All those hot summer practices and hard-fought games have led to this moment — the state playoffs.
This week will start the first elimination rounds for most the teams in the state, starting with finding out who is the district’s best team. Before the first ball is booted in the back of the net, take a look at the area’s district tournaments.
Division 1 at Utica
Macomb Dakota at Romeo, 6 p.m.
Anchor Bay at Eisenhower, 6 p.m.
Port Huron Northern at L’Anse Creuse North, 5:30 p.m.
Port Huron at Utica, 8 p.m.
Dakota/Romeo winner vs. Anchor Bay/Eisenhower winner, 6 p.m.
Port Huron/Utica winner vs. Northern/L’Anse Creuse North winner, 8 p.m.
Finals, 7 p.m.
Breakdown: Eisenhower is, without a doubt, the team to beat in this district. The 12-4-3 Eagles are the No. 9-ranked Division 1 team in the state by Michigan High School Soccer Coaches Association.
If Port Huron or Port Huron Northern want to dethrone them, they would have to do it in the finals. It’s possible for the Huskies and Big Reds to meet in the semifinals too if they each care of business on Monday. After two games the Huskies have the advantage in the head-to-head matchup against the Big Reds, topping them 3-0 in September and playing to a power outage-stopped 1-1 draw on Thursday.
Division 2 at Marysville
Yale at South Lake, 7 p.m.
Lake Shore at Marysville, 6:30 p.m.
Warren Woods-Tower at St. Clair, 7 p.m.
Armada vs. Warren W-T/St. Clair winner
Yale/South Lake vs. Lake Shore/Marysville
Finals, 6:30 p.m.
Breakdown: Last year was Marysville’s first district championship, and they’ll have a challenging path to go back-to-back. They’ll start with Lake Shore, and if they win that game they’ll face either a tough, well-balanced Yale team that is proven to beat tough teams, shown in its 2-1 win over Imlay City earlier this year. Or they’ll face a South Lake squad that went 10-5-1 overall this season.
St. Clair will also be opening up their hopeful tournament run at home against Warren Woods-Tower. The Titans have had the upper hand against the Saints in MAC Gold play, winning games 6-0 and 3-1.
Division 3 at Imlay City
Croswell-Lexington at Marine City, 5 p.m.
Almont at Imlay City, 6 p.m.
Richmond vs. Marine City/Cros-Lex winner, 6 p.m.
Capac vs. Almont/Imlay City winner, 8 p.m.
Finals, 6 p.m.
Breakdown: Richmond has its eyes set on the state title, and they’re not crazy for having that dream. The Blue Devils, the No. 15-ranked Division 3 team by MIHSSCA, haven’t lost a game in regulation since August. Once you see how strong the defense is and how dangerous they are on the attack, there’s no wondering how they’ve been able to do nothing but win lately.
Of course, there will be teams looking to play spoiler. Cros-Lex has been one of the trickier teams in the BWAC. Unless Capac pulls off the big upset in the semifinals, the Blue Devils will see either Imlay City or Almont. Both teams finished right behind Richmond in the BWAC standings, and the Spartans even tied Richmond last week.
Division 4 at Unionville-Sebewaing
Laker at Unionville-Sebewaing, 4:30 p.m.
Bad Axe at Brown City, 5:30 p.m.
Harbor Beach vs. Laker/Unionville-Sebewaing winner, 4:30 p.m.
Marlette vs. Brown City/Bad Axe winner, 6:30 p.m.
Finals, 3 p.m.
Breakdown: Marlette, the co-champions of the GTC South, and Harbor Beach, the champions of the GTC North, could very well meet in the district finals. Harbor Beach will be seen as the team to beat, coming in as the No. 12-ranked Division 4 team by MIHSSCA and are also the reigning three-time district champions.
Division 4 at Grosse Pointe Woods Liggett
Sterling Heights Parkway Christian at Kimball Landmark Academy, 5 p.m.
Detroit Austin Catholic at Memphis, 5 p.m.
Liggett vs. Memphis/Austin Catholic winner, 4 p.m.
New Life Christian vs. Landmark/Parkway winner, 6 p.m.
Finals, 4 p.m.
Breakdown: After winning a share of the GTC South title, Memphis is heading into the postseason looking to repeat as district champions.
Landmark Academy has also been strong this season behind the solid play of Ethan Brown on the attack. However, the Lakers are in a tough district that will likely see either Memphis or Liggett in the district championship.
Memphis will likely move through Detroit Austin Catholic, who has not won a game this season. After that, the Yellowjackets will face Liggett, who is 10-1-1 on the season.