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story.lead_photo.caption Bassil Ahmed of Jefferson City settles the ball during a game against Sedalia Smith-Cotton last month at Eddie Horn Field. Photo by Sally Ince / News Tribune.

The Jefferson City Jays are looking to take the next step.

Jefferson City (17-5) will host Springfield Central (15-6) in a Class 4 soccer sectional today at Dwight T. Reed Stadium. Game time is 6 p.m.

The Jays advanced to the sectional with a 2-1 win in penalty kicks last Thursday night against the Rock Bridge Bruins in the District 9 Tournament title game.

It was the second win of the season for Jefferson City against Rock Bridge, which ended the regular season ranked No. 5 in Class 4 by the Missouri Soccer Coaches Association.

Jefferson City, which was receiving votes in the final regular-season rankings, is scoring just under three goals per game this season and allowing less than a goal to its opponents. The Jays have posted 11 shutouts this season.

It's the first state tournament appearance for Jefferson City since 2013, when the Jays fell to Rock Bridge in the Class 3 sectionals.

Springfield Central was the third seed in the District 10 Tournament. But the Bulldogs advanced with a 2-1 win in double-overtime against host Kickapoo before blanking fourth-seeded Waynesville 3-0 in the title contest to win their first district soccer title since 2015.

Springfield Central, winner of seven straight games, is totaling 3.4 goals per contest while allowing 1.4. In their winning streak, the Bulldogs are giving up less than a goal per game.

The Jays and Bulldogs were scheduled to meet in a regular-season contest in late October, but the game was cancelled.

The Jefferson City-Springfield Central winner will face either 10th-ranked Ozark (24-2) or eighth-ranked Lee's Summit West (17-5) in the quarterfinals Saturday. With a win tonight, Jefferson City would host Ozark or play at Lee's Summit West.

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