match with top-seed El Camino Real (16-1-2).
But thanks to a six-to-five vote in favor of Cleveland, the Dons
(10-4-3) were awarded the top seed in the Invitational draw, and will
host Fremont (4-6-2) at 3 p.m. Tuesday in their first-round match.
"We couldn't have hoped for anything else," said Koons, whose team
finished in a second-place tie in the Sunset Six League with Canoga Park,
but had the tie-breaker based on a better record in head-to-head matches.
"There were three teams up for the 16 seed and I was just dreading the
outcome, but once Cleveland got the vote, I was so relieved," Koons
"We have a pretty good draw with Fremont, because they're the
fourth-place team in the Coliseum League, which is generally regarded as
one of the weaker leagues."
Sunset Six League champion Grant (18-1-1) was the only team from the
league selected among the top 16 squads in the Championship bracket, as
the Lancersearned the No. 4 seed.
The Dons, Canoga Park (7-6-3) and L.A. Poly (6-10-2) were all selected
to the Invitational bracket. Koons' squad went 1-0-1 against both teams
in league, and could face either squad if it advances to the semifinals
"The playoffs are a strange thing," said Koons, whose team won its
first playoff match in his tenure last season against L.A. Center for
Enriched Studies in the Invitational bracket.
"But this team can go one of two ways. I wouldn't be surprised if it's
5-0 [against Fremont], or if it's 0-0 and it goes to penalty kicks.
"We still don't have all our players -- especially our forwards --
healthy and that makes a big difference."
The winner of Tuesday's match will play No. 8-seed Garfield (7-3-2) or
No. 9-seed Manual Arts (5-3-5) at 3 p.m. Friday. Should the Dons,
continue to win, they would hold home-field advantage throughout the
playoffs until the finals at 11 a.m. March 4 at UCLA's Drake Stadium.