MO Soccer Blog

MO Soccer Blog

'22 Boys Postseason #3 (11-1)

by Admin on 11/01/22

Vol 2. Edition 3 (11-1–22)

The calendar has turned to November and in just a few short weeks the season will crown four champions. The month starts with one of the busiest nights of them all - Tuesday of District week is always full on the schedule, which means 70 games spread across all four classes and all parts of the state. This is also a taxing night on referees with already thin crews spread thinner throughout. Be mindful of that when it comes to your support tonight from the bleachers - the games don’t go on without them!

A beautiful Halloween night saw the Class 1 tournament officially kick off with all five #4 seeds (Fatima, Canton, Knob Noster, Cameron and Cole Camp) winning handily. Those five advance to take on #1 seeds - all on short rest as all play again tonight - with Fatima likely having the best shot at taking out a #1 in a difficult D4 that the Comets host. Father Tolton (2nd overall in C1) and Fatima locked up in an OT match last year in this very game that Tolton escaped. The other semi has last year’s D4 winner Borgia (5) vs. a very capable, if not unpredictable, MMA (18) team. Borgia enters as one of the hotter C1 teams, so a competitive evening will be on tap in Westphalia tonight. Actually, all eight districts in C1 have action tonight with D1, D2 and D6 opening play with the 4/5 game and 3/6 games in the bigger districts. All the others will be semifinals so in just two short days C1 will be whittled down quickly. The closest semi pairing tonight is D7 with Lone Jack (20) and Green Ridge (21) only separated by .02 in the MPR. The D3 semis should also be tight battles with 1 seed Duchesne (22) and 4 seed Canton (25) only separated by .30, while 2 seed Winfield (12) and 3 seed STEAM (14) are only .08 apart. This district is one of the ones where the seeds went against MPR, so we will see how Duchesne’s strength of schedule plays out.

Class 2 -Arguably the best game of the night was the C2 D4 semi between top seed Fulton (21) and 4 seed Helias (31). We thought this might be a good one and it didn’t disappoint. Helias jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first half before Fulton stormed back to tie early in the second. The two teams raced back and forth for the next 40+ minutes before a Helias goal with just minutes left in the first OT secured the upset and sent the Crusaders into the finals against Southern Boone (24) tomorrow night. SBC got an early goal and cruised to a 4-0 win over host Mexico. In D8 3 seed St. Pius (KC) (32) knocked out 2 seed Bishop LeBlond (15) 1-0, setting up a championship against heavily-favored Excelsior Springs (7) who cruised by 4 seed Chillicothe 5-1. In D5 top seeds Logan Rogersville and Osage had no problems in their semis, setting up the expected title bout there. Boonville snuck past St. Paul Lutheran 1-0 in an OT thriller to advance, while 3 seed Sacred Heart also moved on. Both teams have a quick turnaround with semis tonight. Marshall (2) awaits Boonville, while Sacred Heart is actually favored in MPR over 2 seed Odessa. The small-school Gremlins depth will be on display tonight.

Razor thin margins separate tonights C2 D1 action in Perryville, which should make for a great night in arguably the most competitive C2 district statewide. 1 seed Affton (6) takes on 5 seed Bayless (8) and only a slight edge in MPR (.07) to Affton. The other semi has 2 seed Saxony Lutheran (13) and 3 seed Perryville (10), with the teams virtually dead even in MPR (.01 edge to Perryville). Saxony got the 2 seed by virtue of a 1-0 win in penalties earlier. Don’t be surprised if OT is played at some point in Perryville tonight. In other action, C2D2 semis are tonight in sort of an unknown district. Collegiate School (11) and Principia (19) are the top seeds. D7 also opens play with only top seed Harrisonville (18) off this evening due to a bye. Barstow (9), Oak Grove (12) and Center (14) all have higher MPR scores than Harrisonville and should advance to determine if that seeding was correct.

Class 3 took Monday off, but is back in full force this evening with all 8 districts seeing semifinal play. After tonight, we will be down to the final 16 in C3, so a lot on the line this evening. In D1, the two Cape teams eye a rematch with Notre Dame (12) the top seed over Central (9) due to a regular season win, but will have to get by DeSoto (44) and Farmington (14), respectively. D2 has the two of the state’s top teams in the class in opposing semis tonight. Webster Groves (1) (+1.45) and Rockwood Summit (3) (+.90) are heavy favorites over Lutheran South and Parkway West. The D3 semis are intriguing, as well. The last two Class 2 champions (Whitfield (2) and MICDS (34)) square off in one, while familiar foes Ladue (6) and Clayton (11) are in the other. Ladue has topped all three of those teams in the regular season, but one was Pk’s (Clayton) and Whitfield was only 2-1 in the regular season finale. Signs point to a Whitfield/Ladue final but Clayton is only .25 behind in MPR and that penalties loss is still fresh. D4 has two Zumwalt schools (East - 1 seed and South - 2-time defending champ) hoping for a rematch in the final, but Holt and Hannibal look to break through. East is a .49 MPR leader over Holt, while Hannibal is actually ahead of South by .26. The Pirates don’t get to play much in that area and are looking for a signature win over one of the state’s best programs as of late. D5 poses long-time rivals Glendale (4) and Springfield Catholic (15) as the favorites in those semis. Rolla (22) could give Catholic (+.26) some issues as the Irish struggled down the stretch. Camdenton is the Glendale challenger tonight and heavy underdogs (-1.09). D6 has, by the numbers, the weakest group, but that also makes it a highly-competitive district. Top seed Webb City (38) plays Grandview (45), while Belton (29) and Willard (33) are nearly even in the other semi. In D7 play, Raytown South’s big upset of 2 seed Grain Valley leads them to a match with favored Jeff City (+.52). Top seeded St. Michael’s (10) plays last year’s semifinalist Van Horn (18) in the other in what looks to be the closer semi. D8 has heavy favorites KC East (7) and Platte Co. (5) against upstarts Kearney (27) and Pembroke Hill (24), respectively. Both of those teams earned upset wins in a wild Saturday at Pembroke Hill.

C4 D5 had a busy night in Nixa, where all four top seeds advanced. Waynesville was the 4 seed and slightly behind (.11) 5 seed Neosho, but the Tigers live on after a 3-1 win. This district takes the night off, but all the others see action this evening.

D1: Top seed Lindbergh (16) vs. 4 seed Oakville (23) and 3 seed Vianney (6) vs. 7 seed Jackson (44) in the other. No doubt the Griffins aren’t looking past Jackson - or at least they shouldn’t based on Jackson’s postseason magic over the past few years. Jackson squads are known for grinding and keeping it close until a break happens, but Vianney is a huge (+.98) favorite. Lindbergh also holds a slight edge (+.11).
D2: The state’s top team resides here. DeSmet is a big favorite to reach the finals over Eureka (28) and meet up with fellow MCC member CBC (7), who faces 6 seed Kirkwood (39), a big winner from Saturday.
D3: Almost the same setup here as MCC’s SLUH (3) and Chaminade (2) are heavy favorites to advance over Francis Howell North(31) and last year’s surprise John Burroughs (20). There’s always the danger in looking ahead and just about everyone has players who can make a difference in C4, but expect a SLUH-Chaminade rematch later this week.
D4: A couple of upsets Saturday have opened the door for potentially smoother paths for Liberty (Wentzville)(11) and traditional power St. Dominic (18) to meet again, but Ft. Zumwalt North and Timberland are fresh off big wins and no team has been consistently dominant in the area this year.
D6: Rockhurst (4) is a big favorite (+.74) to make another district final in tonight’s semi against Ray-Pec (26). Local rivals Lee’s Summit (10) and Lee’s Summit West (22) pair off in the other with LS having a slight advantage that won’t take into account two teams with players who know each other well.
D7: When you combine a Columbia heavy district and a Blues Spring heavy district, one could expect tonight’s semis to have been the forecast. Rock Bridge (24) is the 1 seed despite having to forfeit 12 games right before the tourney started. The Bruins were a top team all year and didn’t miss a beat in Saturday’s 8-0 drubbing of Truman. RB plays Blue Springs South in a semi, with South (37) also rolling to an opening 8-0 win over Battle. RB is only favored by .32, but that is with the forfeits included, so this one may not be as close as it seems. In the other semi, 2 seed Hickman (19) has a slight edge (+.31) over host Blue Springs (35). This game could be one to watch tonight. Hickman would love nothing but another chance at RB after getting knocked off in last year’s semis as the top seed, while Blue Springs eyes a second surprise trip to the final four after topping RB 3-0 in the finals.
D8: Status quo so far in D8, but tonight could change that. Top seeded Liberty North (9) has Staley (40), while the two Park Hill schools meet up in the other one. Park Hill (21) has the 2 seed, but Park Hill South (12) the MPR advantage (+.23). Another local game played on a neutral field (Oak Park) that should provide some tense moments.

'22 Boys Postseason #2 (10-31)

by Admin on 10/31/22

Vol 2. Edition 2 (10-31-22).

Happy Halloween everyone!

The opening weekend of the state playoffs is in the books - a full day of 77 games played throughout the state - all in Classes 2, 3 and 4 Saturday. Another round of 30 matches are on tap for tonight (Class 3 is off tonight), while Tuesday’s slate is loaded with 70 games - mostly semifinals. Hopefully the wet weather of Sunday is gone and this week’s warm forecast will make for some great competition and worthy championship experiences.

The soccer postseason always provides a wild ride of emotions, classic games and a chance for all 224 teams to reach St. Louis for the final weekend Nov. 18-19. We will do our best to stay on top of all the action over the next few weeks, so here we go…

Note: Most of what we will be looking at going forward, especially in match analysis, will be based on our Missouri Power Rankings (MPR) and district seedings. Most of the time, these numbers line up fairly well. Sometimes they don’t and that allows for a lot of the tension and upsets that go into a great night on the pitch. Our MPR is relatively new (this is year four) and we are still tweaking it to make it as authentic as we can. That being said, the MPR has been fairly accurate over those years in determining advancement. Our final regular season MPR is likely our most accurate because this is the one that has almost all of the season’s results added for the first time. (Coaches must update prior to the postseason.) However, this is a snapshot of the whole season and most teams have changed (some drastically) throughout the season based on injuries, growth, etc. Also, one of the beauties of the playoffs is the constant study of who can get hot at the right time. Matchups also come into play - some teams just match up better against others even though those same teams could easily drop a decision to a lower-ranked squad on any given night, which is what drives the tension. The numbers we provide are designed to help promote the weeks ahead and all the pageantry that goes with it. For example, teams within .50 of each other have traditionally been the most prime for an upset with the average upset being at a .30 difference. Anything over .50 can truly be considered a “shocker” of the tournament. A team's MPR is in parentheses throughout.

Saturday’s numbers…
MPR 61-77 correct (79%)
District seeding 63-77 correct (82%)
District Upsets by seeding were mostly at the 4/5 game (8) and 3/6 games (4), while only two were at the 2/7 games (more on those in a bit). A fun point to look at…all of the 4/5 games that the 5 seed won were by one goal and 12 of the 16 district upsets were by one goal. Class 4 District 2 #6 Kirkwood’s 4-0 win over #3 Lafayette was the biggest outlier.

As for MPR, the two shockers both involved the 13th ranked teams in Class 3-4. C3 D7 Raytown South (47 MPR) knocked out 2 seed Grain Valley (13) 1-0, while C4 D1 7 seed Jackson (44 MPR) was up to its annual 1-0 postseason magic when it ousted 2 seed Northwest. Jackson has made a living of being a tough out the past few years - no matter the record or the MPR, which just goes to show how important matchups become.

Class 1 - As mentioned, Class 1 gets started in full tonight with five first-round matchups between 4-5 seeds. Class 1 only has 42 schools participating so most of the action there will be get going in full Tuesday.

Class 2 - Four districts are in action tonight with semis in Districts 4, 5 and 8. In D4 two schools who surprised Saturday in wins go in as underdogs tonight, although 4 seed Helias has a real solid shot at knocking off 1 seed Fulton. Helias (31) rolled over Kirksville 6-1 Saturday and is on a bit of a roll lately while Fulton (21) has scuffled a bit over the final few weeks. In the other semi, #6 Mexico (39) toppled Wright City (33) for the second time in two weeks to reach the semis, but comes in as a decided underdog to 2 seed Southern Boone (24).  Fulton and Helias meet for the first time this year while SBC already thumped Mexico 5-0 earlier. In D5 1 seed Logan Rogersville (3) and 2 seed Osage (5) are heavy favorites to advance to this week’s finals against Cassville (25) and Monett (22), respectively. Monett’s strong tradition could be a factor and Cassville’s first winning season since 2019 may help, but both teams have big hills to climb. D6 has two quarterfinals tonight. In D8 1 seed Excelsior Springs (7) shouldn’t have much problem with Chillicothe (36), but the other semi between Bishop LeBlond (15) and St. Pius (KC) (32) could be interesting. LeBlond beat Pius 3-0 earlier, but Pius always seems to find a way to be in these games over the years.

Class 3 - No games tonight in C3, but Saturday made for a highly competitive start to the week with 31 games. D7 Raytown South’s win over Grain Valley was the biggest shocker but most seeds held true. Even 6 seed Pembroke Hill’s 3-2 win over #3 Lincoln Prep in D8 didn’t seem far-fetched in a district loaded from 1-7 that will provide fireworks this week. Only top seed KC East had an easy day. The semis this week should be quite competitive at Pembroke Hill’s new complex. Kearney’s (27) 3-2 overtime win over Smithville (20) being the epitome of the closeness of the teams in that district. The two teams ended the regular season with a 2-1 Kearney penalties win and the follow up a week later just showed how close those two teams are. Elsewhere, most of the top seeds cruised. Tuesday’s slate of semifinals will be a big day for those who have survived so far.

Class 4 - Three top top 20 teams had their seasons end Saturday as Northwest (13), Carthage (15) and Marquette (17) all bowed out. Jackson’s win was the biggest by MPR difference (.99), while Ray-Pec’s (28) 3-2 victory over Carthage and Eureka’s (26) 1-0 win over Marquette were actually in games between teams only .15 apart in the final MPR. By seed, 7 seed Timberland’s (47) 3-1 win over 2 seed Howell (38) was Saturday’s other Class 4 bracket breaker, but MPR would say that game had the potential for being a surprise as only .33 separated the two. Tonight’s action is only in D5 where that tourney kicks off as Kickapoo (5) and Ozark (8) as prohibitive favorites. The best game of the night should be the 4/5 between #4 Waynesville (32) and #5 Neosho (27) who are separated only by .11 in the MPR.

A recap of tonight’s action on tap for tomorrow…plus a look at how the new Championship Factor has affected all sports so far in MO later this week.

Boys 2022 #1 - Districts begin

by Admin on 10/29/22

Thoughts from the Touchline Vol. 2, Edition 1 Saturday marks the official opening of the 2022 boys districts and if weather holds, will also be the busiest day for the rest of the year with 77 scheduled games - all in Classes 2, 3 and 4. Class 1, with fewer teams, doesn't have to play as many quarterfinal matches, so many of them will kick off Monday (30 total games) and Tuesday (70 games - many of them semi finals). Wednesday has a light load of 10 games before a big Thursday night of 27 matches - mostly all finals. The remaining six finals will be spread out over Friday (2) and Saturday (4). Quarterfinals in all classes will then take place Saturday, Nov. 12 and the Final Four the following weekend.

Preview Class 1 - Laquey reclaims the #1 spot after a short-handed Father Tolton team dropped its final match on the road to defending state champs (and now class 2) Lutheran St. Charles. Laquey has been #1 most of the year with only two 1-0 losses (Class 2 #3 Logan-Rogersville and Class 1 #9 Smithton) on its record. Laquey and Smithton could meet up again in a quarterfinal if both advance. Tolton has a tough road ahead in what is one of the more competitive districts. Fast-charging #5 Borgia, fresh off a big 4-1 win over Class 4 #12 Northwest this week, looks to claim back-to-back titles in that group. Borgia and Tolton went to penalties earlier in the year, with Tolton coming out on top. MMA is also a solid squad in that district, while host Fatima has had plenty of historical success. District 1 has DuBourg and St. Mary's as favorites, while #7 Metro and #11 Brentwood look to be the teams to beat in district 2. More on Class 1 next week.

Class 2 - The top 10 teams in class 2 all have a good shot at reaching the final four, but #1 Westminster Christian stands out as the team to beat and will likely see #4 Orchard Farm in the D3 championship. #2 Marshall spent time at #1 throughout the year but fell to Tolton and Hannibal in the past ten days. Still, the Owls have had a dominant season within district 6. #3 Logan-Rogersville and #5 Osage seem to be on a crash course to the D5 final, although Monett and Greenwood could pose an upset or two. Two of the most entertaining districts should be D1 where #6 Affton is the 1 seed, but plenty of capable teams there (#8 Bayless, #10 Perryville, #12 Saxony Lutheran) are going to make that a highly competitive week. The same can be said in D4 where there are no real dominant teams, but a lot of parity. #1 seed Fulton has lost 8 of its last 11, including a tight one to #2 seed Southern Boone. Five teams in that district are from 21-33 in the latest MPR. In D7 Harrisonville looks to repeat in a competitive district with #9 Barstow the higher MPR team, but lower seed, while #7 Excelsior Springs is the favorite in D8. D2 should also be anyone's district to win. #13 Med-Bio is the #1 seed.

Class 3 - The top 4 teams in Class 3 shouldn't be much of a surprise. #1 Webster Groves and #2 Rockwood Summit have combined for four of the past eight class 3 titles. The two are on a collision course to the D2 finals so only one will advance (if at all). Get ready for the "state championship being played in the district finals - this isn't right!" calls on social media, but the reality is when all eight of the past class 3 champs have come from an approximately 35 mile triangle in the STL area, this is what happens. #3 Whitfield is trying to make history in its first year in the class. The Warriors won the class 2 title in 2021 and finished second in Class 1 in 2020. Three years, three different finals would be a first, we believe, but last year's state runner-up #6 Ladue is looking forward to ending that as the 2 seed. #4 Glendale is always in the mix and will have to get by local rival #15 Springfield Catholic. #12 Cape ND got the 1 seed in D1 over #9 Cape Central via an in-season win, so expect a fun local battle down there which also includes a tough #14 Farmington squad. Two-time defending Class 3 champ Ft. Zumwalt South is in an odd position for them - not #1 after a few years of heavy graduation losses. Local rival #8 Ft. Zumwalt East is the 1 seed but South hosts and playoff experience could come into play. Meanwhile, 3 seed Hannibal is actually ranked higher in MPR than South (16 to 22) and hopes to finally break through in that district. Districts 6-8 will likely be full of surprises, with only D8 #1 seed KC East (#7) and 2 seed Platte Co. (#5) in the top 10. Otherwise, there are 22 teams ranked 13-60 in those three districts. Expect some upsets as several of these schools are mixed in from other regions and are likely unfamiliar with each other. Should make for a fun week!

Class 4 - News hit today that #1 Rock Bridge had to forfeit 12 games this year for the use of an ineligible player. While that knocks the Bruins out of #1 in the MPR, it will also be interesting to see how RB responds in a district that involves travel (to Blue Springs) and a few local rivals (2 seed Hickman and 5 seed Battle). As always, district play in Class 4 will be competitive and high-class. D1 1 seed (#17) Lindbergh, #12 Northwest and #9 Vianney should vie for that title. DeSmet is the new #1, but has to play rival #8 CBC if both reach the D2 finals. Throw out numbers when members of the Metro Catholic Conference hook up. Over in D3 #4 SLUH and #3 Chaminade look to avoid 3 seed (#21) John Burroughs' magic from last year when the Bombers knocked them both off en route to a surprise final four. Expect another MCC district final there. Liberty (Wentzville) is the 1 seed in a very even D4 that also features 2 seed Francis Howell and #20 3 seed St. Dominic. In D5 #6 Kickapoo and #7 Ozark look to be the class there with #15 Nixa lurking. In D6 the road to a district title almost always goes through #5 and defending state champ Rockhurst, although #11 Lee's Summit may have something to say about that. #10 Liberty North leads the pack of contenders in D8.

Girla Final(!) Four Blog and Previews

by Admin on 06/02/22

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):

Class 1
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.

Class 2
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.

Class 3
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.

Class 4
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 Post Season #2 - Quarterfinal Saturday (and Friday)

by Admin on 05/27/22

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.).

Class 1
(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.

Class 2
(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.

Class 3
(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.

Class 4
(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.