This Must Be Fixed   2 comments

Last Thursday was the opening round of the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) girls’ soccer tournament, with regional matches in three classes.  In the nine matches involving Milwaukee Public Schools teams (eight in Division 1 and one in Division 2), the MPS schools went 0-for-9 and were outscored 102-0.  The closest scoreline was 6-0, the largest 21-0, and all but two of the games were double-digit defeats.  No MPS school has made the WIAA state tournament since 1989 (Riverside University High School in a one-class system), with no MPS school participating in a sectional final since 1993 (again, Riverside).  Rufus King, which is on a 93-game unbeaten streak in the City Conference, lost to Germantown by that aforementioned 6-0 scoreline.  Milwaukee School of Languages, the only MPS school that plays in Division 2 and King’s closest competition in the league this year, went down to Shorewood 9-0.

This. Must. Be. Fixed.  There is no reason why EVERY single team went out at the first hurdle except that the mechanisms of the tournament bracket take “the luck of the draw” out of the equation.  When I coached, you knew before the season which teams were in your sectional, that the matchups were randomly determined using the alphabetical listing of the schools, and that every sectional in the state was set up in that manner.  Sometimes, two VERY GOOD teams would have to face off in the first round (for instance, Brookfield East and Brookfield Central) because the draw matrix paired Team 1 vs. Team 2.  Other times, a decent team could navigate their way deep into the tournament through the luck of the drawn bracket and some upsets in other games.  These days, all sectionals are seeded and the draw progresses from that.  This year, the highest seed an MPS school received was a 12 (Milwaukee School of Languages).  Moreso, in the two Division 1 sectionals involving MPS schools, they were seeded 13, 14, 15, and 16 and thus facing a top-four seed out of the gate.

How do we fix this?  To me, the easiest mechanism is to stop assigning schools to divisions for all sports based on enrollment.  In Wisconsin, there is a debate about whether certain schools in boys’ basketball should be placed in a higher division than their enrollment dictates (namely, small, private schools that have dominated in Division 3).  In this light, Milwaukee Pius XI petitioned the WIAA to allow its girls’ basketball team to play in the Division 1 playoffs despite its enrollment placing it in Division 2 (the boys’ team played in their assigned division).  With that in mind, I feel that ALL MPS schools should be able to petition to play in Division 2 for girls’ soccer from a competitive standpoint, with the WIAA also having the ability to move schools up into Division 1 that clearly have the institutional resources to play at that level.  Failing that, the creation of a regional or sub-sectional of JUST MPS schools would help to move the ball forward as it would in most years guarantee one or two schools making it into the sectional level of the competition.  If we are to grow the game in Milwaukee, there needs to be some means of giving our local schools access to playing on a bigger stage where they can actually compete instead of making up the numbers (at least there were no forfeits in this year’s bracket, unlike 2011 where Whitefish Bay made it to sectionals because two MPS schools refused to suffer the humiliation of a beatdown).  What say you?  Do you have any solutions to this dilemma?

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Posted June 5, 2012 by Scott in Uncategorized

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2 responses to “This Must Be Fixed

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  1. Pingback: What Defines a Geographic Area? « Milwaukee United Soccer Club

  2. Pingback: Four Divisions, But More of the Same « Milwaukee United Soccer Club

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