Tim Martinez: Seton Catholic soccer coming on strong in 1A

Tim Martinez: High School Sports

By Tim Martinez, Columbian Assistant sports editor

Published:

 

With all that the Seton Catholic boys soccer team has overcome this season, a couple of more hurdles shouldn't be a problem for the Cougars.

The 2012-13 school year is the first for Seton Catholic and King's Way Christian as full-fledged Class 1A schools.

Even though both schools have enrollments that should put them in the smallest classification in the state, both schools opted up to Class 1A so they could compete in the 1A Trico League, even though both schools knew that decision could lead to their teams taking some lumps.

And they have.

But that makes the season the Seton boys soccer team had this spring that much more special.

The Cougars went 13-1 in the Trico, competing against schools with twice the enrollment. Seton tied White Salmon for the Trico League championship, but a league tiebreaker would give White Salmon the top seed to the district playoffs.

We introduced you to the Cougars earlier this spring. Actually, we introduced you to one Cougar, a one-man scoring machine named Erik Powell.

But Seton Catholic is not a one-man team. Few soccer teams are.

Powell is still scoring goals at high rate, but other players like Brennan McDaid-O'Neill, John and Josh Polen and Brian Wang, among others, have also contributed to the scoring. Dylan Cole began the season as an inexperienced goalkeeper and finished the regular season with seven shutouts, including a 3-0 win over Hoquiam in the district playoffs on Thursday.

The district playoff format didn't allow Seton to play its way into a home game in the first round at state, and that's a tough break for the Cougars.

Tougher still is the completely illogical first-round pairing at state, courtesy of the WIAA.

Seton Catholic, the No. 3 team from District 4, will travel to play Lynden Christian, the No. 2 team from District 1/2/3. Hoquiam, the No. 4 team from District 4 — which LOST to Seton last Thursday — will travel to play University Prep, the No. 3 team from District 1/2/3. University Prep LOST to Lynden Christian during the District 1/2/3 playoffs.

So, Hoquiam lost to Seton and will play a weaker opponent than the team that beat it.

Now, what sense does that make?

Well, it doesn't make any sense, unless you know how the WIAA assembles its state brackets.

For the most part, the WIAA doesn't care if you are the No. 1 or 2 seed from your district, or the No. 5 or 6 seed. The only thing the WIAA cares about is if you are a higher seed or a lower seed from your district.

If a district sends four teams to state, two are designated as higher seeds and two are lower seeds. There is no advantage being a No. 1 or a No. 2 or being a No. 3 or No. 4. This, of course, begs the question: Why do districts have seeding games if they don't mean anything? Well, that's a column for another day.

Anyway, after higher seeds and lower seeds have been determined, the WIAA matches up lower seeds vs. higher seeds in the first round in a mostly random fashion.

I say "mostly" because geography does come into play as the WIAA, in the early rounds, will try to keep as many teams from the eastern side of the state on the eastern side, and vice versa.

That's how these matchups came to be. But it's not the first time we've had nonsensical matchups in the first round, which makes you wonder why doesn't the WIAA try to fix this flaw when the solution seems so easy ... and obvious — in this case, No. 3 team from District 4 plays No. 3 team from District 1/2/3, and No. 4 team from District 4 plays No. 2 team from District 1/2/3.

See how easy that was? Lower seeds are still playing higher seeds, but now it just makes sense.

• • •

Seton Catholic is one of six Clark County soccer teams participating in the state tournament. The first-round games must be played by Wednesday, but can be moved to Tuesday if both schools agree.

That's why Camas will host Skyline in the 4A state tournament on Tuesday. We don't know if others will follow suit, as the rest of the game times will be announced today. The other first-round matchups are Union at Davis of Yakima (4A), Mountain View at Hazen of Burien (3A), Kingston at Ridgefield (2A) and Sedro-Woolley at Hockinson (2A).

If Union, Mountain View, Ridgefield or Seton win in the first round, they'll play quarterfinal games Saturday in Clark County.

• • •

Baseball is the other sport opening state this week with its regionals on Saturday. A team must win twice on Saturday to advance to the state semifinals to be held May 24-25.

Skyview and Heritage both advanced to the Tacoma Regional of the 4A tournament. Skyview will face Gonzaga Prep of Spokane at 10 a.m. at Heidelberg Park, and Heritage will follow against top-ranked Puyallup at 1 p.m. Winners of those games meet in a 4 p.m. game.

Columbia River will hit the road to the Pasco Regional in 3A. The Chieftains will face Southridge of Kennewick at 10 a.m.

Woodland, fresh off its 1A district title, will have the shortest trip when it faces Vashon Island at 1 p.m. at the Castle Rock Regional.

Tim Martinez is the assistant sports editor/prep coordinator for The Columbian. He can be reached at 360-735-4538 or tim.martinez@columbian.com