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Diary of a Mad Sportswriter: Picking, seeding all in a committee's days work

Diary of a Mad Sportswriter

Stan Hudy is a sportswriter for The Saratogian and Community News. He covers high school and youth sports in the Saratoga County area as well as writing a weekly book review on sports books. He's not just a "stick and ball" sportswriter, he's willing to take on any sport as well as any subject.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Picking, seeding all in a committee's days work

Prior proper planning prevents poor results for the Section II boys and girls soccer committees that met Tuesday morning in Saratoga Springs.

In just a few hours, the ties were broken, the brackets were set and all that remained were more than a hundred soccer games to be played before crowing Section II champions.

Shenendehowa, Albany Academy, Chatham, Galway, Maple Hill and North Warren each received No. 1 seeds in the boys tournament that begins today and finishes with the championship games at Colonie High School Nov. 3 to 6.

In the girls tournament, Bethlehem, Burnt Hills, Ichabod Crane, Hoosick Falls, Maple Hill and New Lebanon all garnered the No. 1 seed in their respective classes.

The Class B tournament is at it’s bracket busting maximum of 16 teams, if the division added one or more teams this year, the class would be broken up into two separate tournaments similar to the format used with the class C and CC brackets.

“This year we had 16 teams,” Section II chairperson Deb Wilday said. “We had approval from a year ago to go to two brackets if we needed two.”

With an open competition format, all teams can compete in the post season in the boys and girls soccer tournament. The girls playoffs would have been split into two divisions if Taconic Hills and Fonda-Fultonville decided to compete in post-season play. Both schools had less than .500 records and opted out.

Wilday is prepared for the split in the future, especially after seemingly perfecting this year’s C and CC brackets for the 22 teams involved.

“Both classes have 11 teams each, sometimes in the past the CCs have had 13 and the Cs 6,” Wilday said. “We waited for today’s meeting to decide how to divide them. Now both brackets are equal and there are good teams in both brackets.”

The girls tournament committee also focused on consistency with all contests within each class played on the same day and in most cases, the same time. All the girls finals will be held on the turf field at Broadalbin-Perth with semifinal games split between Amsterdam’s FieldTurf surface and Broadalbin.


“The regionals and states will be held on turf so we like to get the teams prepared to play on that surface,” Wilday said. “For a lot of these smaller teams it’s the first time they will be playing on turf.”

The boys committee sped through their meeting with the only complaints available to coaches were if they lost a coin toss. The committee utilizes a formula based on its regular season, league competition weighted by win percentage.A coin toss breaks any ties among teams.

“It allows us to move forward quickly,” Section II chairman Jim Gillis said. “The boys like it. It’s cut and dry.”

The boys committee dealt with several geography issues this year, especially with a focus on utilizing the Morse Athletic Complex in Glens Falls and the fields in Johnstown.

“We tried to keep the D’s up there (Glens Falls) because three of the four top teams are from up there,” Gillis said. For the CCs it only seemed natural and we sent the Cs that way too. Some Patroon Conference teams may have to travel.”

Gillis is guided by previous, poor experiences with fields, choosing the Glens Falls and Johnstown locations.

“Two years ago we made the switch because both are strictly rec soccer fields,” Gillis said. “We’ve used football fields, but after one sloppy game, the field is too torn up and we had to scramble to find a replacement.”

All the boys sectional finals will be held at Colonie High School on its grass field. The NYSPHSAA boys soccer Final Four will be played at the Soccer Hall of Fame Complex in Oneonta on its natural grass surface.

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