East Bay Boys Soccer Notebook: NCS Semifinals

It’s time to preview the North Coast Section Division I and II boys soccer semifinals.

Division I

No. 1 De La Salle v. No. 4 Berkeley

Berkeley comes into this semifinal with a wave of emotion and momentum after a thrilling win over a championship-caliber team in Richmond. The Yellowjackets have persevered this year through scrutiny, and being underestimated, to legitimize themselves as one of the top four teams in D I.
Now a confident group, one that has had one thing in mind all year, rolls into play the defending champs and the team that has truly been the favorite all along, De La Salle.
“The goal all along has been to win an NCS championship and I think we deserve a lot of credit,” Berkeley coach Phil Scicluna said. “We went after every top team that made themselves available this year, and now De La Salle is another cog in the wheel. They’re another step for us.”
This might sound like a bit of a surprise statement, but De La Salle has been maligned this year too, with many people considering them beatable.
Compared to last year’s team, one that comes around once in a generation, maybe that statement is true, but the fact remains the Spartans are probably the most balanced team in the East Bay.
Berkeley is strong up top with Jesus Carriedo and Josh Jamieson (among others) and the Spartans defense, led by Sean Sweeney, might be enough to stop them.
The Spartans are also extremely solid in the midfield where Wes Moar and Michael Bernardi control things, while attackers like Justin Howard, Tobin Sullivan and J.T. Tallarman create problems.

No. 2 San Ramon Valley v. No. 6 California

The last time the Grizzlies visited San Ramon Valley, a 3-0 defeat in January, it was the start of their first and only swoon of the season. It was the start of a stretch where they lost three out of four games.
One of those three losses was a loss to Granada, which Cal avenged with a 1-0 win in the quarterfinals, setting up another chance at revenge on the road against the Wolves.
The Grizzlies have bounced back nicely after two years of up’s and down’s following the very good team they had in 2007.
“They have quality players and quality coaching,” San Ramon Valley coach Don Busboom said. ”Chris (Faidley) has done a tremendous job navigating them through growing pains over the last couple years and now they are a matured team who is skillful, disciplined, and focused.”
The key for the Grizzlies starts in the middle with Guillermo Rivas, who is a dynamic player. The first time these two teams played, he was frustrated a bit, but bounced back the second time around when Cal salvaged a 2-2 tie.
The Wolves, on the other hand, are incredibly balanced offensively. Bobby Edwards, Johan Sjogrell and Alex Chaussey lead the way, scoring a combined 24 goals. San Ramon Valley is very aggressive both offensively and when closing in on the ball on defense.
A defense that has only allowed 24 goals in 25 games has also been very key. Cal, also, has allowed just 24 goals this season.

Division II

No. 1 Bishop O’Dowd v. No. 4 Acalanes

These are two championship caliber teams, and it is a rematch of last year’s D II final, and it promises to be a knock ‘em down, drag ‘em out slugfest. Last year, it was a 0-0 final settled with PK’s in an Acalanes win, and that was on a sunny day.
Now, add the rain, and an Acalanes defense that has allowed just nine goals (only five that weren’t own goals or PK’s) and you have the recipe for a very low-scoring game.
“Acalanes is a very organized, well coached team,” Bishop O’Dowd coach Peter Belanger said. “No one is going to get a lot of shots in this game; it has never happened in all the years we’ve played Acalanes and it probably never will. Defensively everything starts with their keeper, (Logan) Spittler, who is proving himself to be one of the best around in this his senior season. They have played an excellent schedule this year and have had great success. They come into this game with a winning attitude.”
The Dons three losses are nothing to be ashamed of, losing 1-0 each time to a pair of top D II teams, Dublin and Las Lomas.
The Dragons, dating back to the beginning of last season, have lost only twice in their last 51 games. They have tied nine times and have won an astounding 40 games over that time. They have outscored their opponents 64-12 this season.
Only rivaled in balance by De La Salle, this team has it all. Lock down defenders in Drew Ranahan and Davonte Dubose, fantastic play in the middle from Charlie Ranahan and Max Ornstil and tremendous play on top by Taylor Reitz and Carson Swafford make them a challenge for anybody to shut down.

No. 2 Albany v. No. 3 Dublin

Possibly the most intriguing of the semifinals as the high-flying Albany offense (104 goals scored this season) takes on the stingy defense of Dublin (16 goals allowed). The immovable object against the unstoppable force.
This is also the first semifinal appearance in school history for the Gaels, as if stopping Albany wasn’t enough of a challenge.
“My boys are loose, you won’t see a group of tight kids on our side tomorrow,” Dublin coach James Fulwiler said. “To have a chance at winning this game, we need to keep the ball away from their center mid’s.”
Dublin will be facing a formation with five center midfielders for the second consecutive game as seeing at on Saturday against Ygnacio Valley might end up being a big help in the long run.
The Cougars are also a team that does not have a recent tradition of going deep into the NCS playoffs, and they dealt with questions about their competition all year, being compared to Boise State several times.
But this team has answered some of those questions with two solid playoff performances, beating Salesian and Kennedy-Fremont by a combined score of 6-0.
The Cougars are extremely talented offensively, with Gabriel Borges, Manuel Ramirez and Mason Zupan combining for 58 goals. Peeja Khorashadi is a very important part of this offense, controlling the middle, and Juliano Pereira is the key for Albany defensively.
Team defense will be the key for Dublin, but offensively it will be Cody Hoster and Trevor Weir that make them go.


Just a small shuffle in the top seven. I think the biggest point of contention will be Richmond at No. 6 and Granada at No. 7. A two-spot fall for the Oilers and a four-spot drop for the Matadors. On the strength of a tie, and eventually PK loss to a higher-seeded team than Granada lost to, I chose to have Richmond above them. Please debate.

1. De La Salle (16-5-3)
2. Bishop O’Dowd (19-0-5)
3. Berkeley (17-3-3)
4. San Ramon Valley (14-3-8)
5. California (15-3-6)
6. Richmond (15-1-10)
7. Granada (15-4-5)
8. Albany (23-0-3)
9. Dublin (19-3-2)
10. Acalanes (19-3-3)
11. Amador Valley (8-6-12)
12. Clayton Valley (17-4-3)
13. Castro Valley (17-4-4)
14. Newark Memorial (19-5-4)
15. Campolindo (13-9-4)

Others considered: Las Lomas (15-5-3), Ygnacio Valley (13-6-2), Deer Valley (11-7-6), Piedmont (16-5-3), Logan (14-10-4), College Park (12-8-5), Antioch (9-8-7), Liberty (8-6-7), Kennedy-Fremont (10-8-2), Dougherty Valley (10-9-3).

League standings

Team Overall League Points

Berkeley (17-3-3) 10-1-1 31
Richmond (15-1-10) 9-0-3 30
Alameda (6-12-4) 5-3-4 19
El Cerrito (7-10-1) 5-6-1 16
Pinole Valley (6-14-1) 4-8-0 12
De Anza (3-14-6) 1-8-3 6
Hercules (1-12-1) 1-10-1 4

Team Overall League Points

Albany (23-0-3) 15-0-1 46
Piedmont (16-5-3) 12-3-1 37
Kennedy (13-10-2) 10-4-2 32
St. Mary’s (12-8-3) 10-4-2 32
Salesian (8-10-1) 8-7-1 25
Encinal (5-17-1) 5-10-1 16
Swett (4-13-0) 4-12-0 12
St. Joseph-Notre Dame (3-17-0) 3-13-0 9
St. Patrick-St. Vincent (1-16-0) 1-15-0 3

Team Overall League Points

Antioch (9-8-7) 7-3-5 26
Deer Valley (11-7-6) 6-3-6 24
Liberty (8-6-7) 6-3-6 24
Freedom (10-6-6) 6-4-5 23
Pittsburg (6-13-4) 3-8-4 13
Hertiage (3-12-2) 3-10-2 11

Team Overall League Points

Dublin (19-3-2) 8-2-2 26
Acalanes (19-3-3) 8-3-1 25
Las Lomas (15-5-3) 6-3-3 21
Dougherty Valley (10-9-3) 4-6-2 14
Campolindo (13-9-4) 4-6-2 14
Alhambra (6-7-5) 3-6-3 12
Miramonte (0-7-5) 0-7-5 5

Team Overall League Points

Clayton Valley (17-4-3) 10-1-1 31
Ygnacio Valley (13-6-2) 8-3-1 25
College Park (12-8-5) 7-2-3 24
Concord (7-9-4) 7-3-2 23
Northgate (4-19-1) 3-9-0 9
Berean Christian (2-19-3) 1-9-2 5
Mt. Diablo (1-12-1) 1-10-1 4

Team Overall League Points

De La Salle (16-5-3) 10-1-3 33
San Ramon Valley (14-3-8) 7-2-5 26
Granada (16-4-5) 7-3-4 25
California (15-3-6) 7-3-4 25
Amador Valley (8-6-12) 3-2-9 18
Monte Vista (5-13-5) 3-9-2 11
Livermore (3-12-2) 2-10-2 8
Foothill (5-13-5) 0-9-5 5

Team Overall League Points

Bishop O’Dowd (19-0-5) 12-0-4 40
Castro Valley (17-4-4) 12-1-3 39
Arroyo (12-10-1) 9-6-1 28
Mt. Eden (11-10-1) 8-7-1 25
San Lorenzo (7-7-5) 5-6-5 20
Tennyson (4-8-5) 4-7-5 17
San Leandro (6-11-6) 4-9-3 15
Hayward (6-12-3) 3-10-3 12
Moreau Catholic (2-14-3) 1-12-3 6

Team Overall League Points

Logan (14-10-4) 9-1-2 29
Newark Memorial (19-5-4) 8-1-3 27
Kennedy (10-8-2) 7-4-1 22
Mission San Jose (10-10-1) 6-6-0 18
Washington (4-13-2) 4-7-1 13
Irvington (6-12-3) 4-7-1 13
American (0-14-0) 0-12-0 0


Here is the list of the players in the East Bay who are top ten in goals and assists.


Littleton, Piedmont 50
Borges, Albany 26
Tieku, El Cerrito 21
Ramirez, Albany 18
Chen, Las Lomas 17
Fuentes, Newark 17
Padilla, Clayton 17
Foster, Granada 16
Rietz, BOD 16
Menezes, Dougherty 15
Huang, Deer Valley 15
Weir, Dublin 15


Gomez, Clayton 24
Borges, Albany 22
Montes, Richmond 21
Thomas, Granada 17
Shiluck, Castro Valley 16
Lopez, YV 16
Swafford, BOD 13
Martin, Deer Valley 13
Sjogrell, SRV 12
Moar, DLS 10
Ornstil, BOD 10
Menezes, Dougherty 10
Arzate, Newark 10

Matt Smith

  • SoccerAR

    #249 – Who just eliminated Albany and their UNDEFEATED Season?

    Have them play in DFAL Acalanes, Las Lomas, Dougherty Valley and Campo have just as strong teams and defenses as Dublin.

  • bambam


    Are you sure your not a lawyer? You seem to write like one and I certainly don’t want a bill from you later for all of your advice.

    Matt –
    Can you give Matt some free advice about his love life, since you both seem to like the same music. Maybe if you get him to like AC/DC instead REO Speedwagon then things will pick uo for him. Lol

  • bambam


    I can guarantee one thing on this blog. Every team respects SRV on the pitch.

    Of course, I just got called a cartoon by ManO’War, so what do I know.

  • The Sweeper


    I was not referring to the teams…just the officials.

    BTW, ManO’War is correct. You are in fact a legendary toon. Fred, Wilma, Barney, Betty, Dino, Pebbles and THE Bamster. True. Take a bow.

  • The Sweeper

    Correction to #253: should have ended with YABBA-DABBA-DOO!!!

    I resisted ending with DOH! Wrong cartoon. Just like “RED”.

    See you at the fields on Friday.

  • bambam

    Does that mean I’m married to Pebbles? If so, i better not tell my wife about her. lol

  • The Sweeper

    Not necessarily, but you are a true cartoon icon. My handle has zero cartoon value. Had I known…who knows? BugsBunny, TopCat, MightyMouse, YogiBear, DeputyDawg, RefereeRED, the list goes on.

  • bambam

    Now that’s funny

    Will you be wearing your A’s cap on Saturday?

  • LakeTahoeGuy

    Sweeper, I would have to say that “TopCat” suits you the best…..only Matt has better posts/info than you.

  • The Sweeper

    No, a Flintstones costume…out of respect. LOL.

    Matt will know my true identity, as Alfred would know Batman’s true identity…

    Matt, what games will you watch/cover on Saturday? The Sweeper will be in the house and will stop by at some point.

  • The Sweeper

    LTG, Good knowledge. I was totally a TopCat guy in the day with Chooch and the crew. But deep down I am a Bugs Bunny guy, semi-political, semi-satirical, a seldom serious critic who always questions authority.

    I am also a follower of the Ministry of Silly Walks…

  • LakeTahoeGuy

    The “old” cartoons are definitely the best. Most people don’t realize that they were actually “shorts” before the main movie that was being shown in the theater. Bugs Bunny, The Road Runner, Yosemite Sam, Foghorn Leghorn, Sylvester the Cat, etc. all came from shorts, before the main movie. The “double entendre”, the jokes that parents would get, but could still have their children watch them as well, were classic.

  • LakeTahoeGuy

    Even Geico uses them today…..”I’m hunting “wabbit”.
    Bugs and Elmer Fudd…..gotta love it.

  • creatability

    Nice comments. No fiction here. Dublin Won and Albany Lost. On any given night the results could have been different. My comments weren’t fiction in any way. Dublin did outplay Albany, and Albany was lucky to get the goal (thanks to a Dublin defender trying to clear the ball). I agree that Albany came out in the second half more agressive than Dublin, but Dublin quickly picked up the pace and held them solid…just almost long enough. Cudos to Albany for keeping the pressure on at the end of the game to force the goal. Then both teams had an equal opportunity to win the game. Dublin executed their PK’s perfectly and Albany did not. Dublin Wins. People have been hating on Dublin all season, yet here they are. Don’t you think it is time someone gave them their props? Wins and Losses aside (and their record was outstanding none the less) Dublin has shown they deserve to be here. So all you haters out there that are touting your teams expertise, the bad luck calls (or whatever), and are at home licking your wounds…Dublin Gaels are still playing soccer.

  • The Truth

    #263- Dublin had a very good season and I hope that you win on Saturday.Any thoughts on how Albany would have done against other DFAL teams? Who would have matched up with them?

  • keeping it real

    The warner bro cartoons had a lot references that were subtle to overtly bigoted. From speedy gonzales, to making a character similar to stepin fetchit, to outright blackface. Thank the lord that crap era is over.

  • Soccerfan

    Yes, thank goodness
    the present day images in our media are soooooooo much better.

    Back to Soccer (The REAL Football)
    What will we do come Monday?
    I guess argue/discuss for a day or two
    but then?
    Thanks everyone, The Judge (Matt Smith) especially
    enjoyed talking about the game we all appreciate and have the ability to respect, unlike most of our countrymen

  • Soccerfan

    Oh, U-Mustbe…..
    I forgot to answer your question about the video
    and I apologize if my posting the link caused problems, I blame Yamon, he told me it was possible
    anyway, in viewing your video, I definitely saw a foul
    but not a red. I didn’t see the intent that I think needs to be present for a red card to be given.
    And to repeat and to Echo the statement from the SR player (very well written and mature by the way)
    give credit to CAL, they scored the goals they had to to win the match.
    I will be honest with you, I’d like to see CAL win on Saturday. I don’t think it’s going to happen but I ‘d like to see it. Heck I didn’t think they had a chance against SR, so who knows. Go Grizzlies??

  • u-mustbeinsane

    Thx soccerfan. I, too, think that a win against DLS is a long shot. Winning against them has been a long shot for teams all year. They are the real deal. However, the match-ups are key. We played Granada tough all year because we matched up well against them. We played poorly against SRV because we did not. Against DLS we played one game under water and they were better swimmers. The other game was the last game of the year and DLS was not as motivated as they will be Sat night. So, the previous 2 meetings don’t really give me a sense of how Cal will do this time.

    This game will be about not letting DLS execute their runs. Disrupt the passing lanes, force play to the edge and absorb all the contact you can get. They also play you close all game and then surprise you and take it over the top. Cal’s D has to be ready to play all 80+ minutes, plus OT. On offense, try to squeak out a goal and hold on. If we need more than one… not good.

    Now, as for the infamous foul. It was hard enough to see the arm to the neck from that distance. And it was impossible to see the intent. The CR and AR had a much better vantage point for that determination.

  • The Sweeper

    I was sitting 25 yards from the double yellow call. The yellow on SRV was obvious and deserved, though it looked like a “soft” grab of the Cal player’s head as a result of their relative positions while colliding, not a chokehold or a slap. You should have seen the look on the SRV coach’s face to his player: something to the effect of “What the heck was that?”

    It was not immediately clear that RefRED was calling a double foul at first because his attention was only on the SRV player, but then the Cal player said something that caused the RefRED to turn to the Cal player and hold him to that spot. Is that in the video?

  • Soccer Fan

    #241 “SRV Player”

    You say you know TT better than anyone on this forum and that he “is an aggressive player, but not dirty.” Since you know him well (and you don’t have to be exact here), can you say how many yellow cards TT has received this season and how many red cards TT received this season?

  • YV player

    We played both Albany and Dublin. Both teams are very good. Dublin does defend a lot but that’s their game style. Defence wins championships. Albany has close to the same style we do but I can’t tell you how good they really are since we didn’t play them with a full team.

    We are a very small team in size. Probably the smallest in all NCS. In our game with Dublin we had a few chances to take the lead in the first half but didn’t really get many clear chances cause Dublin defends really well. We controlled most of the game with great possesion and speed.

    Once Dublin scored it was hard for us to get back into the game. They started to control the game and had more chances while we pushed up to try and get the tying goal and Dublin took advantage and got a 2nd goal.

    I want to wish Dublin luck in the championship game! will be watching the game and cheering you guys on.

    I also want to thank my coaches and players at YV for a great season. YV has coaches that actually care about the players and academics. YV will be a force for years to come. And I wish them the best.

    Matt-thank you for your hard work all season! Matt is the MVP of the season!!

  • Soccermaniac

    EBAL spektator


  • Chris

    Another boys volleyball bit: Logan just stunned SRV 3-0 on the road. One question I’m sure you’ll have, Matt: how far will SRV go without Tommy Crow?

  • Es Yoga Man

    Any predictions for who will win the finals? My moneys on Dublin.

  • The Truth

    Thanks YV Player- well said and very gracious.

  • SRV Player

    #271 Soccer fan- That was TTs first red of the year. He probably has had 3 yellows for fouls, and 2 for talking to the referee. This is just my best guess. Could be more, could be less. I don’t really keep track of yellow cards.
    Soccermaniac- Thank you for being mature. Everybody appreciates your valuable comment.

  • Shutyomouth

    The Truth #265
    Albany is good enough to play in any league. As a Dublin player, We played them and we do respect them. If they played in DFAL, they would contend but no way they go undefeated. Acalanes has an amazing defense designed to stop teams like Albany. Campo, DV, and Las Lomas are balanced defensively and offensively.

    As our coaches always say – There is never an Off Night or automatic win in DFAL.

    Remember Las Lomas, Dublin, Acalanes are all great teams and each of them lost at least 2 league games to each other

    With No disrespect intended, My Guess is that Albany loses 3 league games in DFAL, if they were to use the defense they currently have.

  • Shutyomouth

    #272 YV player

    After our game against you we all agreed that your team is very formidable and you guys played with class. No unsportsmanship at all. Your offense is just as potent as Albany and you guys played physical. Big props to Ygnacio Valley.

    -Dublin Mid Fielder

  • The Boss

    Winger dad ..Post # 250

    Why are you so upset ? No reason to brag about who is better, you guys won !
    I really think Dublin is an excellent team, but not because Albany lost against you means their not . Small team .. well maybe but they were up there with an undefeated title and like 106 goals in favor and only about 13 against. You did win, congrats ! much luck in the finals, but you can’t beat those scores. I have seen Bishop O’Dowd played and think it’s a very strong team, you can lose against them, when Albany ( the small team ) tied with them, you never know what can happen…….

  • The Sweeper

    Dublin wins 2-1 on PKs 4-3

  • EBAL spektator

    soccer maniac,

    sounds like projection,

    so your a Cal daddy

    look whos crying now…

  • keeping it real

    Socer fan, soccer is the real football, in europe! But not in the usa! Just like the REAL talent in soccer is from outside the usa. Nothing like good old soccer in high scholl, truly mediocre watching kids who are too slow, and not big or fast enough or tough enough to play real football or athletic enough to hoop! And before any of you get on me for this, don’t, because you know its true!