The Louisiana High School Athletic Association released the 2013 high school boys soccer playoff brackets Wednesday, which meant good news for a number of Baton Rouge area teams.
Episcopal received the highest seed of any Baton Rouge area school in the playoffs, which begin later this week, earning the No. 2 seed in Division III.
The Knights sit behind only top-seeded Isidore Newman but lead all local area schools, including University High at the No. 5 seed, Parkview Baptist at No. 11, district unbeatens Dunham at No. 12 and Christian Life at No. 24 in Division III.
Episcopal coach Chris Stewart said Newman was “by far” the favorite heading into the playoffs, but he wouldn’t be surprised to see a number of different schools make a push at the final.
“I think anybody in the top seven or eight can get on a little streak and maybe make a run at it,” Stewart said. “Outside of Newman being the favorite, I think there are four or five other teams that could be in that final game.”
The Knights begin their journey through the postseason with a first-round matchup against Lafayette Christian, tentatively set for 7 or 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Catholic was the next-highest ranked Baton Rouge area school, earning the No. 6 seed in Division I, and will host No. 27 Central Lafourche.
Lafayette snagged the top seed followed by Jesuit, Brother Martin, Acadiana and St. Paul’s, but CHS coach Bo Cassidy said Division I, as a whole, is up for grabs.
“I think Division I is pretty wide open this year,” Cassidy said. “I think when you look at style of play and matchups and that kind of stuff, anybody could beat anybody depending on who’s playing who. I think it’s a more wide open Division I than it probably ever has been.”
Three other Baton Rouge schools are featured in the 32-team bracket, including Baton Rouge High at No. 9, No. 11 St. Amant, Dutchtown at No. 10 and Live Oak at No. 30.
With a fairly balanced field in Division I, Cassidy said the team that can adjust to the different styles of play the best will likely prevail at the end.
“How do you match up with your opponent? What’s the style of play?” Cassidy asked. “I think that’s bigger than (seeding). You’ve just got to take it game-by-game. The team that has quality matchups is probably going to do well. Scheme plays an important part of that.”
Alexandria and St. Louis lead the way in the 17-team Division II bracket that features eight first-round byes for the top seeds.
St. Michael the Archangel and Broadmoor are the lone Baton Rouge schools in playoffs, sitting at No. 15 and No. 23, respectively. Lutcher grabbed a No. 17 seed and travels to East Jefferson.
St. Michael faces No. 18 Belle Chasse in the first round with the winner advancing to play No. 2 St. Louis. Broadmoor will play No. 10 Calvary Baptist, with a chance to play No. 7 Bolton in the second round.