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Random thoughts from a memorable WSC

As great as that championship battle between California and San Ramon Valley was tonight (the Grizzlies won 2-1 in overtime to claim their second straight Gold Division title), there was no more fitting way to end it than with the game’s best shot from the game’s best player, California’s Andrew Wiedeman.
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If there was an MVP award for the Winter Soccer Classic, it would have gone to Wiedeman. The Cal-bound senior scored four goals and had two assists, despite missing Tuesday’s game after a red card Monday.
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If the Wolves had won, it probably would have gone to goalkeeper Tommy Comer, who made 13 saves to keep his team alive in the final and didn’t allow a goal in the first three games. Another candidate would be Antone Ugarte, who scored five goals in the tournament.
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The WSC does a halfway decent job of avoiding blowouts by making goals against the first tiebreaker after head-to-head, but when the next tiebreaker is goals scored, you’re going to see scores like California’s 8-0 win over Alameda. That win gave the Grizzlies just enough goals to beat out Richmond for a spot in the title game.
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If California, which started 0-2 in league and lost to Livermore in its opener, can beat San Ramon Valley, which won its first 12 games overall, it’s safe to assume the EBAL will be pretty fun to watch this year. We can only hope there are more games like Friday night’s classic in store for us.
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But maybe the rest of the East Bay is catching up a little to the powerful EBAL. Last year the championship and third-place games of the WSC featured nothing but EBAL teams. This year’s championship was all-EBAL, but Richmond and Antioch played for third.
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And was there a more stunning result in the tournament than Antioch’s 4-0 rout of Richmond in that third-place game? Is Antioch really as good or Richmond really as bad as they both were tonight? Probably not, but that’s an impressive win for the Panthers that could give them a boost when North Coast Section playoff seeding comes around.
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College Park moved up to the Gold Division this year, hoping to prove itself against the best teams in the area and improve its playoff seeding. If the Falcons proved anything, it’s that they’re close. A pair of 1-0 losses to California and Monte Vista will surely leave them wondering what might have been, though they should feel confident that they can compete come playoff time.
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And one last note, just for kicks: If there’s a player in the East Bay with a bigger leg than California goalkeeper David Bingham, I’d like to see it. "Booming" doesn’t do justice to Bingham’s soaring drop kicks, which somehow come down softly after traveling up to 75 yards in the air. It is a unique weapon, especially when he uses it to deliver the ball to a waiting Wiedeman.

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Welch, Triggas win titles

Well, the Reno TOC is officially over and Jason Welch and Nikko Triggas were victorious. Welch defeated Alamosa, CO’s Cody Yohn 15-1 in the 160-pound final and was named outstanding wrestler of the tournament according to his father John. (who is also the Las Lomas coach)

Triggas beat Easton, PA’s Jordan Oliver 7-4 in the 119-pound final. Oliver was ranked No. 2 in the country at 119 pounds by Amateur Wrestling News while Triggas entered at No. 3.

For more individual results and a list of team results, visit www.rtoc.net.

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Reno TOC update

Alright wrestling fans. I thought you could use an update from the Reno Tournament of Champions. In case you didn’t know, the tournament organizers are updating their website throughout the day today (www.rtoc.net). Here’s what we know so far:

1. Nikko Triggas (Campolindo) got his rematch against Upper Perkomien, PA’s Chris Sheetz at 119 pounds (Sheetz beat Triggas at the Asics Ironman Tournament a few weeks ago) and this time, Triggas won 9-4. He moves on to the final later today where he faces Eastern, PA’s Jordan Oliver. Keep in mind that when the newest national rankings came out from Amateur Wrestling News, Oliver was No. 2 and Triggas was No. 3.

2. Jason Welch (Las Lomas) continues to steamroll his competition. He is scheduled to face Elk Grove’s Gavin Ludwig in the semfinal round. Ludwig won the 160-pound division at the Lou Bronzan Invitational at Liberty last weekend. Should Welch win, he might have to face Sunnyside, AZ’s Kyle DeBerry. DeBerry is ranked third in the nation while Welch is No. 1.

3. Upset city! Fremont’s Boris Novachkov lost his quarterfinal match against No. 9 seed R.J. Pena of Sprague, OR. Novachkov entered the tournament ranked No. 1 in the nation at 125 pounds.

That’s what I know at the moment. When final results are posted, I will post an update here. 

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Grizzlies will play for second straight title

Pretty much everyone knew San Ramon Valley was going to play in the Gold Division championship game of the Winter Soccer Classic. The Wolves made it official with a 3-0 win over Castro Valley on Wednesday night.

Entering the final day of pool play, Monte Vista appeared likely to join them. But when Richmond threw down a 5-0 win over Clayton Valley, it was clear things would get interesting.

The Oilers’ victory gave them the maximum 11 points and put them at 28, with Monte Vista (20), California (17) and Antioch (17) still to play. All the Mustangs needed was a 2-0 win or a victory with least three goals scored to secure their spot in the title game. All they got was a 1-1 tie with James Logan (plus a red card, which is a one-point penalty), giving them three points and a total of 23. Antioch won, but its 2-1 victory over Kennedy-Richmond was worth just eight points, giving the Panthers 25.

That left California, which needed a dominant victory over Alameda just to tie Richmond. That’s exactly what the Grizzlies got, and their 8-0 win gave them 11 points to match Richmond’s 28. The first tiebreaker, goals against, was even at zero. The second tiebreaker, goals scored, went to California 12-8 thanks to its romp on Wednesday.

So the Grizzlies will play for their second straight Gold Division title, having defeated Monte Vista last year. They’ll face San Ramon Valley at 8 p.m. Friday at Amador Valley. Richmond will face Antioch in what could be a very interesting third-place game at 8 p.m. Friday at California. The fifth-place game should be a good one, too, as Monte Vista plays College Park at 3 p.m. Friday at California.

Silver Divison: Acalanes will face Washington-Fremont in the championship game at home at 8 p.m. Friday after a 4-0 win over Kennedy-Fremont gave them a total of 30 points. Washington also finished with 30, one ahead of Concord at 29. The Minutemen will face Campolindo in another entertaining third-place game, this one at 5:30 p.m. at Acalanes.

For complete results and standings for both divisions, as well as Friday’s schedule, visit http://winterclassic.50webs.com.

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EBAL rises to top of WSC

It was a familiar sight Tuesday, the second day of pool play in the Gold Division of the Winter Soccer Classic, as the top teams in the East Bay Athletic League asserted themselves and moved to the top of the points standings.

Not surprisingly, San Ramon Valley remained atop the standings thanks to a 4-0 win over Newark Memorial. The win, which earned the Wolves another 11 points, put them at 22 and alone in first place.

James Logan, which was tied with San Ramon Valley after beating Salesian 6-0 on Monday, fell 3-0 to California. That paved the way for Monte Vista — a 9-0 winner over Salesian — to move into second place with 20 points.

That means if Monte Vista can beat James Logan and San Ramon Valley can beat Castro Valley (both playing at home at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday), the Mustangs and Wolves will face each other in the championship at Amador Valley at 8 p.m. on Friday. It would mark the second consecutive year that two EBAL teams met in the final. Last year California beat Monte Vista, while Foothill beat SRV in another all-EBAL showdown in the third-place game.

If either Monte Vista or San Ramon Valley should slip up, though, Richmond, California and Antioch (17 points each) are all waiting to snatch up a spot in that championship game and tack on a valuable addition to their North Coast Section resumes.

Silver Division: Things aren’t quite so clear-cut here. Campolindo and Concord are tied at the top with 20 points each, while Acalanes, Livermore and Washington-Fremont all sit at 19 and Las Lomas at 18.

When Livermore and Concord play at 7:30 p.m. at Livermore on Wednesday night, they might both have a title-game berth at stake.

For complete results and standings from both divisions, updated nightly, visit http://winterclassic.50webs.com.

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Winter Soccer Classic, Day 1

San Ramon Valley and James Logan were the big winners Monday on the first day of pool play in the Winter Soccer Classic, the area’s biggest boys soccer tournament.

The Wolves and Colts beat Alameda and Salesian, respectively, by equal 6-0 scores. Under the tournament’s format, that gives each team 11 points (six for the victory, a maximum of four for goals scored, and a one-point bonus for a shutout).

In some of the more intriguing matchups from Day 1 in the Gold Division, Antioch beat Foothill 2-1, Amador Valley beat Berkeley 2-0, Richmond beat Piedmont 2-0 and California beat College Park 1-0.

And two games of note to keep an eye on Tuesday: Kennedy-Richmond at Amador Valley, 4 p.m., and James Logan at California, 7:30 p.m.

Silver Division: In two of Monday’s more noteworthy games, Livermore beat Northgate 5-3 and Concord beat Hayward 3-1. Acalanes also beat Arroyo 2-1 in the Silver Division.

Mt. Eden beat Berean Christian 9-0, and Campolindo beat Kennedy-Fremont 3-0. But with the four-goal maximum, Mt. Eden holds just a one-point lead in the standings.

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DLS more popular than the Sharks

We just received FSN Bay Area’s television ratings numbers from Saturday. The live broadcast of the Sharks hockey game had a 1.02 rating, and the tape delayed showing of the De La Salle-Canyon game had a 1.05. Each rating point equals 23,835 Bay Area TV households.

What does this mean? Well, it means more people were interested in watching a football game that they probably already knew that outcome of, than a hockey game that wasn’t decided until the third period. It just goes to show how much interest there was in high school football that day, and what a lack of interest there was in Sharks hockey outside of the 17,496 fans that went to the Tank Saturday night.

FSN Bay Area was contractually obligated to put the Sharks on the main channel at 7:30. That meant the De La Salle game was going to be live only on the subscriber-based plus channel. But what do you think? Would you have rather seen the football game live on FSNBA?  And how did you watch the game if you didn’t receive FSNBA plus at home?

By the way, thanks to everyone who visited our blog Saturday night to get updates on the game. It proved to be a big hit.