Changes coming in spring for local girls soccer teams
The 2014-15 winter sports season in Colorado is in full swing, but changes are in store for the upcoming girls soccer season in the spring, according to the Colorado High School Activities Association.
Girls soccer in Colorado will add a fourth classification in the spring, essentially turning what was the Class 3A Western Slope League into a hybrid Class 3A/2A Western Slope League. It also increases the postseason opportunities for the smaller schools that are dropping into the newly formed, 23-team 2A classification.
“In the end, what you want a move like this to be is what results in the right thing for kids,” Grand Valley High School Athletic Director David Walck said. “It gives more opportunities, but it also makes things more competitive. And my thought has always been that if you want to be the best, you have to play the best. This fits that.”
The new classification arrangement moves four schools — Colorado Rocky Mountain School, Vail Christian, Vail Mountain School and Rangely — into the new 2A classification. It does, however, keep them in the same league as Class 3A teams like Coal Ridge, Roaring Fork, Grand Valley, Rifle, Basalt, Moffat County and Aspen.
CHSAA announced the classification addition on its Website, http://www.chsaanow.org, in December.
With that new league alignment, however, it tightens the standards for reaching the postseason while giving more opportunities to the schools in the league that didn’t see much success last season.
A total of three automatic state playoff qualifiers will come from the league. Two of the seven 3A teams will earn automatic state-playoff berths, with just one of the league’s four 2A teams reaching the 2A state-playoff bracket. That’s a reduction from last season, when the 3A WSL had four automatic qualifiers, Walck said.
It does, however, balance out in the end. All total, the 3A state playoffs will have seven at-large state qualifiers — up from five last season — to help fill out the 24-team state playoff bracket.
In Class 2A, 12 teams — making up more than half of what will be the state’s smallest classification — will make up the state-playoff bracket. Six teams around the state will receive automatic berths, with the other six at-large spots in the bracket being determined in part by a seeding committee prior to the regional round of the 2A state playoffs on May 5.
“The big thing with CHSAA right now is that they’re really big on equality,” Walck said. “And the thing is that for programs like CRMS, Vail Mountain, Rangely and Vail Christian, this will give them a chance to have some success and build their programs.”
Vail Mountain’s 6-5-0 overall record in 2014 — good for fifth place in the 10-team league — was the best among the teams dropping down a classification this spring. CRMS (2-9-0), Rangely (1-11-0) and Vail Christian (0-11-0) finished eighth, ninth and 10th, respectively.
Each of those schools will continue to play in a league that has performed well in recent seasons. Coal Ridge has advanced to the 3A quarterfinals the past two seasons, Grand Valley has advanced past the first round two straight years and Roaring Fork has moved into the second round for two of the past three seasons. Aspen had its most recent successful season in 2012 when it won the 3A WSL title with an 11-2-1 overall record.
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Two local rivals may get an early crack at each other in the 3A state boys soccer playoffs as revealed in bracket releases on Monday.