St. Joseph’s, U-High grab high seeds as girls soccer pairings released _lowres

Advocate file photo by ANGELA MAJOR -- University High girls soccer coach Melissa Ramsey

Defending Division III girls soccer champion University Lab may not be the No. 1 seed in this year’s playoff bracket, but coach Melissa Ramsey isn’t worried.

The Cubs know what they’re doing.

For the second straight year, U-High enters the Division III playoffs as one of the top ranked teams, this time coming in as the No. 3 seed — down one spot from 2015.

Vandebilt Catholic took the No. 1 seed in Division III, while Sacred Heart is second.

“I think we’re starting to peak at the right time,” Ramsey said. “I think we’re ready for the playoffs — I’m ready for the playoffs. This is when the fun starts. This is when it’s game time. This is when you compete and everything matters.”

Also similar to last season, the Cubs are riding a strong defensive streak into the postseason, allowing only one goal in the past 12 games. U-High outscored opponents 56-5 this season, matching its goals allowed total from 2015.

Ramsey said at the beginning of the season she didn’t think it was possible for this year’s team to make a run like it did during its championship season, but her players had different plans.

“The players read it, they weren’t happy about my quote and they wanted to prove me wrong. I think that’s fantastic,” Ramsey said. “They worked really hard, and they’re proud of the fact they haven’t given up many goals. They get angry anytime somebody scores on them. They’re just very proud to not be scored on.”

U-High, along with the other top eight seeds in each bracket, earned byes in the first round. The Cubs will host the winner of No. 14 Bolton and No. 19 Erath in the second round.

Joining the Cubs in the Division III playoffs will be district rivals No. 7 Episcopal, which drew a bye, No. 12 St. Michael, who plays No. 21 West Feliciana, and No. 13 Parkview Baptist, which plays No. 20 Pearl River in the first round.

The Baton Rouge area will be well represented in Division I, as well, with St. Joseph’s Academy leading the way. The Redstickers climbed all the way to the No. 2 seed after a late season win against No. 3 Mount Carmel.

Byrd took the top seed in the highest division, while defending champion St. Scholastica is No. 4.

East Ascension and St. Amant also earned first round byes at No. 6 and No. 8, respectively.

St. Thomas More is the No. 1 seed in Division II, and Catholic-New Iberia is tops in Division IV.

The girls state championships will take place at Tad Gormley Stadium in New Orleans from Feb. 24-27. The pairings for the boys playoffs will be released Wednesday.

“I didn’t see any surprises,” Ramsey said of the whole bracket. “Vandebilt Catholic is very deserving of the first seed.

“… I’m proud of being third. I think that’s fine, it’s a good number. As long as we were top eight, I was good.” Live Oak (14-5-1), a 15th seed, hosts No. 18 South Terrebonne to start the Division II playoffs. In Division IV, No. 15 Runnels 9-9-2) hosts No. 17 Ouachita Christian.