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.
1. Catholic (9-1, Class 2, PR: 1) – Before a Sept. 11 home loss to Rogersville, the Irish had conceded four goals in six games. Catholic gave up three goals in the first half alone in an eventual 3-2 loss to the Wildcats. It’s a long season and sometimes you have games like that. I still like the Irish’s resume thus far. They’ve already beaten four Class 4 teams (Republic, Carthage, Ozark and Kickapoo), which is why they’re still No. 1 on this list. Since the loss to Rogersville, Catholic’s bounced back with lopsided wins over Bishop DuBourg (10-0), Festus St. Pius X (6-1) and McDonald County (4-0).
Upcoming schedule: Sept. 20 @ Monett, Sept. 26 @ Carl Junction, Sept. 27-29 @ Kickapoo Shootout
2. Monett (9-1, Class 2, PR: 3) – Death, taxes and Monett scoring goals. Some of the names have changed, but Monett’s attack remains dynamic. The Cubs won their pool in the Parkview Tournament over the weekend with victories over Missouri Military Academy, CBC (JV) and Seckman. Loger Rodriguez has quickly formed a dangerous 1-2 punch with Jason Puente (who had eight goals and two assists in the Parkview Tournament). The Cubs have scored at least two goals in all 10 of their matches. If you’re looking for upcoming games to watch, you can’t do much better than Catholic @ Monett on Sept. 20. Catholic will be looking for revenge after losing to the Cubs in the state playoffs last year.
Upcoming schedule: Sept. 20 vs. Catholic, Sept. 27 @ Republic, Sept. 28-29 @ Kickapoo Shootout, Oct. 1 vs. Marshfield, Oct. 2 @ Rogersville
3. Ozark (9-1, Class 4, PR: 5) – Throw out the home loss to Catholic, and you could make a case for Ozark being No. 1 in the power rankings. I love the aggressive style the Tigers play – they pressure the ball and are quick to counter off takeaways. TK Stine is fun to watch. He unleashed a few rockets in the Tigers’ 3-0 win over Kickapoo last week. Ozark won its pool in the Parkview Tournament last weekend, beating Liberty North (3-1), Central (4-0) and Carthage (1-0). Ozark got a quick rematch with Carthage on Tuesday but prevailed again (2-0) in the official conference meeting.
Upcoming schedule: Sept. 20 @ Parkview, Sept. 25 @ Nixa, Sept. 27 vs. Webb City, Sept. 28-29 @ Rolla Tournament, Oct. 2 @ Joplin
4. Glendale (3-3, Class 3, PR: 2) – We haven’t seen the best from the Falcons yet. They’ve struggled to score against good teams, but I’m still on board with them being a contender in Class 3. After playing only a handful of games the first three weeks, Glendale’s schedule is about to get crazy. Between Sept. 18 and Sept. 29, the Falcons will play nine games. It began last night with a 5-0 home win over Joplin.
Upcoming schedule: Sept. 20 @ West Plains, Sept. 22 vs. Central, Sept. 24 vs. Rolla, Sept. 26 @ Waynesville, Sept. 28-30 @ Kickapoo Shootout
5. Rogersville (6-1, Class 2, PR: 8) – The Catholic hex is finally off the Wildcats’ back. Rogersville beat Catholic 3-2 on Sept. 11, thanks to a first-half onslaught that had the Irish back on their heels. Catholic recovered in the first half, but the Wildcats held on for what has to be considered a milestone victory for the program. Rogersville will have a chance to add to its win total in the coming weeks. The Wildcats then host Monett on Oct. 2 in what could be a district finals preview. You have to figure the Wildcats will be motivated for that one: In the last five meetings, Monett’s outscored Rogersville 34-3. Rogersville’s offense is playing well – they’ve scored at least three goals in six straight matches.
Upcoming schedule: Sept. 20-22 @ Bolivar Tournament, Sept. 25 vs. Cassville, Sept. 27 vs. West Plains, Sept. 28-29 @ Willard Tournament, Oct. 2 vs. Monett
6. Rolla (5-2, Class 3, PR: 4) – The Bulldogs are a couple of goals away from being 7-0. Instead, they have one-goal losses to Washington and Jefferson City. The Bulldogs won a high-scoring match (8-3) against West Plains last night. Rolla’s trip to Glendale next week will go a long way in deciding the Ozark Conference championship. It’s one of several games for the Bulldogs over the next two weeks. Glendale beat Rolla twice last season, including 1-0 in the Class 3 sectionals.
Upcoming schedule: Sept. 21-22 @ Parkway Tournament, Sept. 24 @ Glendale, Sept. 25 vs. Hillcrest, Sept. 28-29 @ Rolla Invitational, Oct. 1 vs. Waynesville
7. Laquey (7-1, Class 1, PR: 10) – Outside of a home loss to Greenwood, the Hornets have handled their business. They’ve beaten every opponent by at least a two-goal margin thus far, including road wins at Fair Grove and New Covenant. I love that the Hornets are willing to play up a level or three, with the likes of Lebanon (Class 4), Willard (Class 3) and Camdenton (Class 3) on the schedule. Senior Brandon MacDonald is a premier scorer at the Class 1 level and headed for some big-time postseason accolades if the Hornets can make a run.
Upcoming games: Sept. 20 vs. Willard, Sept. 21 @ Crocker, Sept. 22 @ Greenwood Classic, Sept. 24 @ Camdenton, Sept. 25 vs. Belle, Sept. 27-29 @ Frisco League Tournament, Oct. 2 @ Lebanon
8. Willard (9-2-1, Class 3, PR: 6) – Rogersville isn’t the only team trying to disrupt the local powers. Willard’s offense has been explosive so far (37 goals in 12 games). Seniors Riley Young (18 goals, six assists) and Cole Oedewaldt (eight goals, 11 assists) have led the way as expected. After a 7-3 home loss to Ozark, Willard reeled off four straight wins, including winning its pool in the Parkview Tournament. Willard lost 4-3 in PKs at Republic last night. Make of PKs what you will, but most soccer people I talk to would prefer to keep playing or simply draw. The Tigers will play seven straight matches away from home between Sept. 14 and Oct. 3.
Upcoming schedule: Sept. 20 @ Laquey, Sept. 25 @ Carthage, Oct. 2 @ Nixa, Oct. 4 vs. Bolivar
9. Carthage (7-3, Class 4, PR: Unranked) – The Tigers faced some uncertainty heading into this season due to a lot of roster turnover. They’ve handled it well. Before last night’s game at Ozark, Carthage’s only two losses were to Catholic (3-2 in PKs in the season opener) and Ozark (1-0 in the third game of the Parkview Tournament). They’ve notched wins over the likes of Glendale, Nixa and Neosho. The defense (six shutouts) has been a pleasant surprise considering they graduated all-state defender John Navarrete. David Garcia (six goals, three assists) and Carlos Maturino (six goals, two assists) have paced the offense. Carthage, a longtime power in Class 3, is showing it’s still a contender after moving up to Class 4. I’m eager to see how they perform against the likes of Smith-Cotton (7-0-1 overall) and Helias Catholic this weekend in Jefferson City.
Upcoming schedule: Sept. 20 @ McDonald County, Sept. 21-22 @ Jefferson City Capital City Soccer Classic, Sept. 25 vs. Willard, Oct. 2 vs. Branson, Oct. 5-6 @ Kansas City Showcase
10. New Covenant (8-3, Class 1, PR: 9) – Despite recent losses to Laquey (4-2) and Parkview (2-1 in PKs), the Warriors continue to play consistent soccer. NCA has a plus-12 goal differential and has played competitively in every match. The Warriors will have played three of the four teams in their district by the end of next week. Depending on the outcome against Fair Grove on Sept. 25, the NCA @ Greenwood match on Oct. 11 may determine the top seed for the Class 1 District 6 tournament. Laquey would likely await in the Class 1 state quarterfinals.
Upcoming schedule: Sept. 24 vs. Richland, Sept. 25 @ Fair Grove, Sept. 27 College Heights Christian, Oct. 1 @ Crocker, Oct. 2 @ Springfield Central
Knocking on the door: Fair Grove (7-4-1, Class 1), Neosho (4-3, Class 3), Nixa (5-4, Class 4), Kickapoo (5-4, Class 4)