By Mike Deak
INDIANAPOLIS – The road to soccer glory will begin at home for a pair of soccer programs as the 2021 boys and girls soccer state tournament maps were drawn out with the official IHSAA selection shows Sunday evening.
Wawasee’s boys and Warsaw’s girls both have home brackets to navigate as the tournament opens the week of Oct. 4. Dates and times are all variable to the host school.
Warsaw’s girls have a favorable route in the 3-A bracket, drawing Fort Wayne Wayne in the bye game. Homestead, the No. 2 team in the state per the latest ISCA rankings, plays first against Fort Wayne South Side, then would have to also beat Huntington North to get to the final for a potential showdown with the Tigers. The Spartans traveled to Warsaw earlier in the season and claimed a 4-0 win over the Tigers.
Wawasee’s boys will roll the ball out on the turf for a 2-A six-teamer and are in a four-team pod at the top of the bracket. NorthWood begins its tournament march once again, where it will look to relive the magic of a 2020 semi-state run when it takes on Garrett, with Wawasee and West Noble in the other first rounder. Northeast Corner Conference foes Angola and Lakeland are on the bottom of the bracket.
Possibly one of the top brackets in the state comes at Goshen in the 3-A boys tournament, where plenty of bad blood will flow through one another’s veins. No. 11 Northridge and No. 5 Penn collide in the first contest, followed by backyard rivals Goshen and Concord. No. 8 Elkhart and Warsaw meet in the semi-finals, the Tigers once ranked and possibly headed there again after a pair of big wins to take command of the Northern Lakes Conference race.
Another loaded sectional is the boys 2-A collection at Fort Wayne Canterbury, where Tippecanoe Valley may have the most brutal route possible. The Vikings are pitted against two-time Class 1-A state finalist Argos in round one, then if the Vikings pull off the upset, another state finalist in No. 1 Fort Wayne Canterbury will be waiting on its home soil. The bottom of the bracket is no cake walk, either, as Rochester will meet No. 4 Fort Wayne Concordia and Manchester will take on No. 10 Culver Academy.
At Wabash in 1-A boys soccer, the host Apaches will meet Lakeland Christian Academy while Lakewood Park and Fort Wayne Blackhawk square off in the other semi-final of the four-team card.
At West Noble in the 2-A girls soccer draw, the host Chargers and Angola meet in game one with Wawasee and DeKalb set for game two. NorthWood and Lakeland, which was a 4-1 Panther win a week ago, renew acquaintances in the bye game.
Another 2-A girls sectional at Fort Wayne Concordia will have No. 14 Leo open with Garrett, the winner getting Columbia City. Fort Wayne Concordia and Tippecanoe Valley will meet in the bye game, the Vikings playing in its first-ever IHSAA state tournament in its inaugural season.
At Westview in the 1-A girls bracket, the 13th-ranked host Warriors will take on Central Noble, the winner to meet either Bethany Christian or Elkhart Christian. In the bye game, No. 18 Lakewood Park Christian will battle Lakeland Christian Academy.
Regionals would have the boys winners at Goshen, Wawasee and Fort Wayne Canterbury all playing the first game of the two-game regional ladder on the road on Oct. 14, the Wabash winner at home. For the girls, Warsaw’s winner will be at home for the regional semi-final to be played on Oct. 13, winners at West Noble, Fort Wayne Concordia and Westview all on the road. Hosts for the regional finals on Oct. 16 are Goshen, Mishawaka Marian, Norwell and Taylor for the respective finals.
Semi-states will be at either South Bend St. Joe or Kokomo on Saturday, Oct. 23, depending on proximity of the team matchups.
The IHSAA State Finals will take place Oct. 29-30 at IUPUI.