Boys soccer tournament preview: Race to state titles up for grabsSoccer  |
After two months of battles, the Michigan High School Athletic Association will launch its 34th annual boys soccer state tournament this week.
Pre-district games are set for Oct. 19-20 around the state, while district semifinals will take place Oct. 21-22 and district finals will be played on either Oct. 23-34.
One thing is for certain this year. Many of the state-ranked programs will not advance to the regional rounds in each of the state’s four divisions. There are numerous districts with multiple state-ranked teams, including one district that boasts four top-20 programs.
Below is a breakdown of the district round of the postseason. There are 16 districts in each of the four divisions.
In the coaches association weekly top 20, over 35 schools have been ranked this season. Translation: The tournament is wide open with some brutally-difficult districts in the first week.
District No. 15 offers last year’s runner-up, Rochester Adams, which has to get past rival Rochester for a third time this season in the opener. Rochester Hills Stoney Creek awaits on the other half of the bracket and is a team that is heavy with talented underclassmen.
District No. 7 at North Farmington is loaded. No. 2-ranked Northville and No. 3 Detroit Catholic Central, which opens against No. 16 Novi in the pre-district, are all on one side of the bracket with Walled Lake Central on the other half.
No. 13 Clarkston, which shared the OAA Red Division title with Adams, is on the opposite side of KLAA runner-up Grand Blanc, which is a traditionally-strong program that surprisingly has not been ranked despite a 14-3-2 record.
Defending state champion Canton, ranked No. 6, should reach a district final. On the opposite side of the Westland John Glenn district are No. 5 Salem and No. 11 Plymouth, which opens with Livonia Stevenson, another school that logged some weeks in the top 10.
Over on the east side at Troy Athens, Utica Ford (No. 7), Athens (No. 10), Fraser (No. 14) and Clinton Township Chippewa Valley (No. 20) are all lumped in the same district that also contains Sterling Heights Stevenson. This is the only district with four ranked teams.
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