Preview: Bears qualify for state play-in round today in boys, girls soccer tourney
Prescott boys, girls receive automatic berths to state; to host Saturday
PRESCOTT VALLEY — Like their basketball counterparts, Bradshaw Mountain’s boys and girls soccer teams have reached the 4A state play-in tournament, and they will hit the road today, Feb. 7, to play one-game playoffs to determine whether they qualify for state.
At 6 p.m. today, the 4A No. 21-seeded Bears boys (6-5-1 record in power-point matches) visit No. 12 Arcadia (8-3-1), the Desert Sky region champion, in Phoenix. The winner moves on to the 16-team state tournament’s first round at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 9. The eight highest-seeded teams host state openers.
The Bears tied Arcadia, 2-2, in their season opener Nov. 28 at Bob Pavlich Field in Prescott Valley.
Also at 6 p.m. today, the 4A No. 16-seeded Bears girls (7-5-0) travel to 14th-seeded Estrella Foothills (10-3-0), the Southwest region champ, in Tucson. The victor advances to the 16-team state tournament, which kicks off Feb. 9 with the first round at the eight highest-seeded teams’ fields.
On the girls’ side, Estrella Foothills has won eight of its last 10 matches since Dec. 13. Bradshaw Mountain has lost four of its last six matches since Jan. 10.
“I am very, very proud of this group,” Bradshaw Mountain girls coach John Sterling said of his 2018-19 Bears. “We’ve got injuries, and we’re loaded with freshmen and sophomores, so we are very proud to even make the play-in round.
“This means our future is very bright, and after a rebuilding year, we are very excited to see what next year brings.”
On the boys’ side, Arcadia has won eight straight power-point matches since Dec. 17. Arcadia’s last loss came at Flagstaff, 5-1, on Dec. 14. Bradshaw Mountain is 4-4-0 in its last eight matches, since Jan. 8, and is hoping to play the spoiler role. All four of the Bears’ losses during that stretch came by one goal.
“This week has been very hard for the boys to stay motivated,” Bears interim boys coach Dustin Fechner said. “But they have really come together and united as one. And, hopefully, they are ready to make an impact.”
Last season, the Bears boys didn’t qualify for the play-in round. The Bradshaw Mountain girls lost in the play-in round at home.
The Top 8 seeds for the 4A boys and girls earned automatic berths to the state tournament, while the Nos. 9 through 24 seeds were paired for the one-game play-in round to decide the final eight state berths.
Amphitheater, Catalina Foothills, Cortez, Douglas, Flagstaff, Prescott, Salpointe Catholic and Tempe snared the top seeds on the boys’ side.
Arcadia, Catalina Foothills, Flagstaff, Prescott, Sahuaro, Salpointe Catholic, Seton Catholic and Thunderbird garnered the top seeds on the girls’ side.
The Prescott boys (10-1-1 record), who were the Grand Canyon region champions, will learn their seed in the 16-team state tournament bracket at 2:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 8, during the live bracket show on azpreps365.com.
The Badgers will play host to a first-round state playoff game at 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 9, at Bill Shepard Field.
Meanwhile, the Prescott girls (10-2-0), the Grand Canyon region runner-up, will find out their seed in the 16-team state tournament bracket at 2:30 p.m. Feb. 8, also during the live bracket show on azpreps365.com.
The Badgers will play host to a first-round state playoff game at 2 p.m. Feb. 9 at Shepard Field.
Doug Cook is a reporter for The Daily Courier. Follow him on Twitter at @dougout_dc. Email him at email@example.com or call 928-445-3333, ext. 2039.