Soccer: Anoka top seed in 8AA girls; Royals face Elks

by Bruce Strand, Sports editor

The Anoka Tornadoes got the No. 1 seed in a jumbled, wide-open Section 8AA girls soccer tournament that includes Rogers and Elk River, who’ll face each other.

Rogers, state champion in Class A last year, is seeded fourth, and Elk River, section champ the past two years, is fifth. They’ll duel Thursday in Rogers at 5 p.m.

St. Michael-Albertville is No. 2 and Buffalo No. 3, both slipping ahead of Rogers, which had won 20 straight conference matches before tying STMA 0-0 and losing to Buffalo 1-0 in the final week.

“It’s really hard (to determine seedings) because we had that loss to Buffalo,  and we beat Elk River, but Elk River beat Anoka,” said Rogers coach Holly Sutton.

Each coach stated their team’s case in writing, then read the others’ statements and voted (excluding their own team).

“We’re the only section that doesn’t meet face-to-face,” said Elk coach Brian Steuter, “because we are too spread out.”

This was the first year they’ve circulated the written statements before voting.

“We don’t all see each other,” said Steuter, “so a lot of teams felt more comfortable doing it this way.”

Seeds are crucial, as the whole tournament this year will be played at high seeds. The finals were played at St.Cloud State the last two years.

In the top bracket Thursday, No. 1 Anoka (7-5-4) hosts No. 8 Brainerd (7-8-1)  while No. 4 Rogers (8-6-2) hosts No. 5 Elk River (5-10-1).

In the bottom bracket, No. 2 STMA (10-2-4) will host No. 7 St. Cloud Tech (7-5-4) while No. 3 Buffalo (9-5-2) hosts No. 6 Moorhead (10-4-2).

Semifinals will be held Saturday at 1 p.m, and finals Tuesday at 4 or 7 p.m.