The four Brevard County high school soccer teams still playing have one particularly notable thing in common; they’ve all won state championships.
Friday night, the boys and girls teams from Merritt Island as well as the boys teams from West Shore and Melbourne play state semifinal games, the latter two at home.
Meanwhile seven boys basketball teams have earned playoff spots and will play for district titles on Friday, while 14 schools will compete Friday and Saturday at Bayside for the Cape Coast Conference wrestling title.
It is crunch time for winter sports teams.
None of the soccer coaches with a state semifinalist team would be likely to say there’s a weak opponent remaining in their fields. That means anything from motivation to pure luck could be the difference. Melbourne boys coach Jerry McCabe and his team earned a spot in the 4A semis with a 4-1 win over Auburndale on Tuesday in a game he said was “relatively even.”
A year ago, Auburndale won in the same round, 1-0, when McCabe thought his team had outplayed the Bloodhounds.
“That’s soccer sometimes,” he said.
Melbourne (22-2) gets a home game against Fleming Island on Friday. The Bulldogs have won four titles (1994, 2009, ’10 and ’14).
West Shore (18-3), the 2011 Class 2A champion, hosts Bishop Kenny. The Wildcats were 2015 semifinalists.
Merritt Island’s boys, state champions in 2009 and ’14, will have to visit last year’s 3A state runner-up, Immokalee, meaning the Mustangs (21-1) will have to overcome both traveling and a team on a mission to get back to the final.
“I would say we’re the underdogs,” Coach Scooty Carey said. “They have that incentive.”
One key to overcoming it, as Carey sees it, will be to not fall behind.
“It will depend on how quickly we can get organized,” he said. “We can’t make mistakes early.”
The Merritt Island girls visit postseason nemesis Plantation American Heritage in a 3A semifinal. The Mustangs, 2010 Class 4A champions, were elminated by the Patriots four years in a row, from 2012 through 2015.
Adding the outdoors sport of soccer to indoor basketball, Melbourne High will be particularly busy. Both the boys and girls basketball teams remained alive entering Thursday’s regional playoffs. The Bulldogs (21-5) are playing at Celebration as the No. 1 see in District 6-8A, and they face Hagerty for the title.
All district finalists in basketball have already earned regional berths, which go to the top two finishers. District champions will play home games on Thursday, while runners-up will travel.
Three other schools also had both boys and girls teams remaining in competition entering Thursday’s games: Heritage, Rockledge and Melbourne Central Catholic.
The full winter postseason schedule through Saturday is below. Follow floridatoday.com for updates.
Girls basketball regional playoffs
Lake Minneola at Melbourne, 7
Oakland Park Northeast at Heritage, 7
Bishop Moore at Rockledge, 7
Palm Bay at Leesburg, 7
Avon Park at Melbourne Central Catholic, 7
Astronaut at McKeel, 7
City of Life Christian at Covenant Christian, 7
Girls state soccer semifinal
Class 3A: Merritt Island at Plantation American Heritage, 7 p.m.
Boys state soccer semifinals
Class 4A: Fleming Island at Melbourne, 7
Class 3A: Merritt Island at Immokalee, 7
Class 2A: Bishop Kenny at West Shore, 7
Boys basketball district tournaments
District 6-8A final at Celebration
Hagerty vs. Melbourne, 7
District 13-7A semifinal at Okeechobee
Heritage vs. Okeechobee, 7
District 14-6A final at Rockledge
Rockledge vs. Titusville, 7
District 7-5A final at Cocoa
Melbourne CC vs. Holy Trinity, 7
District 6-2A final at Florida Prep
Merritt Island Christian vs. Florida Prep, 7
Cape Coast Conference wrestling championship at Bayside, 1:30 p.m.
District 13-7A boys basketball final at Okeechobee, 7
Cape Coast Conference wrestling at Bayside, 10:30 a.m.