By Matt Smith
Tuesday, September 6th, 2011 at 9:53 am in Girls Volleyball.
As the season is officially off and rolling, let’s look at who the favorites should be in each league, before league play gets rolling.
This league usually comes down to Berkeley and Alameda, and I don’t see any reason for that to change. Last year the two tied for the regular season crown and had to play for the league title after the season. When they play each other, they will be looking to defend their home court to guarantee themselves a slice of the league title.
Not only should Albany be the class of this league, but Albany looks to be one of the top 5-10 teams in the East Bay, and for good reason. The Cougars return a plethora of talent and will be a force. St. Patrick-St. Vincent will always be tough in this league as will Salesian, so look for those two as dark horses.
It was strange not seeing Deer Valley win the league last year, as Heritage wrestled out of the Wolverines stranglehold and claimed the crown. It would be hard not to list DV as the favorite, just based on tradition, but Heritage is going to be right there and Liberty is a team that could improve on its 7-3 league finish from last year. This is certainly a three-team race.
Campolindo is the absolute favorite, once again. The Cougars return a couple of key pieces from last year, and have drummed up plenty of excitement about the program. Miramonte, which by its standards was down a little last year, will give the Cougars a run for their money, and with Jim Changaris now at Las Lomas, look out for the Knights. There should be a little more parody in the DFAL this year.
Berean Christian needs to replace Brooke Fraser, but with talent returning all over the place, the Eagles should be considered the favorite to defend their league crown. Of course, Northgate is a threat and when the two play each other this year, the league title may be up for grabs. Look for College Park as a dark horse. New coach, excitement and a couple of very talented players.
I have to defend my pick of Foothill No. 1 and pick them as the favorite in the EBAL. Truth be told, there won’t be an undefeated team in this league. It’s too even, and too good. Expect the winner of the league to have a loss or two. Foothill, San Ramon Valley and California look legit, and Carondelet, Amador Valley and Monte Vista aren’t far behind. I don’t know much about Granada this year so far, but I expect them to be just fine and jump into the rankings, and into the league mix.
If Bishop O’Dowd loses a league match, it will be a shocker. With not a lot of information to go on with the HAAL, one would assume that Moreau Catholic will be in the running, and it looks like Frank Largusa at Castro Valley has some talent.
A crap shoot to say the least. Irvington returns the best player in the league in Jinny Yan, Mission San Jose is always athletic and scrappy, and Logan should be in the mix. This should be one of the best league races in the East Bay.
Not much change yet, as teams mostly played out of the area tournaments, or a non-league match here and there. Monte Vista could be a threat, so watch out, as it joins the rankings. The Mustangs beat an improving Liberty team in three, and that same Liberty team took a game off Cal. Always hard to tell early on, but maybe watch out for Monte Vista.
Campolindo travels to O’Dowd tonight, in a top five battle.
1. Foothill (0-0)
2. Bishop O’Dowd (3-2)
3. San Ramon Valley (0-0)
4. Campolindo (0-0)
5. California (1-0)
6. Carondelet (0-0)
7. Albany (5-1)
8. Amador Valley (1-2)
9. Miramonte (0-0)
10. Northgate (0-0)
11. Deer Valley (0-0)
12. Berean Christian (1-0)
13. Heritage (3-5)
14. Monte Vista (1-0)
15. Moreau Catholic (1-0)