While the Class 4A soccer teams sort out eliminations and seeding for the upcoming state tournament over the weekend, Class 3A completes its regular season in an almost anti-climactic fashion.
Unlike years past when the top standing teams of all four quadrants received automatic bids into the state tournament and the remaining teams squared off for cross-conference qualifiers, this year comes down to standings. Class 3A is split between East and West conferences and the top four teams in each conference qualify for the state tournament — no qualifiers or regionals necessary.
At this point it looks like both state champions are poised to repeat but, if the past few days of overseas soccer has taught fans anything it’s that no result is definitive until the final whistle.
And since this is the last weekend of the regular season it’s worth taking a look at what sort of movements can be made at this point.
Since undefeated returning champion Worland still stands as king of the mountain, it’s worth looking at who is behind them in the standings. The remaining three seeds have already been decided, it’s simply up to seeding at this point.
The Warriors (13-0, 8-0 3A West) have already clinched the West’s top seed. They are nine points clear of second-place Powell with just two games remaining so the Panthers cannot catch the defending champions.
Powell splits its remaining two games between Lander and Riverton. They are also mathematically into the state tournament, standing seven points clear of fifth-place Lander, which has just one match remaining.
Cody and Riverton enter the weekend tied with 12 conference points. If Cody comes away as the winner against the Wolverines in regulation on Thursday, the Broncs get the third seed. They beat Riverton in a conference match earlier and would own the tiebreaker.
That would help the Broncs immensely since their last game is against Worland. Riverton could tie or lose in overtime against Cody and then still get the third seed by beating Powell the next day. Obviously a win over Cody also gives the Wolverines an added advantage.
Both Lander and Pinedale, the bottom two teams from the West, are eliminated from state tournament contention.
The top three positions from the 3A East have been decided and the fourth qualifier will be decided this weekend.
Torrington, Buffalo and Rawlins all entered this week in a three-way tie for first with 12 points. Torrington’s overtime win over Douglas on Wednesday night and Buffalo’s win over Newcastle on Tuesday moved those two up with 15 points. They both have one game left on Friday while Rawlins plays its final two matches Friday and Saturday. Buffalo and Rawlins go head-to-head on Saturday and more will be known after that. Until then, there’s too many scenarios to go over without sounding like a conspiracy theorist.
Either Douglas or Newcastle will get the fourth spot. Douglas gained a point with an overtime loss earlier in the week but Newcastle can punch a ticket to state by gaining two ties, two overtime losses or just one win against either Buffalo or Rawlins this weekend.
Since it’s still defending champion Cody against the field, the West is where to look first.
Cody has clinched the top spot with two games remaining due to owning the tiebreaker with Riverton.
The Wolverines, meanwhile, can’t finish worse than third. And they can preserve second by beating either Cody or Powell this weekend.
Worland, already having clinched a playoff spot, can clinch the third seed by gaining a tie or overtime loss against Cody or last-place Pinedale. Lander, which is currently in fourth, is still alive with a win, tie or overtime loss with Powell in the Tigers’ season finale. Lander clinches its spot with a win, but a tie or overtime loss would mean Powell could not defeat Riverton on Friday. Powell leapfrogs Lander with a win on Thursday or a draw/overtime loss on Thursday and a win on Friday against Riverton.
Last-place Pinedale has already been eliminated from state tournament contention.
The East Conference has the same situation: top three times are in, last spot still in play.
Buffalo clinched the top seed with a win earlier this week. Douglas improved its standings with a win over Torrington earlier in the week and no games remaining. Rawlins can still leapfrog Douglas for second with wins over Buffalo and Newcastle this weekend. Outside of sweeping both games, Rawlins will receive the third seed.
That leaves the last spot up for grabs between Newcastle and Torrington. The only way the Torrington girls can go to state is by beating Newcastle by eight goals on Friday. Newcastle, which won the previous meeting between the two 7-0, would otherwise win on goal differential tiebreaker.