At a glance: Class 4-1A state girls soccer tournament
Only four Class 4A soccer teams are still in play this season, and each will square off Friday in Rose Hill for a shot at the 2012 Class 4-1A state title.
Wichita-Trinity Academy, the top seed out of the south central region, will take on the northeast region's No. 2 seed in St. James Academy at 5 p.m. After that, Tonganoxie High, the top seed out of the northeast, will face south central No. 2 seed Topeka-Hayden at 7 p.m.
The winners will meet in the state championship game at 2 p.m. Saturday, while the losers will square off in a consolation match at noon. All games will be played at the Rose Hill Athletic Complex. Check The Mirror's website and Facebook page for updates throughout the tournament.
Here is a quick look at all four state qualifiers and their journeys to the state tournament:
Midway through the regular season, a state berth looked like nothing more than an afterthought for the Chieftains. They won just one of their first eight games, going 1-6-1 and managing just six goals during that stretch.
Since then, though coach Justin Seever's squad is 9-2, including its current stretch of eight straight wins dating back to April 27. During its win streak, THS has outscored its opponents by a combined score of 35-6.
The Chieftains cruised in their regional opener, handing Bishop Ward an 8-1 loss on May 15. They won their first regional title in school history with a 4-1 victory over Piper in the northeast regional 4 finals on May 18, then reached the state semifinals with a 1-0 quarterfinal win against De Soto on Tuesday. THS has never appeared in the state tournament before this season.
Unlike its first-round opponent, Hayden is no stranger to the state tournament field. The Wildcats are making their fourth consecutive appearance in the semifinals. They reached the state title game last season, falling 1-0 to fellow 2012 state qualifier St. James Academy.
Hayden rolled to a 10-0 regional semifinal win May 15 at Augusta, then won the south central regional 3 title with a 2-1 victory May 18 at Maize South. The Wildcats capped off their journey to state with a 3-0 quarterfinal win Tuesday at No. 1 Rose Hill.
Wichita-Trinity Academy (15-4)
Defense has been the name of the game for Trinity this season, as the Class 4A Knights have recorded nine shutouts. Two came in postseason play, as they cruised to a 6-0 win over Dodge City May 17 in the south central regional 2 championship, then blasted Wichita-Independent, 9-0, in Tuesday's quarterfinal.
Like Tonganoxie, Trinity has never appeared in the state tournament.
St. James Academy (7-11-1)
Thanks in large part to a schedule that includes several Class 5A opponents, St. James is the only state team with a sub-.500 record. However, the Thunder have been a mainstay in the state tournament field for the past several years. They have won three of the last four state titles (2008, 2009 and 2011) and defeated some of the state's top teams to make this year's cut.
St. James opened regional play with a 10-0 thumping of Maranatha Academy on May 14, then won the northeast regional 2 title with a 2-0 win May 17 at No. 5 KC Christian. The Thunder guaranteed themselves a shot at a fourth state title in five years with a 2-0 win Tuesday at No. 2 Spring Hill.