The Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) boys soccer Final Four opens Friday for Small Schools (Class 1 and Class 2) at the World Wide Technology Soccer Park in Fenton. The Champions will be crowned on Saturday. Here’s the schedule:
|Friday||10:00 am||Class 1 Semi: Saxony Lutheran v Bishop LeBlond||2-0 KC|
|Friday||12:00 pm||Class 1 Semi: Sacred Heart v Crocker|
|Friday||2:00 pm||Class 2 Semi: Bayless v Lincoln County|
|Friday||4:00||Class 2 Semi: Priory v Southern Boone|
|Saturday||10:00 am||Class 1 Third Place: Saxony v tbd|
|Saturday||12:00 pm||Class 2 Third Place:|
|Saturday||2:00 pm||Class 1 Final:|
|Saturday||4:00 pm||Class 2 Final:|
HOW THEY GOT HERE – CLASS 1
After opening the season in the Top 5 of the Missouri Coaches poll, the SAXONY LUTHERAN squad fell into the ‘other’ box in the second poll and never returned after that. Until now 🙂 SEMOBall.com looks at Saxony’s First Trip to a State Berth with notes on freshman Paul Adams, described as approaching his two successful penalty kicks with ‘unflinching steeliness’, while GK Brayden Williams made the save on Brentwood’s PK attempt.
BISHOP LEBLOND took the other route, opening in the ‘other’ category before moving up as high as #3 but finishing tied with Maplewood-Richmond Heights at 5 in the final poll. They knocked off the #1 ranked team KC Lutheran in the Quarterfinal last week to reach the Final 4. Lutheran KC beat #2 ranked St. Paul Lutheran in their District Final.
SACRED HEART opened #1 in the polls this season and are the only team returning to the Final 4 this season. In fact it’s their fourth straight year in the Final 4, the only team besides St. Paul Lutheran (two visits) to be there every year since the move to four classes. They dropped to fifth when they opened 4-5 but stayed in the Top 5 all season. They needed two OT periods to get past Valley Park and, like their large school counter parts Smith-Cotton, will work to bring a title back to Sedalia.
CROCKER is a team I’ve seen consistently compete in the Southwest/Central Missouri region. Coaches have known that as well and kept them in the Top 5 all since the second poll when they were 4-0. They’ve since gone 17-1 on the season, losing only to Fair Grove in September. A win over Greenwood, avenging last year’s loss when the Blue Jays returned for the first time since 2005. The Lions return for the first time since 2007, prior to the beginning (and rise) of the Springfield Catholic program.
I caught BAYLESS against Soldan in the Sectional this year, a game the Bronchos won 2-0 as they scored early on a corner kick and then sealed the win with a 50 yard run by Jr forward Avdo Sahbaz who served up a square ball after pulling the GK out of the net. The team has a quality midfield in #2 Terry Phan, who scored the first goal, and #10 Benjamin Mustic. Sahbaz is joined up top by Belmin Pajalic and the pair could be the fastest forwards in the tournament this weekend, which will help stretch the defenses. Sophomore Mervin Morales is a captain and a defender who with fellow sophomore, goalkeeper Jasmin Smajic, get 20 wins this season with 14 shutouts.
LINCOLN COLLEGE PREP
The defeated St. Michaels (formerly O’Hara, a finalist last year) to reach the Final 4. It’s their first trip to State. That’s all I’ve got 🙂
Knocked off John Burroughs, the defending champions, in the Sectional.
SOUTHERN BOONE celebrates a 4th State Final Four in the last 6 years (2017, 2015, 2013, 2012). Taking full advantage of one golden opportunity, Southern Boone edged Monett 1-0 in a Class 2 quarterfinal thriller on a crisp Saturday afternoon at Burl Fowler Stadium.