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Suffolk Class AA seedings perplexing

When I went to check the Suffolk Class AA seedings yesterday afternoon, I laughed, hit refresh and expected it to change. It didn’t. Then I went to check my calendar to make sure it was April 1. It wasn’t April Fool’s Day.

I cannot believe the way the seedings were assigned. When it comes to seedings, it can be subjective. People can spin it any way they want. I usually don’t go crazy. I have covered many different sports in the city and Long Island and I don’t recall ever writing a critical post. Just like anything in life people will always be unhappy with something.

But I just don’t understand the logic in this bracket. First, I believe the three best teams on Long Island are in League I as my rankings have showed the last few weeks with Sachem East, Brentwood and Ward Melville the top three on Long Island. That doesn’t mean I am right and I didn’t expect them to be the top three seeds.

Sachem East got the top seed and they deserve it. They didn’t lose a game until the last day of the regular season against Ward Melville in a game that meant nothing since the Flaming Arrows clinched the league title Tuesday.

The second seed went to Half Hollow Hills East, which won League II. They tied No. 6 West Islip and beat them and defeated No. 9 East Islip, but lost to No. 11 North Babylon. The third seed went to Half Hollow Hills West, who won League IV and went unbeaten and had a scoreless tie against Commack, who placed fourth in League I and went 0-5-1 against Sachem East, Ward Melville, and Brentwood.

If the argument for HHHE and HHHW getting higher seeds is because they won the league title, then why did League III winner Smithtown West get seeded seventh, behind No. 4 Ward Melville, No. 5 Brentwood, and No. 6 West Islip?

Is it because Smithtown West had two losses and three ties? Smithtown West lost to Ward Melville, 3-0 so maybe the Patriots should be ahead. But a league winner is seeded seventh? So now winning the league isn’t that big of a deal I guess.

But if league titles mean so much, why isn’t Smithtown West ahead of Brentwood? Both teams had two losses.

I know, you’re saying I am overrating League I. Don’t take it from me. That’s what the seeding committee is telling me. They ranked the four League I teams in the top 8. Sachem East is No. 1, Ward Melville is No. 4, Brentwood is No. 5 and Commack is No. 8. Ward Melville lost to Sachem East and Brentwood and tied Commack. They also beat St. Anthony’s, Brentwood, and Sachem East. Brentwood tied Sachem East, lost to them, and split with Ward Melville.

“There’s no reason to put four teams from one league in the top half of the bracket,” Brentwood coach Ron Eden said. “This isn’t right. If everyone is being truthful, they know who the better teams are.”

Said Suffolk Secretary of boys soccer Don O'Brien: “The main thing is I want to see the best teams play in the finals. With how the seeds were done, we’re not going to know if the two best teams are in League I. My opinion is the best three teams are in League I. At the end of the day, you need to win four games. This tournament is brutal. All the teams are good.”

In League II, HHHE is No. 2, West Islip is No. 6, Northport is No. 10 and Connetquot is No. 15. In League IV, HHHW is No. 3, Deer Park is No. 13, Huntington is No. 16, and Comsewogue is No. 18.

So based on the committee’s seedings, League I is clearly better than both leagues, and superior to League IV. Hills West tied the fourth place team in League I, so wouldn’t it make sense to seed Ward Melville or Brentwood No. 3? There are going to be certain seasons where one league is better than the others. This is one of those seasons and that has to be a factor.

Even if you disagree with all of the above, explain to me how all the League I teams are in the same half of the bracket. If the seeds hold to form, Sachem East could face Commack in the quarterfinals and Ward Melville could play Brentwood. The committee, which clearly indicates League I is the top league, made it possible that two of those teams won’t even have a chance at the semifinals.

I know that committees usually try to avoid teams in the same league playing in the first round. The same should be attempted for the second round. This easily could have been shifted by putting Brentwood sixth and Commack 10th. Instead we have four League I teams in one half of the bracket and four League II teams in the other half.

“Nothing makes sense,” Ward Melville coach Jon Stecker said. “I thought the seeding committee is supposed to be the voice of reason.  I think they really got it wrong. This is about the kids. If you look the numbers, the wins, and the losses it doesn’t add up.”

“It doesn’t make any sense,” Commack coach Dave Viegas said. “The top half of the bracket is very difficult.”


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