Each week during the high school season, ESPNHS highlights five Friday or Saturday matches that have a compelling storyline or could have significant state, region and/or national implications.
This week, the first state champion of 2011 will be crowned and a matchup in California could have national title implications.
Friday, Oct. 7
No. 16 Rockhurst (Kansas City, Mo.) vs. SLUH (St. Louis, Mo.): For a while, this was looking like a No. 1 vs. No. 2 meeting in Missouri. Well, Rockhurst has held up its end -- entering the match at No. 1 in the state. SLUH, meanwhile, remains a series title threat but has been unlucky in the results department this season. Rockhurst and SLUH recently were in the Gateway Soccer Classic Bracket A, where Rockhurst finished second and SLUH ended up seventh. Interestingly, had it not been for a last-second goal in the opening match, SLUH would have beaten eventual champ Cherry Creek (Englewood, Colo.).
Saturday, Oct. 8
No. 2 Marquette (Milwaukee, Wis.) at No. 19 Jesuit (Carmicheal, Calif.): This might be Jesuit's last chance to validate a Top 25 spot this season. Marquette enters the contest with a perfect record. Jesuit is 2-1-2 since losing a pair of starters due to club soccer conflicts. If Marquette wins in regulation, it will validate the team's current No. 2 ranking. However, a tie or loss will remove this Wisconsin power from the No. 1 chase. Jesuit, meanwhile, needs a positive result to stay in the Top 25.
No. 10 Martin Luther King (Manhattan, N.Y.) vs. St. John the Baptist (West Islip, N.Y.): Since one of MLK's non-league matches was postponed, this meeting between the PSAL power from Manhattan and a perennial Catholic League top four finisher carries more weight in sizing up MLK's place among the national elite programs. It has not been a good year so far for the Catholic League, which saw St. Anthony's (South Huntington, N.Y.) finish in last place at the Gateway Soccer Classic Bracket A competition and other perennial league challengers losing to local public schools.
No. 15 Carmel (Carmel, Ind.) vs. Westfield (Indianapolis, Ind.): This is a battle between the current No. 1 in Indiana (Carmel) and a recent state power (Westfield). This will be the last match of the year for one of these programs since Saturday's contest is a section final.
South Dakota State Tournament: The first soccer state titles of 2011 will be determined in Mitchell, S.D., this weekend. The three-day event started Thursday with the quarterfinal round. The semifinals are slated for Friday and the title matches in Class AA and A on Saturday. ESPNHS South Dakota No. 1 R.C. Central was upset in the quarterfinals on a last-second goal. SF Lincoln, which held the No. 1 seed in the tournament, advanced to the semifinals and is considered the favorite in Class AA.