The Greater Middlesex Conference Girls Soccer Tournament is underway with play-in round matchups completed and first-round matchups ser to start Thursday followed by second-round matchups on Saturday.
The top 10 seeds were all awarded double byes, enabling them to bypass both the play-in and first rounds.
Let’s take a brief look at the top 10 seeds in this year’s tournament.
1. East Brunswick
(14-1-2, 11-0-1 Red Division): The Bears know what it takes to win close games. In their 14 victories, eight have come by one goal. In any sport, if you can grind out victories in the regular season, the same bodes well in the postseason.
2. Piscataway (12-2-1, 9-2-1 Red Division): The defending GMCT champs stumbled a bit after beginning the season 10-0-1, losing two straight, to East Brunswick and Old Bridge. But they still have reigning Home News Tribune Player of the Year Daija Griffin along with a host of players from last year’s title team who know what it takes to win.
Bridge (10-4, 9-3 Red Division): Old Bridge has handled everybody this season except for East Brunswick. The Knights have lost a pair of 1-0, double-overtime games to the Bears. The next time they’d have a chance of playing each other would be in the championship matchup. If all works out, will the third time be the charm?
4. Bishop Ahr (12-3, 12-0 White Division): As good as anyone in the GMC this year, the Trojans are a legitimate contender to win a GMC title. They’ve dominated the White Division and played Old Bridge and East Brunswick right down to the wire in both meetings, losing each matchup by one goal.
5. Sayreville (10-4, 8-4 White Division): First-year head coach Jillian Nagy has had her Bombers play at a consistent level all year. With a balanced attack on offense coupled with solid defensive play on the back end, Sayreville is going to be a tough out for any opponent. A potential matchup with Bishop Ahr in the quarterfinals would be an intriguing one for sure.
6. Wardlaw-Hartridge (14-1, 12-1 Blue Division): What more can you say about the Rams? In their first season of moving up from the Gold Division, Wardlaw has been spectacular, proving they can win on a higher level. But can they make any headway in the tournament, where they’ll face stiffer competition? If standouts Taylor Gerhart and Valentina Margiottiello play the way they’ve played all year, the Rams will be dangerous.
7. South Brunswick
(9-8, 5-7 Red Division): A semifinalist last year, the Vikings seem to follow every winning effort with a loss this season and just haven’t been able string many victories together. However, if they could ever pick a time to put a streak together, there’d be no better time than at this stage in the season.
8. South Plainfield (8-8-1, 6-5-1 White Division): After a poor start to their season, the Tigers have picked it up of late, winning seven out of their last nine games. If they were to continue their improved play through their matchup with White Division rival Edison, however, a meeting with top-seeded East Brunswick could be in the cards. Some kind of reward that would be.
9. Edison (9-7, 6-6 White Division): The same thing that was said for South Plainfield can be said for Edison, except that they’ve hovered around .500 for pretty much the entire year. The Eagles have beaten everybody they’re supposed to beat but when matched up against a superior team, they seem to come up just a little short.
10. Metuchen (15-0-1, 13-0-1 Blue Division): Metuchen will travel to South Brunswick on Saturday in their matchup and should be playing with a chip on their shoulder. The seedings meeting was conducted before they defeated Wardlaw-Hartridge on Friday afternoon and one could make the argument the Bulldogs were slighted when given the No. 10 seed, despite the fact they hadn’t played Wardlaw yet.