The NJSIAA has released its playoff brackets for boys’ and girls’ soccer and three local teams have been included in the fields.
On the boys’ side, Cherry Hill East has earned a No. 13 seed, while West earned a No. 15 seed.
The Cougars will take on a familiar foe in No. 4 Lenape on Monday.
Despite the nine-place drop-off in the seedings, Cherry Hill East matches up quite well with the Indians. The two teams split the season series with each squad recording a 1-0 victory. Cherry Hill East got the better of Lenape last Wednesday thanks to a goal by Jake Russ and 10 saves by Steven Oberlander.
The Cougars are also entering the playoffs with the confidence that they can beat anyone in the bracket, after marching all the way to the finals of the prestigious Coaches Cup, which will be contested Saturday.
The winner of Monday’s contest will take on the winner of No. 5 Eastern/No. 12 Toms River South in the quarterfinals.
The road will also be a tough one for the Lions (12-4-2), who drew a No. 15 seed and will travel to take on No. 2 Washington Township. The two teams met on Oct. 5, with the Minutemen pulling out a 1-0 victory. Washington Township (16-3-1) out-shot West, 15-4.
The winner of that first-round contest—scheduled for Monday—will face the victor of N0. 7 Egg Harbor/No. 10 Millville.
The West girls will have a massive challenge on their hands as they will take on No. 1 Eastern. The Lions (9-8) snagged the No. 16 seed by reaching the cutoff at .500.
Eastern has been virtually unbeatable this season, producing a 19-1 record. The two teams met way back on Sept. 6—the opener for West—with Eastern scoring a 2-0 victory. Eastern got one goal in each half, while goalie Imani Taylor needed just two saves to record the shutout.
The winner of Tuesday’s matchup will advance to face the winner of No. 8 Egg Harbor/No. 9 Millville. Other top seeds in the bracket include Lenape (2), Toms River North (3) and Cherokee (4).
The Cougars girls were left out of the playoffs due to a late season surge by Clearview, Vineland and Toms River South. It’s a tough break for a team that was invited to the Coaches Cup, which takes the best 16 teams in South Jersey as voted by the coaches, and reached the quarterfinals.
Weather threatens the postponement of the first round games, and Patch will keep you update on any cancellations or changes.