Monday, February 18, 2008

Section 1AA High School Preview

The Bracket.

Last year was a banner year for Section 1AA when upstart Rochester Century shocked everybody with a come-from-behind overtime win over Hill-Murray in the first round of last year's playoffs, and when they followed that performance up two days later with another OT win over Burnsville to take third place. It was a great performance from a team that is from traditionally the weakest section in the state.

Unfortunately, this year is much more of a return to reality for the section that covers the southeast part of the state. Lakeville South earned the top seed, despite finishing the year with a losing record. Owatonna has the best record in the section, though most of those wins came against Class A cupcakes in the southern part of the state. They also got hammered by some good Class A teams.

It's a down year for all three Rochester schools in this section. This year was the first time since 1993 that a team from Rochester failed to win the Big 9 conference, and while that means the Section 1A tournament is very competitive, it is bad news for Section 1AA.

It's not safe to count the Rochester schools out, however. Whoever wins the 4/5 match-up between Rochester Century and Rochester Mayo will provide a very stiff test to Lakeville South. Mayo tied South, while Century lost a one-goal game.

The winner of that semifinal game should be the one that advances to the state tournament. I think goalie Hakan Yumusaklar will carry Lakeville South to the win, though in a very close game.