While the imminent introduction of two class soccer for Indiana high schools has had its critics around the state, the concept has had a warm reception locally, described by one area head coach as “most welcome and overdue.”
In February, the IHSAA announced new classifications in six sports for the next two academic years.
And last week, it approved recommendations by realignment committees responsible for placing member schools into sectional groups. The soccer committee was made up of 12 principals and athletic administrators.
For the first time, soccer will be spilt into two classes this fall. Schools with an enrollment at 755 or higher will participate in Class 2A, and those below this figure will play in Class 1A.
In total there are 32 sectionals in boys’ and girls’ Class 2A, and 32 also in boys’ Class 1A. Class 1A girls will see 16 different sectionals.
The area’s Class 2A boys’ and girls’ sectionals will feature the same five schools — Jeffersonville, New Albany, Floyd Central, Jasper and Corydon.
New Albany boys’ head coach Dutch Vigar said he feels the sectional will be “very competitive and tough.”
“Jasper traditionally has a very strong team,” he said. “We have not played them for one or two years but prior to that, they had a better win-lose record against New Albany than we did against them. I feel Jasper will be considered one of the top teams in the sectional.”
The Bulldogs’ girls’ coach, Julie Deuser, said she is looking forward to the new sectional line up.
“I have always heard that Jasper has a competitive program, so I think their addition will make the tournament a lot more interesting,” she said.
Boys’ Class A, meanwhile, will see schools from the area in two different five team sectionals. Sectional 59 will comprise Charlestown, Henryville, Austin, Salem and Trinity Lutheran, while Sectional 60 will see Christian Academy of Indiana, Providence, Rock Creek, Silver Creek and North Harrison battle it out.
The boys’ tournament will then have a two-game format at both the regional and semi-state rounds in both classes.
On the girls’ side in Class A, there will be a large seven team Sectional 45 tournament featuring Charlestown, Christian Academy of Indiana, Providence, Silver Creek, Rising Sun, Southwestern and Switzerland County.
Following sectionals, the girls’ tournament will have a two-game regional championship in 2A and a one-game regional in Class 1A. The semi-states will be a two-game format in both classes.
The tentative format for the tournament series will be voted upon during the IHSAA Executive Committee meeting on June 23.
If anyone could call themselves “big winners” in relation to the restructuring, it would be have to be Providence girls, whose head coach Dave Smith feels more changes are forthcoming.
“In my opinion, it is a most welcome and overdue change for our sport,” said Smith. “I also believe this is not the end of the progression, as I look for soccer to have three and eventually four postseason classes, based on enrollment, in the coming years.”
Of the 32 sectional girls’ winners in last season’s IHSAA tournament, only two – Providence and Evansville Mater Dei — will contest in the new Class 1A. State semi-finalist Guerin Catholic from Noblesville has opted to play up one class, the only school to do so in any sport.
Smith said that Charlestown, Silver Creek and CAI are all programs on the rise, but that the Pioneers have a “good shot” at doing well.
“No question, the new system will create opportunities for more of the 1A schools to advance in postseason,” said Smith. “What is most exciting is that, now, the albatross of having to play schools with enrollments of 2,000 additional students, as was the case when we played Columbus North last October on the road to Indianapolis, has been removed.”
The downside, he added, is fewer local rivalry games in the tournament, and more travel because of the distance between schools.
“But there are always pros and cons,” he said. “I applaud the IHSAA for their forward-thinking move on this issue.”
PROPOSED SOCCER TOURNAMENT (TENTATIVE FORMAT)
Tentative format for the 2011 girls’ and boys’ soccer tournament series. The proposal will be voted upon during the IHSAA Executive Committee meeting on June 23.
Boys Tournament Series – Class 1A and Class 2A
Sectional (at 32 sites)
4 Teams – October 5, 7, or 8
5-6 Teams – October 3, 5, 7, or 8
Regional (at 8 sites)
4 Teams – October 13, 15
Semi-State (at 2 sites) – both classes at each site
4 teams – October 22
Semi-finals – 10:00am, 12:00pm
Finals – 6:00pm, 8:00pm
Class 1A, October 29, 12:30pm
Class 2A, October 29, 7:00pm
Girls Tournament Series – Class 1A and Class 2A
Sectional Class 1A (at 16 sites)
6 Teams – October 4, 6, 8
7-8 Teams – October 3, 4, 6, 8
Class 2A (at 32 sites)
4 Teams – October 6, 8
5-6 Teams – October 4, 6, 8
Regional (at 8 sites)
Class 1A – 4 Sites
2 Teams – October 15
Class 2A – 4 Sites
4 Teams – October 12, 15