Games of the week
Girls soccerAFNORTH at Alconbury Saturday Both Alconbury and AFNORTH came tantalizingly close to a championship last spring. This time in 2014, the Lions and Dragons played one of the most competitive matches of the Division II European championship tournament, a dramatic 5-4 shootout win for AFNORTH that sent the Lions to an ill-fated championship match with Naples and Alconbury to a failed third-place bid against Vicenza. Realignment will prevent another playoff meeting between AFNORTH and Alconbury, making this Saturday’s game the official rematch of that 2014 tournament classic. By the end of May, both teams might be celebrating championships. AFNORTH is the last unbeaten team in the Division II ranks; Alconbury holds that same distinction in Division III entering the weekend. While stripped of direct title ramifications, Saturday’s clash marks a chance for both to tune up against an opponent as good as any they’re likely to see in the upcoming postseason.
Boys soccerWiesbaden at Vilseck Saturday The Vilseck Falcons earned the signature win of their season on the first try, a 2-1 defeat of defending champion Ramstein on March 21. They’ve been back in the win column just once since, and have gone 0-2 against Division I opponents over that span. The Wiesbaden Warriors have taken an opposite path. Their first win finally arrived Saturday in the form of a 2-1 comeback victory over SHAPE. That victory was just the second time in five games the Warriors had scored a goal. So it’s safe to say that both teams could use a confidence boost as the season enters its final act. And there’s tangible motivation as well; Saturday’s game holds the opportunity for the winner to strengthen its seeding in what promises to be a brutal Division I bracket.
Baseball/softballLakenheath at Ramstein FridayLakenheath at Kaiserslautern Saturday The Lancers’ annual test of strength arrives this weekend as the school makes a two-day swing through the Kaiserslautern Military Community, home of the DODDS-Europe Division I championship tournaments and some of the teams they’ll have to beat to claim them. Lakenheath is slowly returning to its former glory as a titan of Division I softball after a few years of struggling. The Lancers will enter the weekend as one of two remaining unbeaten Division I teams, with Ramstein being the other. Four combined games with the Royals and Raiders should offer a clear-eyed measurement of just where that recovery process stands. Lakenheath has been almost as good on the baseball diamond; the team’s only loss came in a doubleheader split with Wiesbaden on March 28. But the Lancers have been idle since then, and they’ll need to shake off a month’s worth of rust quickly to compete with the defending champion Royals and the contending Raiders.