There won’t quite be a unifying of the belts this weekend, but it’s as close it gets in high school soccer.
When boys Class A No. 1 Omaha Creighton Prep and Omaha Skutt — top-ranked in Class B — square off in the first game of the St. Ignatius Cup Saturday at 9 a.m., the game will feature not only the teams atop each set of rankings.
But it will also pit the two defending champions against each other in as much of an early-season test as either could get.
“We’re very excited,” Prep co-coach Jim Swanson said. “With our Catholic connections and the fact that the kids play club together, it should be fun.”
The fourth installment of Prep’s own tournament again features Lincoln Pius X and Columbus Scotus. Those two square off at 11 a.m., with losers of the two games playing for third at 1 p.m. and the championship to follow at 3.
After missing each other in the tournament’s inaugural year — Skutt won the championship that season and it was cancelled because of snow in 2011 — Skutt and Prep played for last year’s St. Ignatius title, a game the host Junior Jays won 3-1. It was Skutt’s only loss of the season.
“We learned that we weren’t too bad,” SkyHawk coach Rob Meyers said of the 2012 meeting. “It was a very physical game. I’m not sure they were expecting that from us. I don’t think that’s going to sneak up on them this time.”
Skutt is already 3-0 heading into Thursday’s home match with Ralston. The SkyHawks and Creighton keeper recruit Michael Kluver are yet to give up a goal.
Prep won its only game of the season 9-0 and return All-Nebraska captain Mark Moulton, a UNO recruit. The Junior Jays are trying to become the first Class A team in Nebraska history to win three titles in a row.
“We don’t know if we can beat them,” Meyers said, “but we’d like the shot.”
Despite the quality on the field, it doesn’t seem as if it will be played in ideal conditions. Forecasts currently have a high of just 34 degrees for the day, although morning temperatures for the opening game will probably be closer to the expected low of 25.
There is also a good chance of rain or snow later in the day. Skutt had its match scheduled for Tuesday against Class B No. 2 South Sioux City called off because of weather and field conditions.
“We’re sick of it,” Meyers said of the colder start to this season. “I don’t know if the cold affects things as much. I would say the wind changes the game. Once the kids get going, they’re usually pretty good.”
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