By Kai Raymer (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
Our power rankings are based on dominance by class. Strength of schedule and recent success are also considered. Power rankings will be released every two weeks throughout the regular season.
Overall record, Class level and previous ranking are listed in parenthesis.
- Catholic (4-0, Class 2, PR: 2) – The Irish have hit the ground running with victories over Republic, Carthage (PKs), Pembroke Hill and Marshfield. Already beating a pair of solid Class 4 teams (Carthage, Republic) has to make you feel good about the Irish’s chances in the Class 2 postseason. Against Carthage, Catholic let a 1-0 halftime lead slip away but recovered with a goal from Calvin Sanders with six minutes left in regulation to tie the match then won in PKs. Catholic got an early second-half goal from Reese Cornwell to defeat 2017 final four participant (Class 3) Republic in its season opener. The Irish rolled to a 6-0 home win over Marshfield last night.
Upcoming games: Sept. 6 @ Ozark, Sept. 8 vs. Kickapoo, Sept. 11 vs. Rogersville, Sept. 14 vs. Bishop DuBourg,
- Glendale (1-2, Class 3, PR: 1) – How’s that for a bounce back? The Falcons didn’t have much time to sulk after a disappointing season-opening loss to Ozark. Maybe that was a good thing. Twenty-four hours after a 3-0 loss to Ozark, Glendale had a respectable 2-1 overtime loss to St. Louis University High. The Falcons followed that up by beating DeSmet 1-0 the next day, on a goal in the final minute from do-everything defender Mitch Stephens. Max Elmer provided the goal against SLUH. SLUH and DeSmet, both Class 4 schools, combined for 36 wins last season. The Falcons may have found their footing.
Upcoming games: Sept. 6 @ Carthage, Sept. 11 vs. Camdenton, Sept. 18 vs. Joplin
- Monett (2-0, Class 2, PR: 4) – The Cubs never lack for exciting matches, and we’re seeing more of that this year. They spotted Branson three goals in the first 20 minutes of their season opener, then ripped off five unanswered goals to win 5-3. Monett took down another Class 4 opponent on Aug. 28, as Jason Puente recorded a hat trick in a 3-1 win over Joplin. Puente has five goals through two games. The Cubs host Nixa on Sept. 6 in what could be their toughest test until a Sept. 20 home match against Springfield Catholic.
Upcoming games: Sept. 6 vs. Nixa, Sept. 10 @ Aurora, Sept. 11 vs. Carl Junction, Sept. 13 vs. McDonald County, Sept. 14-15 @ Parkview Viking Class, Sept. 18 vs. Central, Sept. 20 vs. Catholic
- Rolla (1-1, Class 3, PR: 3) – The Bulldogs couldn’t make an early 1-0 lead hold up against Washington on Tuesday, as they fell 2-1 in Pacific Tournament competition. Jarret Gabriele scored Rolla’s lone goal. Rolla displayed some of its offensive potential in its season opener. The Bulldogs dismantled Pacific 7-0. Five different players reached the back of the net for Rolla.
Upcoming games: Sept. 4-6 @ Pacific Tournament, Sept. 11 @ Parkview, Sept. 12 vs. Jefferson City, Sept. 18 vs. West Plains
- Ozark (3-0, Class 4, PR: 7) – If Republic was our breakout team last year, is it Ozark this year? That may not be entirely fair to say considering Ozark reached the Class 4 quarterfinals as recently as 2016. But the red and white Tigers may have a higher ceiling than two years ago, if their 3-0 thrashing of Glendale is any indication. In my time covering local soccer, I don’t recall ever seeing Glendale dominated in all facets of the game like they were against Ozark. It’d be one thing if Ozark was packing everyone back and trying to spring a few long counters to Lawson Spence, but the Tigers controlled the game from the midfield, were making great passes and allowed Glendale almost no scoring chances for the first 60 minutes. Making the final four in Class 4 is much more challenging than Class 3, so Glendale stays higher in the rankings for now, but I’m eager to see if Ozark can maintain the level of play they showed against Glendale. After beating Branson 4-0 last night, Ozark’s now outscored its opponents 13-0 through three games.
Upcoming games: Sept. 6 vs. Catholic, Sept. 11 @ Willard, Sept. 12 @ Kickapoo
- Willard (4-0-1, Class 3, PR: Unranked) – Willard makes a big leap in this week’s power rankings, and deservedly so. The Tigers have had one of the best overall starts of any area team. They already have wins over Oak Grove, Joplin, Rogersville and Webb City, and tied 2017 Class 4 quarterfinalist Smith-Cotton on Smith-Cotton’s home field. Smith-Cotton recently won 1-0 at Republic. With only three starters back, it looked like a rebuilding year for Willard. Instead, the Tigers could stand in the way of Glendale or Rolla making it to the final four. A stretch of upcoming home matches gives Willard a chance to add to its win total.
Upcoming games: Sept. 6 vs. Waynesville, Sept. 11 vs. Ozark, Sept. 13 vs. Carl Junction, Sept. 14-15 @ Parkview Viking Classic
- Kickapoo (2-2, Class 4, PR: 4) – The Chiefs, never one to back down from competition, traveled to Columbia on Aug. 25 for a season-opening doubleheader against Hickman (1-0 loss) and Rock Bridge (6-2 loss). The losses may sting now, but the Chiefs have proven they’ll usually be ready to play their best come October. Kickapoo’s since beat Nixa (2-1) and Pembroke Hill (2-1) in overtime. Beginning Wednesday, the Chiefs play five games in eight days.
Upcoming games: Sept. 5 vs. Camdenton, Sept. 6 @ Central, Sept. 8 @ Springfield Catholic, Sept. 11 @ Lebanon, Sept. 12 vs. Ozark
- Rogersville (1-1, Class 2, PR: 8) – After a sluggish 6-1 loss to Willard in its season opener, the Wildcats responded by beating Bolivar 3-0 at home Tuesday night. I don’t think that’s the last shutout we’ll see from what should be a strong defensive unit. Willard’s another team that will have a busy schedule in the next 1-2 weeks.
Upcoming games: Sept. 6 @ Lebanon, Sept. 7 @ Aurora, Sept. 11 @ Catholic, Sept. 13 @ Webb City, Sept. 18 vs. Marshfield
- New Covenant (4-1, Class 1, PR: Unranked) – The Warriors could be ready to make history this year. After a close, season-opening loss to Bolivar, the Warriors beat Cassville, Thomas Jefferson and McDonald County (PKs) last week to win the Cassville Classic. On Tuesday, they thumped Aurora 4-1. NCA’s almost halfway to surpassing the most wins they have had (nine) since 2010, and they still have at least a month and a half to go. Sophomore Dake Winslow leads NCA with six goals and two assists. Senior Luke O’Dell and sophomore Noah Smothers give NCA two more reliable offensive options.
Upcoming games: Sept. 6-8 Warrior Classic, Sept. 11 vs. Laquey, Sept. 13 @ Dixon, Sept. 17 vs. Parkview
- Laquey (3-1, Class 1, PR: 9) – I was all set to rank the Hornets at No. 6 this week, and then Greenwood had other ideas. The Blue Jays went up to Laquey and handed the Hornets a 3-2 home loss on Tuesday. As always, the local Class 1 soccer scene is muddled and unpredictable. Up is down, down is up. Before last night, the Hornets had steamrolled everyone in their path thus far with convincing wins over College Heights, Dixon and Cassville (+19 goal differential). Laquey enters an upcoming stretch of games against many Class 1 opponents it could meet again in the postseason.
Upcoming games: Sept. 6 @ Fair Grove, Sept. 11 @ New Covenant, Sept. 16 vs. Maranatha Baptist, Sept. 20 vs. Willard, Sept. 21 @ Crocker, Sept. 22 @ Greenwood Classic, Sept. 24 @ Camdenton, Sept. 25 vs. Belle
Knocking on the door: Greenwood (Class 1), Fair Grove (Class 1), Neosho (Class 3), Republic (Class 4) Nixa (Class 4), Carthage (Class 4)