Games to Watch: May 8 to May 15
Two more champions will hoist trophies by this time next week and there are powerhouse programs vying to claim that distinction in Georgia and Texas this weekend. Also among this week's must-see games, the Orange County title is on the line in SoCal and defending champion St. Margaret's Episcopal out of San Juan Capistrano looks to repeat.
On the other coast, a meeting of top teams in the North Carolina playoffs could have a dramatic impact on this week's Rising State-by-State Rankings.
Cardinal Gibbons (Raleigh, N.C.) vs. Apex (Apex, N.C.), May 10
Two of the Top 4 teams in the 3d Rising State Rankings meet in the third round of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association Class 4A playoffs and for the first time this season. Cardinal Gibbons lost just one game to an in-state opponent this season, 9-7 to Charlotte Catholic (Charlotte) on April 2. Since then, they have won eight straight games, including a 12-6 win over No. 7 Green Hope (Cary) in the second round of the playoffs. Apex has won 10 straight since a 14-13 overtime loss to Marvin Ridge (Waxhaw) on April 2. Apex defeated Green Hope on April 29, 15-10.
St. Margaret’s Episcopal vs. Corona del Mar (Newport Beach, Calif.), May 11
The Orange County championship is on the line when the Tartans and Sea Kings square off Wednesday. St. Margaret’s won the title last year 14-9 over JSerra Catholic (San Juan Capistrano, California) last season. Sam Harnisch has been on a roll this season, reaching 300 career points. Nick Shanks had four goals and four assists in the first round win over Servite (Anaheim, California) and had five goals in the semifinal win over Foothill-Santa Ana (Santa Ana, California). Stephen von der Ahe led Corona del Mar with four goals in the semifinal win over Santa Margarita Catholic (Rancho Santa Margarita, California). These teams met on March 29 with Corona del Mar coming out on top 8-7.
Georgia State Class 6A Championship, May 14
Four of the Top 10 teams in the 3d Rising State Rankings meet in the final four on Wednesday, with the winners playing in the championship game on Saturday. Lambert (Suwanee) is the heavy favorite as the No. 1 team in the state, a 19 game winning streak and wins over four other ranked teams this year. The defense has not allowed a team more than six goals in a game since March 11. The offense has scored at least 13 goals in their last seven. The Longhorns face Etowah (Woodstock) in the semifinal and will be the first meeting of these teams this year. No. 5 Lassiter (Marietta) and No. 4 North Gwinnett (Suwanee) meet in the other half of the semifinal bracket. They met on March 7 with North Gwinnett coming out on top, 10-3.
Texas State Championship, May 15
The final four is set with Episcopal School (Dallas), Dallas Jesuit (Dallas), Westlake (Austin) and Highland Park (Dallas) all meeting in the semifinals on May 14. Highland Park has to be the favorite as the defending champion and having yet to lose to an in-state opponent this season. The Scots face Westlake on Saturday. This will be the second meeting of the year between Episcopal School and Dallas Jesuit. Dallas Jesuit defeated Episcopal 7-6 on April 22. Highland Park has defeated all three of the other semifinalists this season.