Soccer playoffs kick off this week

All six Bulletin-area high school soccer teams begin their quests for state-tournament berths this week. They all compete in Section 5AA. Here's what awaits each squad.

Mounds View boys

Mounds View's boys team ended up with the No. 2 seed and is guaranteed home games in the first two rounds. The Mustangs host seventh-seeded Champlin Park Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Mounds View at one point this season won 10 games in a row before suffering through a three-game losing streak late. The Mustangs closed out the regular season with a 1-0 victory over Park Center on Saturday.

Champlin Park has just three victories to its credit this season, but managed to get a tie against Elk River in the final game of the regular season.

The Champlin Park/Mounds View winner moves on to Thursday's semifinals and a match against either third-seeded Osseo or sixth-seeded Prairie Seeds Academy, which was also seeded sixth last year and won the section.

Maple Grove is the No. 1 seed and was ranked second in the state in last week's coaches poll.

Mounds View girls

The Mustangs are the defending Section 5AA champion, but drew only the third seed this year. Mounds View hosts sixth-seeded and Suburban East Conference-mate Roseville on Tuesday at 5 p.m.

Mounds View had a seven-game unbeaten streak in the middle of the season before going through a three-game stretch where it lost twice and tied once. The Mustangs closed out the season with victories over East Ridge and Cretin-Derham Hall and a tie against Woodbury in their final three games.

Roseville struggled mightily most of the season with only three victories and three losing streaks of at least four games. The Raiders lost 3-0 to Mounds View on Sept. 11.

The Mounds View/Roseville winner moves on the semifinals on Thursday and a match against either seventh-seeded Irondale or second-seeded and 11th-ranked Maple Grove.

Top-seeded Centennial has lost just once this season and was ranked fourth in the state last week.

Spring Lake Park/St. Anthony Village boys

The Panthers are the fourth seed and earned a first-round home game for the first time in two years. Paying a visit to Spring Lake Park High School on Tuesday is fifth-seeded Park Center.

The two teams are both members of the Northwest Suburban Conference for the first time this year and met early in the season. They played to a scoreless tie on Aug. 26.

The Panthers had a back-and-forth season until the final two weeks. SLP/STA closed out the season with three straight wins and then a tie against Blaine last Thursday.

Park Center also won three straight late in the season before losing to Mounds View 1-0 last Saturday.

Tuesday's winner advances to the semifinals on Thursday against either eighth-seeded Irondale or top-seeded Maple Grove.

Spring Lake Park/St. Anthony Village girls

The Panthers' girls squad is also at home in the first round of the playoffs this year. They are the fourth seed and host fifth-seeded Champlin Park on Tuesday at 5 p.m.

SLP/STA is playing a home playoff game for the first time in eight years and is gunning for its first post-season victory since 2007. That year, the Panthers knocked off Osseo in a shootout in the first round before losing to Mounds View in the semifinals.

The Panthers enjoyed most of their success during the first half of the season when they went 5-3. They were just 1-7 over their last eight games, but they were able to take fourth-ranked Centennial to overtime before falling.

Champlin Park has only three victories to its credit this season but one of them came on Sept. 27 against Centennial. The Rebels faced SLP/STA on Sept. 9 and lost 5-2.

Tuesday's winner moves to the semifinals on Thursday against either Centennial or eighth-seeded Osseo.

Irondale boys

The Knights might be the longest of long shots this year. Irondale has just one victory and six goals to its credit and must face the No. 2-ranked team in the state.

Irondale travels to unbeaten Maple Grove for a 7 p.m. match on Tuesday. The Knights fell to the Crimson 5-0 during the regular season and beat only Andover in 2014.

The Irondale/Maple Grove winner moves on to Thursday's semifinals against either fourth-seeded Spring Lake Park/St. Anthony Village or fifth-seeded Park Center.

Irondale girls

The Knights were 3-3 at one point this season but struggled for victories after that. Irondale closed out the regular season having lost its final 10 games.

Irondale's most-recent win came against Osseo, the only team it's seeded ahead of in Section 5AA. The Knights also own wins over Champlin Park and North St. Paul.

The Knights visit second-seeded Maple Grove on Tuesday at 5 p.m. The winner faces either fourth-seeded Spring Lake Park/St. Anthony Village or fifth-seeded Champlin Park on Thursday.

Brian Meyers can be reached at bmeyers@lillienews.com. Follow him on Twitter @BMeyersNews.

 

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