The Missouri State High School Activities Association boys Soccer Final Four opens Friday in Fenton at the World Wide Technology Soccer Park. The Class 3 and Class 4 semifinal games are Friday while the Champions will be determined in games Saturday.
I’ll be on hand for the Semifinals but will once again miss the Finals as I head Southwest to Springfield for the High School Girls State Cup on Saturday and Sunday. Sorry to abandon you but it happens in June as well when I cover the Boys State Cup instead of the Girls High School tourney. Fair is fair.
|12:00 pm||Class 4||Rockhurst vs Rock Bridge|
|2:00 pm||Class 4||Howell North vs CBC|
|4:00 pm||Class 3||Grain Valley vs Carthage|
|6:00 pm||Class 3||Ft Zumwalt South vs Summit|
MSHSAA has once again gerrymandered the schedules to ensure that there is no possibility of an all St. Louis Final but the good news is I suspect the games will be pretty competitive. In Class 4 Rock Bridge has been on a late season role and are in the best possible position now to face Rockhurst who have been top-ranked most of the season. When CBC ascended to the top in the 3rd poll, they went to Kansas City a week later to face the Hawklets and lost 1-2 in KC. Howell North lost narrowly 1-2 to CBC that same week, after opening the scoring at CBC. Rockhurst returns for the 19th time in 23 seasons with nine players, four of whom are seniors, that made it to Fenton last year.
PLAYERS TO WATCH – Sr GK Cameron Meyer, Sr Connor Lonero (#5), Jr Jack Edwards (#4), Jr Nick Dempster (#11), Sr Sam Leach (#10), Sr EJ Verhulst (#9) for CBC; Seniors Connor Crain (#14), Chase Droege (#9) and Jessie George (#5) for Howell North; Jr Johnny Klein (Edward’s club teammate), sr Brandon Rettke, Sr Wilson Fitzgerald for Rock Bridge; Sr Gianni Catenacci, a likely All-American along with Frank Barry for Rockhurst
As for Class 3, Summit is doing things we’ve only seen from Webster Groves the past two years. The State Poll has had #1 Ladue, #2 Summit and #3 Zumwalt South all year. Summit beat Ladue 4-2 October 6th, ending the Ram’s unbeaten string at 22-1. Zumwalt South beat Ladue 2-1 in the Quarterfinals to advance to Friday’s match up. It feels like it could be a title game. Carthage got past all of their Class 4 opponents in the Southwest this season but stummbled here during the Gateway Classic, losing 1-3 to Webster Groves and 1-5 to Louisville Collegiate. They earned a win in PK’s against Columbia (IL) that weekend. Grain Valley returns for the second straight year, a definite advantage and on a positive run the final six weeks of the season, going 14-2 during that period.
PLAYERS TO WATCH – Billy Hency (#21) Colin Hilpert (#8) and GK Peter Baker, Summit; Jr Joey Spotanski (#12 and Hency’s club teammate) and Sr GK Dylan Bushman, Zumwalt South; Alex Thiessen and Noah Espinosa for Grain Valley;
Some stories from around the State:
Ozark Sports Zone – Carthage Advances Past Rolla to the Final 4
KC Star – Rockhurst and Grain Valley Set for Semifinals
Columbia Missourian – Rock Bridge Gets Back to State