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Friday, November 11, 2011
Weekend Watch: Five must-see matches

By Sheldon Shealer

Ashley Meier
Ashley Meier and Strongsville made a bid for the program's fourth state title since 1998 when it faces Dublin Jerome on Saturday in the Ohio Division I final.
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 is the final week for the matches to watch for the fall high school season.

This week, three playoff matches pitting POWERADE FAB 50 teams highlight the weekly schedule.

Saturday, Nov. 12

No. 7 Strongsville (Strongsville, Ohio) vs. No. 28 Dublin Jerome (Dublin, Ohio): Strongsville, which started the year No. 1, has a chance to reach the Top 5 if it can win the Ohio Division I state title. This is Strongsville’s seventh state final appearance since 1998. The team is 3-3 in its six previous title matches. Jerome, which broke into the POWERADE FAB 50 for the first time this season, beat Dublin Coffman on the way to the state final, and Coffman is the only Ohio team to beat Strongsville this season.

No. 10 Maria Carrillo (Santa Rosa, Calif.) vs. Montgomery (Santa Rosa, Calif.): If this match-up sounds familiar, it should. Maria Carrillo and Montgomery play twice during the regular season and this marks the fourth time since 2001 that the league rivals have worked their way back to play each other for the CIF-North Coast 3A final. Maria Carrillo is the heavy favorite after twice beating Montgomery this season. However, Maria Carrillo was also the heavy favorite going into last year’s final, which ended up as an upset loss to Casa Grande (Petaluma, Calif.). Montgomery is making its 10th section final appearance in the last 11 years.

No. 11 Pennridge (Perkasie, Pa.) vs. No. 40 Strath Haven (Wallingford, Pa.): This is a rematch of the District 1-AAA playoff meeting, which Pennridge won, 2-1, last week. However, this meeting has far more riding on the outcome. The winner advances to next week’s state semifinals. The loser will be finished after a strong 2011 season. While Pennridge has earned its place among the nation’s elite with a 22-1 record, the team’s final scores give an indication of just how competitive the landscape is among these top Pennsylvania programs. Pennridge has eight one-goal wins in its last 10 matches.

No. 24 Skyline (Sammamish, Wash.) vs. No. 43 Kentwood (Covington, Wash.): Much like the Pennridge-Strath Haven match, Skyline and Kentwood have the unfortunate draw of meeting in the state quarterfinals. These programs have combined to win the past three Washington large-school state titles (Skyline in 2008 and 2009, Kentwood in 2010).

Sunday, Nov. 13

No. 15 La Salle (Providence, R.I.) vs. Smithfield (Smithfield, R.I.): La Salle is bidding for its fourth straight state title and ninth in the past 11 years when it faces Smithfield on Sunday. The match will mark the end of the storied high school careers of La Salle twins McKenzie and Madison Meehan. They are headed to Boston College next season. McKenzie is the current national leader in goals scored with 78 this season entering the state final. Madison leads the state with 40 assists. La Salle defeated Smithfield, 2-0, in an early season meeting between these conference rivals.