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Iowa high school boys’ soccer substate analysis: What to know about Gazette area brackets
Here are the favorites and top challengers to reach the state tournament
The Iowa high school boys’ soccer postseason kicks off Thursday with substate quarterfinals in all three classes, the beginning of the road to the state tournament.
Here’s a look at the schedule, with a breakdown of every substate involving Gazette area teams.
Iowa high school boys’ soccer substate schedule
Thursday — Quarterfinals
Monday, May 23 — Semifinals
Wednesday, May 25 — Finals
» Statewide boys’ soccer substate pairings, schedule and scores
Class 3A Substate 3
The favorite: No. 2 Johnston (16-1) is the only team to beat top-ranked Ankeny and was the top-ranked team itself a week ago. The Dragons have won seven games in a row, five against ranked 3A teams.
Top challengers: No. 12 Iowa City High (10-5) has a resume dotted with big wins (five over ranked teams) even if it has more losses than it would like. Linn-Mar (9-9) beat the Little Hawks, 3-1, in late April.
Gazette area games: Cedar Rapids Jefferson (3-10) meets Marshalltown (5-12) in a quarterfinal game at Kingston Stadium, while Linn-Mar hosts Waterloo East (0-15) on the other side. City High should face Linn-Mar in the semifinals.
Class 3A Substate 4
The favorite: No. 6 Iowa City West (16-2) rolled to the Valley Division title in the Mississippi Valley Conference. The Trojans have won 12 straight since a loss in penalties at Iowa City Liberty and will look to extend their state record to 22 state appearances.
Top challengers: No. 16 Cedar Falls (11-4) is led by Class 4A goals leader Truman Unruh (36). Waterloo West (10-5) held him and the Tigers scoreless in a 1-0 win earlier this season.
Gazette area games: Cedar Rapids Washington (2-14) visits Waterloo West in the quarterfinals. Iowa City West will host the Dubuque Senior-Davenport Central winner in the semifinals.
Class 3A Substate 5
The favorite: No. 9 Cedar Rapids Prairie (14-3) won the MVC Mississippi Division title outright with a 6-1 record, beating Cedar Falls, 2-1, on the road Tuesday for the crown.
Top challenger: No. 10 Iowa City Liberty (14-3) is having its best season and now moves on to its next goal after missing out on a share of the Mississippi title Tuesday, falling in penalties at City High. The Lightning, who were ranked No. 1 in April, lost 1-0 at Prairie in a pivotal early May divisional game. Cedar Rapids Kennedy (8-8) beat Liberty this season and is a threat to surprise.
Gazette area games: Kennedy battles Dubuque Hempstead (3-10) in Kingston Stadium’s Thursday nightcap, with the winner traveling to Prairie in the semifinals. Liberty hosts the Clinton-North Scott winner in the other semifinal.
Class 2A Substate 3
The favorite: No. 6 Gilbert (14-2) ... or is it No. 7 Cedar Rapids Xavier (7-6)? The Saints played one 2A team all season, a 1-0 defeat to third-ranked Marion, and are seeking a 13th consecutive state tournament appearance.
Top challenger: Gilbert still is the top seed and will host the substate final, where it’s outscored teams 36-4 this spring.
Gazette area games: Xavier hosts Charles City (0-11) in the quarterfinals, while South Tama (6-10) welcomes Iowa Falls-Alden (8-8).
Class 2A Substate 4
The favorite: No. 3 Marion (14-1) won a Wamac divisional title for the fifth straight season, claiming the East and standing atop the conference overall with a perfect record. Jackson Kirsch leads the state with 48 goals.
Top challenger: Decorah (12-3) has double-digit wins in four of the last five seasons but is looking for its first state trip since 2010.
Gazette area games: Decorah hosts West Delaware (1-14) and Western Dubuque (1-11) visits Center Point-Urbana (6-7-1) in the quarterfinals. Marion will play the Maquoketa-DeWitt Central winner in the semifinals.
Class 2A Substate 5
The favorite: No. 4 Bondurant-Farrar (15-2) was the state runner-up to Xavier last season and went undefeated in the Raccoon River Conference this spring.
Top challenger: No. 13 Solon (14-2) moved up a class after falling in penalties to Iowa City Regina in last year’s substate finals. The Spartans ended the regular season with eight straight wins in Wamac play.
Gazette area games: The quarterfinals have a heavy Wamac flavor, with Clear Creek-Amana (6-11) at Benton Community (7-10), Solon hosting A-P/D-NH (1-10) and Independence (3-14) at Mount Vernon (6-10).
Class 2A Substate 6
The favorite: No. 8 Pella (15-2) finished a game back of the Little Hawkeye Conference co-champions.
Top challenger: Fort Madison (12-5) was undefeated in the Southeast Conference, 2-5 against everyone else.
Gazette area games: Washington (11-4) faces Keokuk (2-12) for a third time this season in the opening quarterfinal game at Fort Madison.
Class 1A Substate 2
The favorite: No. 2 North Fayette Valley (13-1) made a surprise run to its first state tournament last season, but won’t shock anyone this spring.
Top challengers: Postville (11-4) lost twice to NFV this season, both by just a goal (2-1 and 3-2). No. 4 Garner GHV (10-4) probably would have fallen in the rankings after a loss Monday.
Gazette area games: NFV faces Belmond-Klemme (1-14) at home and Postville hosts Hampton-Dumont-CAL (7-9) in the quarterfinals.
Class 1A Substate 3
The favorite: No. 9 Dyersville Beckman (12-3) lost only once in Wamac play, in double-overtime against Marion. The Trailblazers might not mind this lower ranking after losing in the substate finals last year as the second-ranked team in the state.
Top challengers: This looks like the deepest substate at the top. No. 14 Iowa City Regina is 8-11 but played a tough, tough schedule and has been to state 13 seasons in a row. No. 15 Waterloo Columbus (9-8) beat Beckman, 2-1, in a tournament. Vinton-Shellsburg (10-5) won the Wamac West and is down a class this spring.
Gazette area games: It’s Monticello (0-9) at Beckman, Clayton Ridge (7-6) at Vinton-Shellsburg, Anamosa (1-13) at Regina and Cedar Valley Christian (6-8) at Waterloo Columbus in the quarterfinals.
Class 1A Substate 4
The favorite: No. 1 Davenport Assumption (10-5) started 2-4 but won eight of its last nine, including three shutouts on its way to the Catholic Schools Invitational title.
Top challenger: No. 16 West Branch (12-2) has Class 1A goals leader Peyton Miller (33) on its side and has increased its win total in all three seasons of the program’s existence.
Gazette area games: Highland (1-11) visits Assumption, West Branch hosts Tipton (4-8) and Cascade (6-7) takes on Clinton Prince of Peace (8-5) at Northeast in the quarterfinal round.
Class 1A Substate 6
The favorite: No. 6 GC-GR (13-1) — that’s Grundy Center and Gladbrook-Reinbeck — has won 12 straight since a 5-4 loss to North Fayette Valley.
Top challengers: No. 13 West Liberty (10-3) ended the regular season with a 1-0 win over Mid-Prairie (10-3) on Tuesday. A rematch is likely in the semifinals. Williamsburg (10-5) was ranked as high as No. 3 this season before a 3-4 finish.
Gazette area games: Sigourney-Keota (1-11) plays its first postseason game at GC-GR, Williamsburg hosts Pella Christian (6-9), West Liberty welcomes Monroe PCM (5-8) and Mid-Prairie hosts Hillcrest Academy (6-8) in the quarterfinals.