New system set up for Western Slope girls soccer

Jon Mitchell/Glenwood Springs Post Independent

The 2014-15 winter sports season in Colorado is in full swing, but changes are in store for the upcoming girls soccer season in the spring, according to the Colorado High School Activities Association.

Girls soccer in Colorado will add a fourth classification in the spring, essentially turning what was the Class 3A Western Slope League into a hybrid Class 3A/2A Western Slope League. It also increases the postseason opportunities for the smaller schools that are dropping into the newly formed, 23-team 2A classification.

The new classification arrangement moves four schools — Colorado Rocky Mountain School, Vail Christian, Vail Mountain School and Rangely — into the new 2A classification. It does, however, keep them in the same league as Class 3A teams like Coal Ridge, Roaring Fork, Grand Valley, Rifle, Basalt, Moffat County and Aspen.

CHSAA announced the classification addition in December.

With that new league alignment, however, it tightens the standards for reaching the postseason while giving more opportunities to the schools in the league who didn’t see much success last season.

A total of three automatic state playoff qualifiers will come from the league. Two of the seven 3A teams will earn automatic state playoff berths, with just one of the league’s four 2A team reaching the 2A state playoff bracket. That’s a reduction from last season, when the 3A WSL had four automatic qualifiers.

It does, however, balance out in the end. All total, the 3A state playoffs will have seven at-large state qualifiers — up from five last season — to help fill out the 24-team state playoff bracket.

In Class 2A, 12 teams — making up more than half of what will be the state’s smallest classification — will make up the state-playoff bracket. Six teams around the state will receive automatic berths, with the other six at-large spots in the bracket being determined in part by a seeding committee prior to the regional round of the 2A state playoffs on May 5.

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