Top four WDA finishers in standings will advance to state tournament

BISMARCK – The 2024 girls' soccer season will begin matches in April, and there is one significant change to this season. No postseason conference tournament. Conference officials, with input from coaches, decided the top four finishers in the WDA standings will advance to the state tournament later this spring. This method was used when the NDHSAA began sponsoring the sport in 1996. From 2018 to last year (excluding 2020 ), a conference tournament was conducted. That tournament featured two state-qualifying matches and a championship match between the WDA's top two finishers. Those teams already qualified, but the match determined which would receive the top seed from the West for the state tournament. The number of participating schools in the conference has grown in recent years. Williston added a program in 2022 and Dickinson in 2023. And next spring is the expected addition of Minot North. With 10 teams and just two months of regular season play, it was not possible to complete a double round robin schedule and conduct a conference tournament. Also, coaches expressed concern about playing three matches each week throughout the season. By not holding a conference tournament, one more week was free to schedule matches, thus allowing more rest and recovery time. Conference officials will revisit in the future whether to bring back a conference tournament. Three-time defending champion Minot High will host this year's state tournament, May 30-June  1.