Here are the previews for the North Coast Section Division I and II girls soccer championship games by staff writer Matt Schwab.
NCS Division I Girls Soccer
CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: No. 1 seed Carondelet (17-2-3) vs. No. 2 San Ramon Valley (18-3-4), Saturday, 5 p.m. at Dublin High
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Carondelet — Rogan Dolan, Kate Castillo, Kory Lamet, Shauna Herman, Ally White, Amy Czyz; San Ramon Valley — Reilly Parker, Amanda Davis, Caitlin LaHonta, Morgan Idso, Beth Ritter.
THE SKINNY: Look for great skill, balance and organization from these fierce rivals. The game will basically be a Mustang Soccer League intra-squad match: the Cougars and Wolves have 31 Mustang players combined (SRV 17, Carondelet 14). Carondelet is No. 13 and SRV No. 29 in the ESPN FAB 50 rankings.
Carondelet, which won the East Bay Athletic League title for the second straight season, has won two thrillers over the Wolves, in a shootout in the finals of the Tri-Valley Classic and 1-0 in league play. However, the Wolves have been Carondelet’s nemesis in NCS, having eliminated the Cougars four of the last five years, each time by one goal or in a shootout.
San Ramon Valley beat upstart Heritage 1-0 in overtime in the NCS semifinals, and Carondelet rallied past Monte Vista 3-1, as Rogan Dolan had a goal and two assists. Dolan has a team-high 16 goals and 15 assists overall. Cal-bound Kory Lamet has nine goals and 14 assists.
The Cougars have eight players headed to four-year schools, including seven to Division I and one to Division III. Shauna Herman has been hot in NCS with four goals. The Wolves wear teams out with balance and speed. Morgan Idso, Reilly Parker and Alexis Vandevanter worked over the left side of Heritage defense. The Wolves have won four of the last five NCS titles, losing in the finals last year to Castro Valley.
– Matt Schwab
NCS Division II Girls Soccer
CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: No. 1 Bishop O’Dowd (21-2-2) vs. No. 10 Dougherty Valley (10-6-6), Saturday, 7 p.m., at O’Dowd
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Bishop O’Dowd — Chelsea Archer, Christina Archer, Ryan Walker-Hartshorn, Bianca Lowe; Dougherty Valley — Briana Gaines, Stephanie Amack.
THE SKINNY: This is the matchup of the juggernaut and the upstart. Unheralded Dougherty Valley hammered No. 2 seed Albany 5-0 in the quarterfinals behind standout Briana Gaines’ hat trick. The Wildcats also upended No. 3 Piedmont 2-1 in the semifinals as Stephanie Amack and Colby Matsumoto scored.
Gaines, who also plays for the powerful Dougherty Valley girls basketball team, is one of five seniors on the young soccer team. … The defending champion Dragons have been dominant, outscoring their first three NCS opponents 11-0, including a 5-0 rout of Alhambra in the semifinals. Bianca Lowe had the first two goals.
Walker-Hartshorn scored twice in a 3-0 win over St. Mary’s in the quarterfinals. The Dragons had a fine 3-0-1 record in the early season Tri-Valley Classic as they adjusted to new head coach Jon Nishimoto’s new formation. They have not lost since a 1-0 defeat to Castro Valley on Dec. 10.
– Matt Schwab