Notebook: State tourneys bring youth summer soccer to close

Local teams involved in 14 title games

Clara Avery (white uniform) of the Dakota Rev Riot races two Tonka United players to the ball during the girls Under-11 Classic 1 championship game last week in Lakeville. Photo by John Sherman
Clara Avery (white uniform) of the Dakota Rev Riot races two Tonka United players to the ball during the girls Under-11 Classic 1 championship game last week in Lakeville. Photo by John Sherman

The summer youth soccer season closed last week with state tournament games in Lakeville, Shakopee and White Bear Lake.

Fourteen teams from the Sun Thisweek coverage area reached championship games at the Minnesota Youth Soccer Association summer state tournament including the girls Under-15 Classic 1 title game, where Burnsville defeated Lakeville 2-0.

Several Lakeville teams got to play in their hometown at Steve Michaud Park, the site of state tournament play for the U11 through U13 boys and girls. Lakeville boys teams won the U11 Classic 1 and Classic 2 titles, defeating Eau Claire, Wis., 5-2 in Classic 1 and Orono 5-1 in Classic 2.

Chanhassen/Chaska beat Lakeville 2-1 in the girls U11 Classic 3 final. Tonka United edged Lakeville 3-2 in the girls U12 Classic 2 final, and Minnesota Thunder Academy defeated Lakeville 4-0 in the girls U13 Classic 1 final.

Lakeville earned a state title in the girls U16 Classic 3 division, defeating Gitchi Gummi 2-1 in the final.

Valley United earned two state championships, beating Owatonna 3-1 in the girls U12 Classic 3 final and knocking off Central Minnesota 2-0 in the girls U17 Classic 2 division.

Dakota Rev teams reached three championship games but lost all three. Tonka United defeated Dakota Rev 2-0 in the girls U11 Classic 1 final. In girls U11 Classic 2, Central Minnesota beat Dakota Rev 4-2. Minneapolis United was a 4-2 winner over Dakota Rev in the boys U17 Classic 1 title game.

Eagan Wave reached the championship game in the boys U15 Classic 2 division but lost to Eden Prairie 4-1.

Pulley Panthers win AAU title

Apple Valley High School incoming senior Tyus Jones had 20 points, eight assists and three rebounds in helping lead the Howard Pulley Panthers to a 79-72 victory over Each 1 Teach 1 in the championship game of the AAU 17U Super Showcase basketball tournament last week in Orlando, Fla.

The Panthers, based at the High Performance Academy in Eagan, also got 25 points and 10 rebounds from De La Salle incoming senior Reid Travis. They fell behind E1T1 by 11 points early in the game before coming back. E1T1, based in Florida, won the Nike Peach Jam tournament in July, an event the Panthers also played.

The Super Showcase likely ended Jones’ AAU basketball career. He now turns his attention to high school basketball – Apple Valley is defending state Class 4A champion – and selecting a college. Jones has said he is still considering Duke, Kentucky, Kansas, Michigan State, Ohio State, Baylor and Minnesota. He has not set a date for a decision, although it’s likely to be on or before Nov. 13, the first day of the early National Letter of Intent signing period for basketball.

Legion playoff changes

The last two years Burnsville, Eastview and Lakeville North all reached the state American Legion baseball tournament. That could not happen this year because of a change in the state Legion playoff structure that placed Eastview and Lakeville North in the same Sub-State tourney from which only one team could advance to state. Eastview won that tournament. Burnsville won a different Sub-State tourney and will join Eastview at the state tournament that begins Friday in Edina, Chanhassen, Eden Prairie and Richfield.

The changes grouped the state’s Division I Legion programs into 15 Sub-State brackets with roughly the same number of teams. That is a departure from the previous district tournament system in which there were wide disparities in the number of teams per district. Because of that, some districts got as many as four teams through to the state tournament, while others got only one. That led to a large number of state tournament qualifiers coming from the southern and western suburbs.

This year’s tournament is still suburb-heavy, with 10 of the 16 qualifiers coming from the metro area. Eastview Thunder coach Bob Klefsaas said he’s not convinced it’s a better playoff system.

“We’ll have to see how it goes at the state tournament, but our Sub-State tournament had several teams that I think could go to state and do very well,” Klefsaas said. “We’re happy to have won it, but Eagan, Lakeville North and Prior Lake are very good teams, too. It’s kind of disappointing only one of us gets to go. I hope they’ll look at tweaking it.”

Said Burnsville coach Greg Nesbitt: “It’s similar to a high school section tournament, except that you usually get a day off between games in the high school sections. In our old district tournament you had to worry about 16 other teams, where now you have to worry about eight. But you still have to play good baseball for four days to win it.”