The signs that the fall prep season is coming to a close are surfacing. A girls’ state champion in Ohio was crowned last weekend and boys in Maryland and Ohio will compete for the same honor this weekend. In California the section championships don’t arrive until November but key tournaments signify the beginning of the end for the busiest of competitive high school seasons in the US. Two of those events take place this weekend 500 miles apart.
The San Diego Invitational, a tournament so big that competition actually started last Monday, kicked off in earnest on Thursday with 14 matches featuring teams from as far away as Washington. Their defending state champions Bellevue already notched two victories in opening round games, including a one-goal win over San Diego’s Grossmont, which was seeded first in their bracket and sixth in the region. Washington rivals Mercer Island and Oregon powerhouse Southridge have also made the trek to sunny SoCal. San Diego No. 9 Westview is also participating. Check here for the entire tournament schedule and results.
Up north, Sacred Heart Prep and Menlo-Atherton are hosting the North/South Challenge, perhaps the most prestigious of all fall tournaments, this year featuring the two boys’ teams widely acknowledged to be the nation’s best. No. 2 Mater Dei has won the challenge four years running after defeating Harvard-Westlake in the 2013 final. That was the last time the Monarchs outscored the Wolverines, a team that has not lost a game since and is now widely acknowledged to be the nation’s best.
Harvard-Westlake will take on c0-hosts Menlo-Atherton in their first round match this morning while Mater Dei opens against Central California’s Davis High School. Sacred Heat Prep earned the number one seed among NorCal teams and placed third in the tournament in 2013. They will begin their attempt at an upset over the SoCal giants with an opening game against Villa Park. A schedule and all the results can be found on SHP’s tournament central.