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Challenge Cup: Playoff dancers decided, but dance cards still to be filled out

Holy Cross rebounded from a slow start to win its third provincial men’s soccer title in four years, and seventh in the past 10 seasons in 2017.
The Holy Cross Crusaders celebrated a Challenge Cup win last year at King George V Park in St. John’s and will have a chance to do so again. Even though there are three weeks remaining in the regular season for the six-team provincial men’s soccer league, the four clubs which will advance to the playoffs — including Holy Cross — are already known. — Telegram file photo/Keith Gosse

There's been an early determination of teams for Challenge Cup championship tournament that willl now be played at KGV

There are still over a dozen regular-season games remaining, but the four playoff teams in the Johnson Insurance Challenge Cup provincial men’s soccer league have already been decided. Nevertheless, determination of the final playoff matchups for the championship tournament might not happen until the last game or two.

That’s because only four points separate those guaranteed playoff clubs — first-place Feildians (34 pts, four games remaining), defending champion Holy Cross (31 points, five games remaining), St. Lawrence Laurentians (31 points, three games remaining), and C.B.S. That Pro Look Strikers (30 points, four games remaining).

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Plenty of challengers for first in Challenge Cup

The championship weekend will be held Labour Day weekend (Aug. 31-Sept. 2) at King George V Park in St. John’s and the location reflects the fact Mount Pearl ProActive Physio has been mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. The tourney had originally been scheduled for the Gushue Complex in Mount Pearl, but with no chance of a true home side being involved, it’s been moved.

KGV will also be site of the  Breen’s Jubilee Trophy women’s soccer league championship tournament that starts next Monday.
First-place and defending champion Holy Cross Avalon Ford, C.B.S. Kirby United, Feildians Greensleeves and Mount Pearl will be the four participating teams.

Mount Pearl will actually finish behind the St. John’s Under-17s in the standings, but because the U17s are participating in the league on an exhibition basis (they play 12 regular-season games, while the others have a 15-game schedule), they are not playoff eligible.

The championships will use the Page Playoff systems, with the first- and second-place teams squaring off and the winner advancing directly to the final. The 1-2 loser remains alive to play in what is effectively a semifinal, when it takes on the winner of a game between the third- and fourth-place teams.

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