuned…
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!
Final Four Preview 11-17-22
The final weekend of soccer for 2022 is here with 16 teams still alive in the four classes and looking to cap their seasons with championship trophies. It’s going to be a brisk weekend (again - after last week’s chilly quarterfinals) at the World Wide Technology Soccer Park - one of the many challenges that await each team (and the fans!) this weekend. For those interested in watching from the comfort of their own home, all games will be broadcast live at https://www.mshsaa.tv/ (subscription/payment required). Tickets for each day are $10 and can be purchased online at https://www.mshsaa.org/CMSPages/Tickets.aspx.
There is a chance we could see four first-time winners this weekend, and at the bare minimum will see one first-time champ as Class 2 is full of teams without titles. Class 1 will once again have a private school champ as all four participants are private/parochial. In Class 3, the #1 and #2 teams meet in the semis as four of the top six squads advanced, while Class 4 has a who’s who of MO soccer powers, including a 13-loss team that would be the overall MO #1 if not for a half-season of forfeits due to an ineligible player.
So far, the Missouri Power Rankings have correctly picked 10 of the 12 state champions in the past three years (Guadalupe in 2019 and Jackson in 2020 were the exceptions). This year, the MPR has been correct 75% of the time (153/208). Teams with an MPR advantage are listed with (+.) next to its record. The average margin for “upset” this year has been within .25. Last year it was .31. There have been 47 MPR upsets under .50 this year, with only six above that range. The only MPR difference over .50 in the semis is the Rockhurst-Rock Bridge game that is skewed by Rock Bridge’s forfeits. In fact, RB would likely be the MPR favorite without them.
Quarter recap: Borgia jumped all over Duchesne early and cruised to a lopsided 7-0 win. Bishop DuBourg took care of Brentwood 3-0. New Covenant also cruised, topping Smithton 3-0. The only drama of Class 1 came at Maryville where the Spoofhounds led #1 Summit Christian 2-0 late in the first half before SCA cut into the lead with 20 seconds left in the half. Two more second half goals, the last on a penalty, gave the Eagles the 3-2 win.
#4 St. Francis Borgia (13-9) (+.30) vs. #10 Bishop DuBourg (14-11)
There is probably no hotter C1 team than Borgia right now. The Knights roll into the semis with a lot of confidence and a five-game winning streak that includes a 4-2 win over Bishop DuBourg Oct. 24. Maybe even more telling is the 1-0 loss to St. Dominic, a C4 semifinalist, just days prior to that Dubourg game. Borgia had lost 8-0 to St. Dominic earlier, but they seem to have found a different gear since after escaping a difficult district with 2-1 wins, the final a 2-1 penalty win over #2 Father Tolton. This is Borgia’s fourth Final Four, with its best finish a 2002 runner-up. Bishop DuBourg limped into the postseason with four straight losses, but has been solid since. This is the sixth matchup between the teams with Borgia winning the previous five. Take away the Borgia game earlier and DuBourg has only given up four other goals since October started. DuBourg does have a co-championship to its credit - all the way back when Star Wars was released (1977). This is also DuBourg’s fourth semifinal appearance.
#1 Summit Christian Academy (17-6) (+.38) vs. #6 New Covenant Academy (17-8-1)
Two newcomers to semifinal play meet up in semifinal #2. SCA rides in as the top team in C1, but the Eagles always seem to make things interesting. Case in point, one week it beats Barstow in penalties, 12 days later it loses to the same squad, 5-0. New Covenant has also been a bit unpredictable, but since it’s been win or out, the Warriors haven’t given up a goal, including a 1-0 elimination of previous #1 Laquey in the district finals.
Quarter recap: Saxony Lutheran scored in the game’s opening 10 minutes and held on for its third consecutive nail biter, topping Principia 1-0. Orchard Farm jumped out to a 2-0 lead after 21 minutes en route to eliminating Helias 3-1. Marshall also scored twice in the opening half in its 3-0 victory over School of the Osage. Excelsior Springs’ complete game ousted Barstow, 5-0.
#9 Saxony Lutheran (15-9) vs. #3 Orchard Farm (20-5) (+.45)
Saxony Lutheran keeps finding a way to win as it looks to better its only other semifinals appearance - a 4th place in 2017. The Crusaders have won seven in a row behind its defense (six shutouts in those seven matches) and opportunistic offense. Saxony may look a little out-matched in this one on paper, but a demanding schedule, including the SLUH tournament where it matched up with Chaminade and two-time champ Ft. Zumwalt South should have it prepared for the big stage. This is also a program that knows how to win, having captured seven districts in the past nine years. Orchard Farm is also in its second final four, with many of the same players from the 2020 squad that finished second. The Eagles are only in year seven as a program, but have averaged 19 wins over the past five years and are a tournament favorite after eliminating #1 Westminster Christian in the district finals. The Eagles defense has been spectacular all year - outside two matches against Ft. Zumwalt North (5-0) and Gateway Academy (7-0) OF has only given up nine goals in the run of play.
#2 Marshall (22-2-1) (+.43) vs. #7 Excelsior Springs (15-5)
Both teams earned their way to STL with convincing quarter wins. Outside of one week (back-to-back losses to Hannibal and Father Tolton late in October), the Owls are undefeated on the season and have the extra motivation to make up for the 4-0 loss to Excelsior Springs last season in the district finals. This is Marshall’s fourth semifinal appearance - finishing fourth the previous three times, the last in 2010. Excelsior Springs has made it back-to-back final fours and third in its history - having finished second in 2004 and third last season. Look for this one to be close: Marshall tied Battle 2-2, while Excelsior Springs won over Battle 3-2. Each team has the ability to score - defense will be the key here.
Quarter Recap: Webster Groves and Cape Notre Dame were tied 0-0 at half before the Statesmen’s depth wore down CND in a 4-0 win. Whitfield scored in the first OT period to propel the Warriors to a 1-0 win over Ft. Zumwalt East. Glendale was a huge favorite at Webb City, but the Cardinals had other plans, leading 1-0 midway through the second half. Webb City actually had a penalty kick saved by the Glendale GK that would’ve put it up 2-0. Instead, Glendale rallied for goals in the 63rd and 79th minute to eke out a 2-1 win. East (KC) was too much for Jefferson City, eliminating the Jays 6-0.
#1 Webster Groves (19-3-3) (+.29) vs. #2 Whitfield (18-3)
It’s not often that a team coming off a state title and a runner-up in the past two years AND one with eight titles to its name isn’t the one favored to win, but such is the case in this 1 vs. 2 semi. Whitfield finished second in 2020 in the C1 finals, then won the C2 championship last year. Based on the Championship Factor, the Warriors jumped to C3 this year, but it hasn’t slowed them much. In fact, Whitfield has won 18 of 19, losing only to Ladue, a team it beat in the district finals just one week later. Even with all of that, #1 Webster Groves has been nearly as good. The Statesmen haven’t given up a goal in the postseason and survived its biggest test when it ousted rival and fellow two-time champ Rockwood Summit in penalties in the district finals. A fun fact…this is Whitfield’s 12th semifinal appearance. The Warriors have won all 11 previous semis, but all of those were in Class 1 or 2. WG is in its fifth final four, all within the past nine years, winning two (2014,15).
#4 Glendale (24-4) (+.19) vs. #6 East (KC) (19-2-1)
This is the second match-up of the season between these two as Glendale won the first one, 1-0 at the Parkview Tournament. Glendale enters its ninth final four under Coach Jeff Rogers still looking for its first title. The Falcons finished third last season and have twice reached the championship, losing the C3 title in 2008 to Rockhurst and the 2014 title to Webster Groves. Glendale traded wins and losses to open the year 3-3 before posting a 21-1 mark since Sept. 10, the day the Falcons matched up with East. The only loss during that stretch Oct. 14 to Pembroke Hill in penalties - the second straight year the Raiders upset Glendale. East has been an offensive juggernaut most of the season - scoring 25 goals in the four postseason games alone. The Bears haven’t lost since that Glendale game, tying Blue Valley West (KS) 2-2 and winning its other 15. Back to Pembroke Hill…East beat them twice within the last few weeks, 8-1 and 4-1 so Glendale will have its work cut out. East’s scenario is similar to the 2019 Guadalupe Center squad that won class 2 in its first appearance after the top two teams in C2 (Priory and John Burroughs) battled into OT in the semis. Guadalupe stunned a worn-out Priory in the finals that year…
Quarter Recap: CBC and Lindbergh hooked up in another close one with CBC’s first half goal holding up in a 1-0 Cadet win. St. Dominic scored late to eliminate Chaminade 2-1. For the second straight year Rockhurst got a huge goal from a freshman in its 1-0 win over Kickapoo. Rock Bridge made a first-half goal stand up in a 1-0 win at Liberty North.
#6 CBC (16-9) (+.43) vs. #12 St. Dominic (18-8-2)
Normally, seeing CBC and St. Dominic in the finals wouldn’t be much of a shock to anyone who has followed MO soccer, but this is not a normal year for either squad that has combined for 15 state titles and 33 final fours. Legendary coaches Terry Michler (CBC) and Greg Koeller (St. Dominic) are quite familiar with the final four scene, but 2022 has been a challenge for both and quite frankly, neither squad was expected to get here. Even the district opener was difficult for CBC as the Cadets had to go OT to beat Priory. That started a string of four one-goal wins that propelled CBC into its first semi since 2018, the year of its last title. This will be the 16th time since 2008 these two have played, with CBC winning 12, including a 3-2 decision Sept. 29. CBC has never come to a semifinal and not won at least one game (10 1st, six runner-ups and five 3rd place finishes). St. Dominic opened 5-6-2, but has since righted the ship, losing only to then #1 DeSmet and #5 SLUH. Since then, the Crusaders have topped the latest #1 Chaminade twice and seem to be playing their best soccer of the season. Dominic has also been in a bit of a title drought - last winning C2 (when there was three classes) in 2013, it’s fifth title that started in 2004.
#3 Rockhurst 19-2-2 (+.80) vs. #20 Rock Bridge (12-13)
The final - and likely very cold - match of the day may be the most entertaining. Defending C4 champion and final four record holder (27) Rockhurst looks to repeat against the team that either was or would’ve been the state’s top-ranked squad most of the year in Rock Bridge. The Bruins had to forfeit 13 games at the end of the year due to an ineligible player (RB’s only “real” loss was to Rockwood Summit Sept. 15), but have rallied to win all four postseason games on the road since. Rockhurst hasn’t been as stingy defensively as in year’s past (eight shutouts this year compared to 16 last season), but still did what Rockhurst has done for years, which is get into the playoffs. Since 1984 the Hawklets have won a district in every year except 2011 when they lost in the district finals to Lee’s Summit West in OT. That’s 37 out of the last 38 years of being a title contender, a mark no other program even comes close to. Rock Bridge is in its 6th semifinal, losing the previous five but rallied to finish third in each of them, most recently in the 2016 semis that Rockhurst won 2-0. This is the two school’s 9th match up since 2008 with each team winning four. One potential thing to look for this year - Rock Bridge rosters 14 seniors, while Rockhurst has five.
Quarterfinal Preview (11-12-22)
A cold Saturday for MO quarterfinals awaits 32 teams hoping to extend their season and reach the finals next weekend in St. Louis. Several intriguing matchups ahead after a long layoff always makes for a full and fun day for the sport across the state. Home field advantage, handling travel and managing the emotions of a do-or-die matchup will all factor into play. We have updated the MPR rankings and scores and will show the “favored” team by MPR based on the entire season so far. One thing MPR doesn’t account for - teams who are “hot” at the right time or who may get on a roll this week. The new playoff system vastly changes the regular schedule that most teams are used to so well-coached and mature squads will have an advantage.
Bishop DuBourg (10) at Brentwood (8) (+.02)
What looks to be the schools first-ever meeting (since 2008) obviously has major implications and couldn’t be closer on paper. DuBourg (13-11) has rallied from a 6-7 start and four consecutive losses prior to postseason play to advance for the first time since 2015 and third since 2009. The Cavaliers slipped past St. Mary’s 2-1 in OT in the D1 finals. Brentwood (14-7) comes in as a slight MPR favorite and has only lost once since Sept. 23. The Eagles have home field advantage (7-3 at home this year) and a little bit of post-season experience as well after winning a district last year. Both teams give up 1.6 goals/game, but Brentwood has had a little more offensive firepower. DuBourg counters with a demanding C1 schedule that has prepped them for this moment.
Duchesne (20) at St. Francis Borgia (4) (+.63)
This one has an old school vibe to it as the only C1 team with championship experience (Duchesne ’93, ’04) travels to Washington to face maybe the tourney’s hottest team, Borgia. The two met way back on Sept. 1 and Borgia (12-9) rolled to a 6-1 win, but don’t expect a laugher this time. Borgia is just one year removed from nearly eliminating last year’s champ, Lutheran St. Charles, losing in penalties in this same game. The Knights got here via the same route this time by winning a 2-1 penalty shootout with #2 Father Tolton that went down to the 6th kicker. Duchesne (10-17) has had an inconsistent path to the quarters but Pat Turner’s squad got it together in the D3 tourney. Turner hasn’t won a boys title yet, but he does have four girls championships to his name, so the Pioneers will be prepared.
Smithton (9) at New Covenant Academy (6) (+.15)
The Cooper Sports Complex in Springfield will host this quarter between two teams with ample recent playoff experience. Smithton (19-6) enters after a relatively easy D5 win, their third title in a row, and on a roll with 12 wins in the last 13 matches. The only loss was in the Kaysinger Tournament final to Sacred Heart. The Tigers were eliminated in the quarters last year by a late Maryville goal that ended an undefeated season. The last loss before that was to New Covenant (16-8-1) 5-0 on Sept. 30. NCA is also playing its best ball of the season after upsetting both #5 College Heights and #1 Laquey in the D6 tourney. The Warriors don’t go down easily - their last five losses were all by a goal.
Summit Christian Academy (1) (+.76) at Maryville (16)
A rematch of last year’s district final now has even more at stake. SCA (16-6) assumes the tourney favorite roll after Laquey and Tolton lost and goes in to its first playoff as a heavy MPR favorite BUT the Spoofhounds will be a tough out at home. Maryville (13-5) eliminated SCA 2-1 in the district finals last season en route to a 3rd place C1 finish and is in the playoffs for the fourth time in five seasons. Maryville relies on a potent offense, averaging 5 goals/match. SCA has figured out how to win the close ones, including three of four in penalties/OT this year and is coming off a challenging October schedule that has obviously benefitted them.
Saxony Lutheran (9) (+.08) at Principia (11)
Two teams with a lot of history meet up at one of the best facilities MO has to offer (unless weather dictates otherwise and The Mesa is unavailable). Saxony Lutheran fans are probably still recuperating from the Crusaders district run that saw both semifinals (Perryville) and finals (Affton) go to penalties before Saxony (14-9) advanced. The Crusaders return to the playoffs after a two-year drought that ended a six-year run of district titles. Principia (11-10) had an easier time in D2 and also returns for the first time since 2019, when the Panthers won it all for the second time. Principia generally doesn’t wow anyone with its record (no team since the 2015 title squad has been more than two games over .500), but the demanding schedule has paid off in the past. Both teams score and defend at the same rate, so expect a tense game here.
Orchard Farm (3) (+.85) at Helias (23)
On paper, this is the biggest mismatch of the C2 quarters, but both teams are coming off emotional weeks that saw each play at its highest level of the season - exactly what you want this time of year. Orchard Farm (19-5) scored one of its program’s biggest wins when it bounced overall #1 Westminster Christian 2-1 in OT in the D3 finals. The Eagles started the season 1-2, but have been consistently good this season, with only losses to Gateway Academy (a team not recognized by MSHSAA) and C3 quarterfinalist Whitfield since October started. Take away Gateway’s (7) and Ft. Zumwalt North’s (5) goals against and OF has only allowed nine all year with 14 shutouts. Helias, on the other hand, struggled to stop anyone for most of the year (only one shutout in 26 matches), but found a way at the end to limit damage and take advantage of its offense to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2019. The Crusaders (8-18) will have its hands full, but will also host with a solid fan base behind them and some confidence that was lacking earlier.
School of the Osage (4) at Marshall (2) (+.07)
Two mid-MO public schools who have had program-defining years will meet in Marshall with very little separating them and potential history on the line. Osage (18-6) finally broke through, winning its first-ever district title in penalties at #3 Logan-Rogersville. The Indians have been on a roll as of late, scoring 32 goals in the past five games. While the teams haven’t met since 2010, they did play eight common opponents with Osage winning seven (an OT loss to Capital City the exception) and Marshall winning all eight. Marshall (21-2-1) has hovered near the top of the MPR rankings all year and held the top spot for a while before stumbling in back-to-back one-goal losses against Father Tolton and Hannibal in the same week. The Owls have been to three other final fours but haven’t won a district since 2017, so this is new for everyone on the field today. Marshall is 11-0-1 at home this year, which could go a long way in a game between two very even opponents.
Barstow (6) (+.12) at Excelsior Springs (7)
The final quarter in C2 has a team with championship pedigree (Barstow) and a team with last year’s final four experience (Excelsior Springs). Barstow (15-9) has won two Class 1 titles in the past eight years and reached the playoffs nine times since 2008. The Knights haven’t lost to a C2 team this year and eliminated last year’s final four squad and D7 #1 seed Harrisonville 3-1 in the finals. Excelsior Springs (14-5) is looking to improve on last year’s 3rd place finish, but the Tigers are slight underdogs at home. Both teams own 4-goal wins over St. Pius (KC). Expect a close game here and the Tigers have been good in OT, winning all three that have gone extra this year. Barstow, on the other hand, is 0-2 in OT games.
Cape Notre Dame (9) at Webster Groves (1) (+.81)
Webster Groves is the only #1 MPR team to have survived district play after knocking out #3 Rockwood Summit in penalties. The Statesmen (18-3-3) have been solid all year (all 3 losses were by a goal to powers CBC, Vianney and Clayton) and they own wins over C4 #1 Chaminade, SLUH and Lindbergh, but the win that stands out is the 6-1 thrashing of Cape Notre Dame Sept. 3. WG defends as well as anyone (.6 GAA) and are playing at home, so CND (17-6-1) has a monumental task ahead. However, if ever a team found its stride it was in the second half against rival Cape Central in the D1 finals. Tied 0-0 at half, the Bulldogs maybe had the best 40 minutes of the tournament, scoring six times to reach the playoffs after a year’s absence and shocking their town rival. CND’s season turned with some defensive changes that has produced eight shutouts in the past 12 games after having only one in the first 10.
Whifield (2) (+.46) at Ft. Zumwalt East (8)
Whitfield (17-3) keeps climbing the ladder after reaching the C1 finals in 2020, winning the 2021 C2 title, it’s 8th. The season started a bit bumpy with losses to C4 quarterfinalists Lindbergh and Chaminade then straightened out with 15 straight wins before a loss to Ladue to end the year. Whitfield won the one that mattered, though, and eliminated Ladue in the D3 finals behind a solid offense (3.3 Goals/game) and a staunch back line (.9 GAA). Ft. Zumwalt East (18-4) ended Ft. Zumwalt South’s two-year C3 dominance with a 3-1 D4 title win in the third matchup of the local rivals this year. FZE has made the playoffs twice in the past three years and has nearly mirrored Whitfield’s offensive and defensive numbers. FZE started 2-3, but has been in a groove since, losing only to Liberty (Wentzville) 2-1.
Glendale (4) (+.1.04) at Webb City (29)
Glendale (23-4) will roll into Webb City (13-11) today as the biggest favorite of the day and the team most likely to repeat a final four trip. The Falcons are always good under 1000+ win coach Jeff Rogers and this year’s team has the makings of a special one after a dominant regular season with a defense that has allowed registered 20 shutouts. The two teams have played seven common opponents with Glendale winning all seven. Webb City, on the other hand, is only 2-5 in those seven matches and will have to figure out a way to tighten up a defense that has allowed nearly two goals per game. The Cardinals haven’t been to the playoffs since 1999 but held serve in its district and must embrace the underdog label. The MO soccer playoffs are ripe with stories of improbable wins over the years. A WC win would be another of those legendary stories.
Jefferson City (21) at East (KC) (6) (+.57)
The state’s capital city must have something in the water this year as both Helias and JC defied the odds in winning district titles. The #2 seed Jays (15-10) escaped D7 with three-straight 1-0 wins, including a final victory over last year’s final four squad, #4 seed Van Horn. It’s been a wild final month for Jeff City, losing five in a row at one point to end the season. The Jays will need to continue the defensive mastery against a talented and high-scoring East (KC) (18-2-1) squad that has looked a C3 contender all year. East is 6-0 at home, while the Jays have had success (7-2) on the road. One thing that doesn’t bode well for JC is the one common opponent - Lincoln College Prep. JC lost 3-0, while East rolled to a 4-1 win. East is rolling right now, too, going 14-0-1 in its last 15 matches.
Lindbergh (10 ) at CBC (6) (+.30)
Two teams very familiar with each other meet in STL that could be much closer than what the casual observer might think. The two programs have met at least once every year since 2010 and have played 10 common opponents to similar results. CBC (15-9) is the favorite at home and owns a 1-0 2OT win over Lindbergh (17-9) back on Sept. 1. The Cadets also have the history, winning 10 titles in 21 final four appearances. However, the postseason almost ended early when Priory pushed CBC to 2OT’s. The Cadets play a monster schedule and haven’t really got much separation over the year, at one point losing four straight late in the year. Lindbergh got smacked 5-0 by SLUH Oct. 6, but since then has only lost to C3 powers Webster Groves in penalties and Rockwood Summit in 2OT. The Flyers ended a long playoff drought in 2019 with a 4th place finish and are back after a down 2021 when they finished 6-12-3.
Chaminade (1) (+78) at St. Dominic (12)
Two Hall of Fame coaches lead their programs into an intriguing quarter in O’Fallon. It’s not often that a state #1 enters a quarter with seven losses and a 5-1 defeat to end the regular season (also at St. Dominic), but Chaminade (19-7-1) is just that team. The Red Devils and legendary coach Mike Gauvain have three titles, but haven’t won one since 2006 and somehow enter as clear favorites in this quarter MPR-wise despite that late-season loss. When Chaminade is on, they are dynamic and dangerous, as witnessed by wins over Rockhurst, SLUH, Kickapoo and DeSmet, among others. They also lost to seven-win Parkway Central so which team shows is the X-factor. St. Dominic, to no one’s surprise, is back to a quarter under Greg Koeller. The Crusaders (17-8-2) have five titles, but also have been in a dry spell, last winning in 2013. Dominic opened 5-6-2, but a 12-2 finish has them playing at a high level once again.
Kickapoo (4) at Rockhurst (3) (+.06)
On paper, this one is as close as it gets. Last year’s champ Rockhurst (18-2-2) gets to host a quarter and that may make a difference in a game that will likely not be anything like the previous meeting this year, a 6-1 Hawklets win Sept. 17. Kickapoo (25-2) only has one other loss - that to Chaminade (although it did lose the opener to Rock Bridge that was eventually a forfeit win). Kickapoo survived Ozark in the D5 finals and has been on an offensive roll since losing to Chaminade 11 games ago, posting a 52-6 goal margin. Rockhurst is always a threat to win it all as their 26 final four appearances and 8 titles would attest. One interesting note: Rockhurst did lose to Lee’s Summit West 3-1, while Kickapoo earned a 1-0 win over the Titans.
Rock Bridge (20) at Liberty North (8) (+.39)
Another matchup that probably can forget the MPR as Liberty North (18-5) hosts a Rock Bridge squad that had to forfeit 13 games for using an ineligible player and thus skewing their final numbers. Rock Bridge (11-13) was the state’s #1 team for a good chunk of the season and survived three 200 mile round trips in a week to win the D7 title over last year’s 4th place team, Blue Springs. The Bruins are talented in all aspects of the game and are use to playing in unfamiliar places, but have been a bit inconsistent in front of the net recently. Liberty North only has five losses, but none of the losses are particularly “impressive” in that none came against a playoff team. In fact, today’s match is only the second against a playoff team - the other was a 2-0 win over Webb City, the lowest MPR ranked (by class) team left in the playoffs. Home field will help the Eagles as they are 6-0 on their own turf. This is Liberty North’s third trip to the playoffs in its 13 year history and they are looking for their first trip to the finals, while Rock Bridge has been five times, finishing 3rd each time.