Coaches eliminate CIC soccer tournament

Wednesday, March 20, 2013 - 19:00

With just an eight-week season, every Cook Inlet Conference soccer match is important. This year, they’re even more crucial.

At the end of last season, the head coaches voted to eliminate the conference tournament and all eight CIC principals approved the change, according to Vikki McConnell, coordinating assistant principal for soccer. That means the top three boys and girls teams in the conference at the end of the regular season advance to state.

“Right from the start, every game counts,” Chugiak girls head coach Paul Brehmer said.

The new format helps spread the season out by playing regular season games during the week typically slated for the CIC tournament, Brehmer said.

“It stretches our season out another week,” he said.

It also gives teams a chance to enter the state tournament more rested, he said, as they won’t be battling one another for a state berth.

On the other hand, Brehmer said, doing away with the CIC tournament removes the possibility for lower ranked teams — who might be coming together at the end of the season — to make up for early season losses.

“There’s pluses and minuses,” he said.

Had this rule been in effect last season, the Mustangs would have punched their ticket to Juneau. As it was, sixth-seeded Eagle River upset No. 3 Chugiak in the first round of the conference tourney.

Like Brehmer, first-year Chugiak boys head coach Matt Miller sees pros and cons. A two-week skid would likely knock a squad out of state contention.

“It is what it is,” Miller said. “We’ll see how it goes this year.” The rule change will be up for debate at the end of the year.

Eagle River boys head coach Eric Dearborn echoed Miller’s and Brehmer’s comments. But, Dearborn said, his main concern is being competitive each game.

“I’m just trying to focus on putting the best squad out on the pitch,” he said.

First-year Eagle River girls head coach Trent Boggs has a similar attitude. The new rule doesn’t mean much to Boggs, as he’s more concerned with building a “players mentality” than he is with the postseason.

That attitude benefits the team, he said.

“It leads to a happier, more cohesive group of players,” Boggs said.

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