As expected, the Mississippi 8 Conference champion Wildcats (14-1-1) received the number one seed for the Section 7A playoffs after the best regular season in team history. They were rewarded with a bye in the first round of the playoffs. Their first game will be this Saturday at home at noon against the winner of the opening round game between eighth-seeded Duluth Denfeld and ninth-seeded Proctor.
But despite the Wildcats’ lofty record, Wildcat head coach Mark Leigh isn’t looking beyond the first game. He said “I know it’s a cliché, but we just have to play one game at a time. Our biggest challenge is whoever we are playing that day. Every game is a one-game season now. We know we can compete with every team we might face in sections.” The Wildcats’ 3-1 win over St. Francis last Thursday, October 3 upped their conference record to 8-1 and gave them the abovementioned conference championship in their first year in the Mississippi 8 Conference. The Wildcats have players with injuries that are more than just nagging injuries, but they’re all battling through them in their quest to make it to the state tournament.
Senior Trevor Gervais, who moonlights for the Wildcat football team as a kickoff specialist and touchdown-saving tackler, said “If you would have asked us at the beginning of the season, the way we practiced, none of us would have thought we’d be doing this good. Now, we have a good feeling of going all the way. State champs. I’m really excited for the section tournament, because I know we can do it.” This is the best chance the Wildcats have to qualify for the state tournament since they lost 1-0 games in the section finals in both 2005 and 2006. Second-seeded Monticello and third-seeded Cloquet-Esko-Carlton (C-E-C) are seeded ahead of fourth-seeded Duluth Marshall, but Marshall may present the toughest challenge for the Wildcats despite their .500 record. Marshall, the state tournament entrant from Section 7A last year, played a tougher schedule than Monticello and C-E-C, venturing outside their comfort zone to face teams like Benilde-St. Margaret’s, Rochester Lourdes, Robbinsdale Armstrong, Holy Angels and St. Cloud Cathedral.
The Vikings (2-12-2) are seeded 13th and will head up to Duluth to take on Duluth Marshall (8-8-0) today at 4 p.m. A win would be a tall order for a young Viking squad that has little depth beyond its starters. The Vikings will need senior Brett Bergstrom to step up and put a few balls in the net, much like he did in his five goal performance against Duluth Denfeld earlier this season, in order to have a chance to win. The full bracket is at left. For updates on how the Wildcats are doing, check out www.chisagocountypress.com in the Sports section or follow Chisago County Press on Facebook or Twitter at ChisagoCoPress
SECTION 7A SOCCER UPDATES
Chisago Lakes boys were the first seed and had a bye. They will play Duluth Denfeld, who won their opening round match 2-1 in overtime, on Saturday, Oct. 12 at Chisago Lakes. The Wildcats then shut out Denfeld 3-0 in the quarterfinals. The win moves them to the semi-finals, where they will host Grand Rapids, the fifth seed who beat Dultuh Marshall 4-3 in overtime in the quarters. The game is Tuesday, Oct. 15 at 6 p.m. at Chisago Lakes Stadium. Chisago Lakes beat Grand Rapids in their season opener 2-1.
North Branch boys were seeded 13th and lost 6-1 to Duluth Marshall.