Skiers snubbed in 3A seedings
Aspen soccer coach Junior Sutherland wasn’t pleased, to say the least. With an overall record of 13-2 and a 3A Western Slope title, Sutherland expected his team to be seeded no lower than fourth when the 3A state soccer bracket was released Sunday.Much to his dismay, the Skiers were seeded fifth – one spot behind 9-5 Alexander Dawson. Sutherland just laughed when asked if he felt that the seedings were tainted by a Front Range bias.”I just don’t know what to do,” Sutherland said. “In the last seven years, a team from the Western Slope has made one final, played in four semifinals and two quarterfinals. We’ve had teams that have gone far in the playoffs, but for some reason we always get neglected. No matter what you do, for some reason [coaches] believe that the Metro League is the strongest.”The state seedings are decided by opposing coaches, with each coach rating his 12 top teams around the state. Coaches do not get tp vote for their own team.As in years past, the Metro League secured the highest number of top seeds. Defending state champion Peak to Peak (12-2) secured the No. 1 seed after winning the 3A Metro title and league foes Colorado Academy (12-2) and Faith Christian were seeded (12-1-2) second and third, respectively. Alexander Dawson earned the fourth seed after winning the North League title. The Mustangs played a tough nonleague schedule which included losses to 5A Fairview and 5A Monarch as well a 2-1 loss to Peak to Peak and a 2-0 loss to Faith Christian.Sutherland believes those close matches may have swayed some Metro League coaches to vote the Mustangs ahead of Aspen.The fifth seed means Aspen hosts Colorado Springs Christian on Tuesday (10-5) at home and will likely be at Alexander Dawson after that, unless the Mustangs are upset by No. 13 Classical Academy (9-5).”If we’d been given the fourth seed, we’d have two home games,” Sutherland said. “Now as it is, we play a tough first game and then if we win we’re on the road. If you look at the big picture, you’ve got to be upset with what we’ve got.”Basalt (11-3-1) was seeded 10th overall and will travel to Englewood on Tuesday to play seventh-seeded Sheridan, who won the 3A East title.The Longhorns – with 11 wins – also weren’t given their due from coaches around the state, Sutherland said.Basalt traveled to the Front Range at the beginning of the season to play 3A Metro foes Denver Christian and Kent Denver. The ‘Horns beat Denver Christian, 2-0, then were beat by the Sun Devils, 3-0, but despite the win over Denver Christian, the Crusaders – at 10-3-2 – were seeded ninth, one spot ahead of Basalt.”The only way to prove ourselves is to win games,” Sutherland said. “We can’t do anything now but play. We’ll give [Colorado Springs Christian] the respect that they deserve and go from there. We can only play one game at a time.”The Aspen coach has thought of an ideal scenario to prove to opposing coaches around the state that they shouldn’t overlook the Western Slope in the future.”What would be great is if we were to meet Basalt in the finals, because we’re on opposite sides of the bracket,” Sutherland said. “I’d love to see that.”Nate Peterson’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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