Chatham County girls’ soccer playoff preview

Potential seeds, fates for county teams in the state tournament


The time for what could be a successful playoff showing from Chatham County’s girls’ soccer teams is finally here.

Before the first round of the state playoffs gets started Monday, the North Carolina High School Athletic Association will release the girls’ soccer playoff brackets Friday.

Looking at the NCHSAA’s RPI standings as of Sunday, all five of the county’s teams are expected to make the cut for their respective brackets. Some teams enjoyed great seasons and set themselves in good position for favorable seeding while other teams are fighting for position in the last spots.

The NCHSAA’s RPI, or ratings percentage index, system can help predict where teams will land, or seed, in their respective brackets. RPI considers the winning percentage of a team, its opponents and its opponents’ opponents when determining how a team will be seeded. Conference winners get seeded first based on their RPI, and then the rest of the brackets are filled with at-large teams also seeded by their RPI.

Here’s an early playoff preview for Chatham County’s girls soccer teams based on the RPI standings updated Sunday:

Seaforth (2A East, automatic bid)

Conference record/place (as of Sunday): 12-0, First place

RPI: 0.622228

Projected seed: 4

Before Monday, Seaforth shut out 10 straight opponents, including Woods Charter, the No. 4 team in the 1A East RPI standings, and Clinton, the No. 9 team in the 2A East RPI standings. Led by sophomore Sofia Viana and a stout defense, the Hawks have been dominant this season, and in the first few rounds of the state tournament, that should continue. Should it hold on to the fourth seed, Seaforth will host at least the first three rounds of the playoffs, and it has not lost at home this season. Things are pointing towards a deep playoff run for the Hawks, who boast a better team than last year’s squad that went to the third round, and if they can pull out wins against the top competition in the later rounds, a state title is within reach.

Northwood (2A East, automatic bid)

Conference record/place (as of Sunday): 11-3, Second place

RPI: 0.531011

Projected seed: 14

Northwood will likely travel to a tough opponent early in the playoffs should it land at the 14 seed. The Chargers have been playing well in the final stretch of the regular season, winning seven of their last nine games before Monday. However, the Chargers are 1-4 in non-conference games in the same time frame. Being able to win in an unfamiliar environment against unfamiliar opponents will be crucial for the Chargers if they want to make some noise this year.

Jordan-Matthews (2A East)

Conference record/place (as of Sunday): 6-5-1, Fourth place

RPI: 0.441789

Projected seed: 29

Jordan-Matthews has done well against teams at or below its level this season, finding most of its success in conference play. However, against non-conference competition or against the best teams in the conference, the Jets have been outmatched. Jordan-Matthews is 1-5 in non-conference play and before Monday, it’s 0-5 against the top three Mid-Carolina 1A/2A teams (Seaforth, Northwood and Southeast Alamance). As a 29 seed, the Jets will likely travel to a team of high caliber, giving them a tough task if they want to pull off an upset.

Woods Charter (1A East, automatic bid)

Conference record/place (as of Sunday): 10-0, First place

RPI: 0.569061

Projected seed: 4

Woods Charter, the 2023 state runner up, has been a dominant force this season behind its solid, physical defense and its offensive attack led by sophomore Amelia Cherry. Like Seaforth, their season indicates a deep playoff run as well. The Wolves only took bumps to teams in higher classifications, going undefeated at the 1A level, and as a four seed, they’ll host at least the first three rounds of the playoffs. They also have valuable experience from last year’s state title game in which Woods Charter lost to Christ the King, 1-0.

Chatham Charter (1A East)

Conference record/place (as of Sunday): 2-8, Sixth place

RPI: 0.332960

Projected seed: 30

Chatham Charter didn’t have a lot going for itself this season, losing nine straight games before Monday. The Knights will start the playoffs against one of the best teams in 1A East should they hold on to the 30th spot, and looking at how their season has gone and how they’ve struggled to score, an upset will be unlikely.