The Class A high school soccer scene is pretty much set, with fairly wide seed points gaps between qualifying teams and those who probably won’t make it into the playoff
You can get more information on our Standings Page, sponsored by Horner Barrow Orthodontics! Thursday is the start of the weekend play schedule. And there’s a good chance we’ll
Wondering how the playoffs are going to work? Well, we got to spend some time with the one person in South Dakota to ask about it. Thanks to John Krogrstrand,
AA teams jostling to see who will punch their ticket to postseason playoff berths With less than two weeks remaining in the regular season, the week of September 15th is also
A look at South Dakota Boys and Girls A Division High School Soccer Teams. The week of September 15th is a week of destiny for many soccer teams trying to
The Class A high school soccer scene is pretty much set, with fairly wide seed points gaps between qualifying teams and those who probably won’t make it into the playoff rounds. The playoff scenario is that six teams will make it into the playoffs, with the top two seeds receiving byes in the quarterfinal round. You can find more about the standings on our Team Standings page, sponsored by Horner Barrow Orthodontics.
At this point, what you are reading is merely speculation. These scenarios will be played out in the coming ten days.
Sioux Falls Christian and Groton Area will be enjoying byes in the playoffs. If playoffs started today, St. Thomas More would travel to James Valley Christian and Hot Springs would travel to Tea Area for the right to face the two top sides in the semifinals. However, Tea Area ends the season with what appears to be a tougher schedule, so the roles could be changed.
The picture looks like another clash between Sioux Falls Christian and Groton Area, neither of whom could score at Groton last weekend. James Valley Christian may have something to say about it, though and under the current scenario they would travel to Groton for their semifinal match October 4th. James Valley Christian lost at home 0-1 against Groton Area earlier in the season and is scheduled for a rematch at Groton on September 25th.
We’re still looking for a girls’ team that can beat St. Thomas More. The closest any team could come was Belle Fourche, who tied STM 3-3 on September 2nd, only to lose to them at home on September 13th. Tonight STM play Rapid City Central and that will be a competitive match which is far more important to the Lady Cobblers as they try to qualify for the playoff round in AA.
Belle Fourche has looked tough and resilient. They have the most stringent schedule of any team heading into the playoffs, finishing their season against Sturgis tonight, then at Rapid City Stevens on Saturday. The final two games are against AA Spearfish and Rapid City Central. So the Lady Broncs will make it into the playoffs for sure and probably end up with a bye, but if they don’t they will be prepared by very tough competition closing out their regular season.
Tea Area is in a position to move past Belle Fourche, but that road is a tough one, with them finishing their season with Pierre and Sioux Falls Washington, along with Groton.
Vermillion have the toughest route out of the regular season with matches against AA opponents Yankton and Roosevelt.
Though the picture looks more settled than it is on the AA side, there could still be some movement among the teams in the A brackets. And that’s why they play the games!
You can get more information on our Standings Page, sponsored by Horner Barrow Orthodontics!
Thursday is the start of the weekend play schedule. And there’s a good chance we’ll see most of the brackets settled after Saturday’s matches have been played. We’re expecting some questions to remain through the final week of the regular season.
The top six may be set for playoffs and it looks like four teams are in the fight right now for the final two spots.
#7 Yankton (4-1-3; 41.688 seed points) – The Gazelles have had a stellar year, having lost only to O’Gorman and beating Roosevelt by two goals at home. They aren’t home yet, but could ensure a spot with good games against Aberdeen Central at home and at Pierre for their final game of the season.
#8 Pierre (5-2-1; 41.063 seed points) – The Lady Govs have an important week on the road. They should prevail over Tea Area today, but a visit to Harrisburg on Saturday and their final home game against Yankton next week will reveal their destiny. We’re getting information that GK Kayla Rounds will be fit and ready to go and if so will give the team a psychological boost.
#9 Rapid City Central (3-2-2; 41.000 seed points) – The Lady Cobblers are just on the edge of making the playoffs and will have to be on their best form to have a chance. A game tonight against possibly the best girls team in the state – Class A St. Thomas More – will seal their fate if they can’t win and will increase the importance of their rematch against Rapid City Stevens next Tuesday. The road to Mitchell is a very difficult one indeed for the young Lady Cobblers.
#10 Harrisburg (4-3-2; 40.222 seed points) – The Lady Tigers have had difficulty with injuries in two spots this season. Senior mid Shouri Dirks didn’t get one minute of time due to an ACL tear. Junior Darien Poelstra sat due to an ankle injury that has subsequently healed. Last Saturday against O’Gorman, Poelstra collided heads with an opponent, ending her day. We hear she did not sustain a concussion and will be ready to go at Brookings tonight. If Harrisburg can win against a Lady Bobcats side that is much, much better than their record would suggest and then get a win over Pierre on their home turf, they may have a good shot at leapfrogging into the final eight.
#7 Spearfish (8-1-1; 41.150 seed points) – The Spartans may feel like they can breathe a bit easier now that they’re sitting in the 7th seed position. But there still may be a few restless nights ahead for them. They finish up against two Class A teams and powerhouse Stevens, so several of the teams below them have the opportunity to rack up more seed points. Whether those teams will do it or not still remains to be answered. Spearfish has shown they can score. They have scored sixty-three goals while only allowing seven. But their overall schedule has not been strong. Eight of their ten opponents so far have lost more games than they have won.
#8 Sioux Falls O’Gorman (3-4-2; 40.889 seed points) – The Knights have had varying levels of success this year and are in position to get knocked out if they don’t finish strongly. In an important match Tuesday, the Knights couldn’t take care of business against a very motivated Washington side and lost 0-2. Now they have third-ranked Aberdeen Central rolling into the Mac Friday and then play a Saturday match against a very dangerous Sioux Falls Christian side. Next week the Knights finish up at Brookings, who will want to finish their season up on a high note. In their final three matches, O’Gorman will have to take better care of the ball and be stronger psychologically than they showed against Washington earlier this week.
#9 Harrisburg (3-4-1; 40.813 seed points) – Although O’Gorman beat Harrisburg last Saturday, the Tigers may be in position to bump the Knights out of the final eight. Tonight (Thursday), they have the nationally-publicized match at Brookings between the two sides coached by former SDSU team mates – Erin Kasmarik for Brookings and Kayla Braffet for Harrisburg, who also happen to be the only two women head coaches in the AA Boys division. If Harrisburg can get some wins against AA competition, they could go through. The seed points separating them with O’Gorman are the slimmest of margins. The Tigers have a better record at this point than three of their last four opponents.
#10 Watertown (4-3-2; 40.313 seed points)– The Arrows are hanging out on the edge right now and will have plenty of resistance to them making the playoffs. When two of your last three matches are against the two top teams in the division, it doesn’t do much inspire you to plan for the October part of the season.
#11 Sioux Falls Washington (4-3-1; 40.313 seed points) – The Warriors’ Tuesday game against O’Gorman gave them a fragile new life in the hunt for the final eight. Now they have to show a strong finish against Lincoln, Harrisburg and Sioux Falls Christian. We’ll have a better idea after Saturday’s match against Lincoln. Washington are a good team and when they play well. They are a fast, clever team that can also defend – and it will be interesting to see if Lincoln can crack the defense.
Wondering how the playoffs are going to work? Well, we got to spend some time with the one person in South Dakota to ask about it. Thanks to John Krogrstrand, Assistant Executive Director of the SDHSAA for elaborating on it for you!
With less than two weeks remaining in the regular season, the week of September 15th is also a week of destiny for the 34 teams in the boys and girls AA divisions who are trying to make the grade and test their stuff in the playoffs starting September 30th across South Dakota. Here is our review of the AA this week.
South Dakota AA Girls High School Soccer
It’s looking more and more like only the top three spots are settled in this division. Top-ranked Sioux Falls Roosevelt (7-1-0); Sioux Falls O’Gorman (7-1-0), currently in second; and Rapid City Stevens (5-2-0), who are sitting in third, are all in positions where they will probably go through to postseason play. And that leaves seven likely contenders fighting for the remaining five spots. Here is the scenario as we see it, running through these seven teams in the order they are currently ranked.
Sioux Falls Lincoln (5-2-0) – Our preseason top pick continues to improve and continues to try to find a way to score goals. It is not for lack of effort or organization, but the goals just are not coming against the AA competition at this point – at least in quantities that would satisfy Coach Steve Burckhalter. The Lady Patriots have a good chance of advancing, finishing off against AA Washington, Roosevelt and Watertown. These all have the potential to be spoiler matches for Lincoln. If they can find a way to score a few goals along the way, they should remain in the final eight.
Aberdeen Central (4-1-3) – the Golden Eagles host Watertown on Tuesday and then hit the road for two very important games against O’Gorman on Friday and at Yankton on Saturday. Trying to deal with O’Gorman on their home turf has been impossible for everyone so far this year and you can ask Roosevelt how the friendly confines at Yankton treat visiting teams. There is much danger for Coach Merle Aske’s side this week. We’ve been impressed with upperclassmen Abby Brennan, Sydney Johnson and Allie Zueger, but two youngsters – Hillary Mantone (9th grader) and Deborah Wills (8th grader) are getting behind defenses and scoring game winning goals for the Eagles. With only three seniors on the roster, the present looks pretty good, but the future is bright in Aberdeen.
Yankton (3-1-3) – The Gazelles travel to Brandon Valley on Tuesday for what should be a win for them. Then games at home against Aberdeen Central and at Pierre will give them opportunities to earn enough points to make the Quarterfinals. Service from Yankton’s central player Taylor Ruter to attackers Brianna Benjamin and Kendall Lillie will give any team trouble, as the Gazelles’ attack is relentless.
Pierre T.F. Riggs (4-2-1) – The Lady Govs will have opportunities to propel themselves to the final eight with a road match against Harrisburg this Saturday and then next week at home against Yankton. With several of the highest-scoring players in the state in juniors Katie Nielson and Nikky Farnsworth along with senior Caelie Williams in their attack, Pierre have plenty of scoring power. We’re still waiting to hear about status of GK Kayla Rounds after an injury incurred last Friday at Aberdeen.
Rapid City Central (3-2-2) – We dropped a lot of expectations on the Lady Cobblers in our preseason rankings and they could still have that chance to get in the final eight. Their biggest problem right now is power points. With only one remaining AA match against Rapid City Stevens, who the Lady Cobblers beat 4-1 last week, others in AA will have better chances to accumulate points. They will need some help getting to the Quarterfinals.
Sioux Falls Washington (4-3-0) – The Lady Warriors have three good opportunities to earn power points and enter the playoffs. But it won’t be easy. With a Tuesday match against O’Gorman, a makeup game against Lincoln and visiting a Harrisburg team that needs to win, the road may get bumpy. Washington have played some very good soccer this season and if they can get the form they showed against Brookings a couple weeks ago, they may have a very good chance.
Harrisburg (4-3-2) – The loss of senior midfielder Shouri Dirks to an ACL tear has had a lasting impact on the Lady Tigers. Central player Darien Poelstra missed matches with a turned ankle and took a hard knock while heading a ball on Saturday at O’Gorman. If Poelstra can go and the Lady Tigers have a few good games, they could punch their ticket to the playoffs. They visit Brookings on Thursday and host Pierre on Saturday, which should be a competitive match. Finishing up at Brandon Valley and hosting Washington keep Harrisburg in the hunt.
The remaining seven girls AA teams are Brookings (2-4-2); Watertown (3-4-1); Spearfish (3-5-0); Brandon Valley (4-5-0); Sturgis Brown (2-7-0); Mitchell (0-9-1) and Huron (0-8-0). If things go right for some of these teams in their remaining games, they could upset the apple cart. And who doesn’t like a Cinderella story?
South Dakota AA Boys High School Soccer
The current top five have most likely punched their tickets to the quarterfinals – Sioux Falls Roosevelt (6-0-1); Sioux Falls Lincoln (5-0-1); Aberdeen Central (6-1-1); Yankton (5-1-1); and Rapid City Stevens (7-1-1). They may not end up ranked as they are currently ranked, but they are probably through. There will likely be lots of fights for the remaining three positions, though.
Harrisburg (3-2-1) – They lost to O’Gorman at the Mac last Saturday, but showed that they have a good team. Coach Kayla Braffet moved freshman phenom Tarek Nour to the middle and that seems to help the team’s continuity. Hard running by midfielders Aaron Hanson and Evan Kelly has helped make them a team to contend with. The road out is not an easy one, with Roosevelt hosting them Tuesday night and then Brookings and Pierre visiting on Thursday and Saturday, respectively. Brookings is not in the hunt, but could be a spoiler and Pierre is fighting for its life right now and need a win on the road against the Tigers.
Spearfish (7-1-1) – It seems almost absurd that a team could have a 7-1-1 record and be ranked as lowly as Spearfish are currently ranked. It’s not really their fault – they are just doing what they’re supposed to do, winning games against the teams they put in front of them. However, a mostly-A division schedule has not helped their power point rankings. They beat O’Gorman earlier in the season and their last AA contest was really no contest, winning 4-1 against Rapid City Central. They have a couple more A division opponents and then finish up on the road against Rapid City Stevens. East river teams playing against AA division competition have an opportunity to knock Spearfish out of the top eight.
Sioux Falls O’Gorman (2-2-2) – With several key players injured, one would think that O’Gorman may be breathing its last for the season. They’ll know by Saturday if they have a chance or not. Games against Washington on Tuesday and Aberdeen Central on Friday will be opportunities to pick up some badly-needed power points. The good news for the Knights is that the Zimprich brothers (Senior Colin and Sophomore Preston) are both healthy and keeper Kristian Jakowicz is healthy and could be showing the best form in AA boys right now.
Pierre T. F. Riggs (5-3-0) – This team is built to score goals and that is exactly what they have done. But recent problems with Stevens, Aberdeen Central and Watertown have moved Pierre out of the current top eight. Now they are part of the dog-eat-dog group of six teams trying to claim a spot out of what are probably only three positions left in the quarterfinals. Visiting Harrisburg on Saturday will be a pivotal contest. The Govs finish up with games at home against Yankton and on the road against Huron. The will need to win the rest of their games and hope for a little help.
Watertown (4-3-0) – Somehow through the season, the Arrows have hung on with all their fingernails and toenails to have a chance to make Quarterfinals. Last week’s wins at home against Brookings and on the road at Pierre have given them some hope. But looking at the final run for the season and seeing, Aberdeen Central, SF Roosevelt and SF Lincoln on the schedule can’t make coach Jason Bartels feel overly-optimistic. This young team has a lot of stuff going for it. We’ll see just how much as they host Aberdeen Central on Tuesday. A win there could be instrumental in providing some much needed swagger for the Arrows.
Sioux Falls Washington (3-3-1) – With the end of the season resting on how well they do against Sioux Falls Lincoln, O’Gorman and Harrisburg – and the final day against dangerous A side Sioux Falls Christian, the Warriors will have to use every tool they have to make the Quarters. Incredibly, it is still possible for them to make it, but everything must go right from here on out. And we all know how rare that is in high school soccer.
The week of September 15th is a week of destiny for many soccer teams trying to make the grade and test their stuff in the playoffs starting September 30th across South Dakota. Let’s take a rundown of what’s going on in the A Divisions.
*Note – We are seeking clarification about postseason play for the A Division and will let you know what we learn.
South Dakota A Girls High School Soccer
With only eight teams in the division, there is a clear idea of how things are going to shake down. There are four teams – St. Thomas More, Belle Fourche, Vermillion and Tea who could string three good games together and hoist the cup at the end. However, it looks more and more that it is St. Thomas More (8-0-1) which have it to lose, even though any of the teams we mentioned here could have the right day and get past them. STM’s veteran coach Doug Noyes is keenly aware of that possibility and will have his team as shielded against that as he possibly can. STM bested the powerhouse AA Stevens’ side, and now have just three matches remaining on their schedule – all against the remaining Black Hills AA teams.
While there are some division contests remaining, sixteen of the remaining twenty-three matches pit A division sides against AA sides.
- Belle Fourche (4-1-1) are sitting in second position with their only loss coming at the hands of STM. The Lady Broncs’ remaining four matches are all against Black Hills Area AA teams.
- Tea Area Lady Titans (4-2-1) have five matches remaining, with four against AA teams and their final against Groton Area.
- Vermillion are now 4-1-2, sitting in 4th position, with a rematch against Garretson tonight, and just two more matches with AA teams after tonight.
- Groton Area girls (3-5-0) have only two remaining matches – Garretson and Tea Area. The Tigers started out a little slow, but then had back-to-back wins against Tea Area and West Central, following those up with an 0-1 loss at home to Sioux Falls Christian. It’s a little difficult to get an accurate pulse on this Groton team.
- West Central is a better team than its 1-4-1 record indicates. With two A matches and two AA matches left in their season, the Lady Trojans could improve their 5th place standing before post-season play begins.
- Sioux Falls Christian (1-7-0) and Garretson (1-5-0) have both had some challenges this year, but each have a win under their belt. The Chargers have four games remaining in the regular season; the Blue Dragons have five more matches against 4 A teams and Mitchell (AA).
For any of these A teams who can get away with a win from one of the AA teams, there is a good bounty of power points for rankings. And there are some realistic opportunities for some of the A division teams to do that.
South Dakota A Boys High School Soccer
Three teams have set themselves apart from the pack. Sioux Falls Christian, Groton Area and James Valley Christian will be the teams to watch as the eliminations take place in postseason play. The big question is, which team – SFC or Groton Area – will be tasked with getting by JVC? That is a dangerous game for either side, despite the strength that both teams exhibit. Last weekend’s draw with Sioux Falls Christian at Groton makes this race to the end even more interesting. Many expect to see Sioux Falls Christian and Groton Area in the final, where there will have to be a result. James Valley Christian may have something to say about that, however.
About half of the games left in the 2014 season for this division will match A teams against AA teams.
- Top ranked Sioux Falls Christian (7-0-1) have four matches remaining. Two of those matches are against AA teams, and the other two are against SW Minnesota Christian and Vermillion boys’ club.
- Groton Area (5-2-1) are sitting in second right now, with four matches remaining against all A opponents – including James Valley Christian and Tea Area to wrap up the regular season.
- In the third spot is James Valley Christian (5-2-1), with an identical record to Groton Area but 1.5 seed points behind, as Groton Area prevailed 1-0 when the two met on the pitch last week. The Vikings have four matches remaining on their schedule – including their last match at Groton, and an opportunity to swap rankings with the Tigers.
- The 2013 State Champions, Tea Area (3-3-1) lost a significant number of players to graduation last year. The Titans have had a balanced season so far. With five matches remaining, including their last regular season match at home against Groton, Tea Area will need some matches to go their way against three AA teams to improve their ranking. The Titans other remaining match is against Vermillion club, which will not add to their seed points.
- Hot Springs (2-3-0) is in a difficult position of having only nine total games to gather seed points. The team traveled east the end of August and had marked success against Mitchell Christian/Mount Vernon/Sanborn Central and Freeman Academy but don’t have a lot of A games on their schedule. Of the four remaining matches for the Bison, two are with A teams and two with AA teams – all in the Black Hills.
- St. Thomas More (4-6-0) Cavaliers started their season in the unenviable position of having to face both Sioux Falls Christian and Groton Area opening weekend. The Cavaliers are a young team, with just four seniors and a varsity roster full of 8th graders – which makes for a challenging season, but presents a lot of promise for the future. The Cavs have three AA and one A match (Hot Springs) remaining on their schedule.
- Freeman Academy (2-5-0) have five matches remaining on their season, with three of those matches against other A teams.
- Belle Fourche (0-6-0) Broncs have just three games left – against Hot Springs next week, and then two AA teams to wrap up their regular season.
- Mitchell Christian/Mt. Vernon/Sanborn Central (0-8-0) have had a challenging season but they have scored some goals and have had some close games. We admire the dedication of pulling together players from a variety of schools to field a varsity program and give students the opportunity to play soccer.
We’ll take a look at the boys’ and girls’ AA teams next.