Friday, February 10, 2012
Weekend Watch: Five must-see matches
By Sheldon Shealer
Boca Raton, with Hunter Bandy (left), advanced to the Florida state finals in 2012.
Each week during the high school season, ESPNHS highlights five weekend matches that have a compelling storyline or could have significant state, region and/or national implications.
This week, a Top 10 showdown in Florida and the state finals in Arizona highlight the schedule.
Friday, Feb. 10
No. 1 Cypress Bay (Weston, Fla.) vs. No. 9 Boca Raton (Fla.): This long-awaited rematch now carries significant national ranking implications. The teams played early in the season and tied. Now, they meet again – this time in the Class 5A state semifinals. Boca Raton is coming off a 4-0 win over Monarch (Coconut Creek, Fla.). Cypress Bay handled Ferguson (Miami, Fla.) 4-1. Cypress Bay, however, will not be at full strength since keeper Zach Biggs, who has verbally committed to Central Florida, received a controversial red card during a collision with a Ferguson player while going for a ball in the closing minutes of the team’s win. In Florida, red cards are an automatic two-match suspension, unless successfully appealed, meaning Biggs’ season is over regardless of Friday’s outcome.
No. 2 Coppell (Texas) vs. Southlake Carroll (Southlake, Texas): Coppell is primed to move to No. 1 if Cypress Bay falls; however, getting past Friday’s district clash against Carroll will not be an easy task. Although Coppell is undefeated, Carroll is the defending state champion and shows signs of being dangerous despite a 6-4-3 record. Coppell has not been held to fewer than three goals in a match since a 2-1 win over Plano in the Duncanville Tournament final on Jan. 14.
Saturday, Feb. 11
No. 16 Brophy Prep (Phoenix, Ariz.) vs. No. 20 Hamilton (Chandler, Ariz.): Brophy has relied on the overtime heroics of Virginia commit Riggs Lennon to escape multiple postseason jams this year. In fact, Riggs delivered his 50th goal of the season in the closing minute of overtime to lift Brophy to a 3-2 win over Tolleson in the state semifinals. Hamilton has relied on Daniel Arrubla’s offense, and he scored four goals in the team’s 5-0 semifinal win. This state final is a rematch of an Arizona Soccer Showcase clash between the two, which Brophy won 2-1.
Kapolei (Hawaii) vs. Mililani (Hawaii): These league rivals will meet for the OIA title Saturday, and the winner will receive a top bid in next week’s state tournament. Both teams enter the match at 10-0-1. Tyler Matas scored the winner as Kapolei upended top-seeded Kalani (Honolulu, Hawaii) 2-1 in overtime. Kalani was 11-0 entering the match.
Notre Dame Prep (Scottsdale, Ariz.) vs. Salpointe Catholic (Tucson, Ariz.): Salpointe was a perennial large-school state soccer power. Notre Dame Prep has emerged as a small-school force in the past two years. Now, they meet in the middle – for the Division II state title.