By Matt Smith
Monday, November 28th, 2011 at 11:03 am in Boys soccer.
The Winter Classic starts today. Who are the teams to beat?
The Grizzlies have still not lost a match since the Division I NCS finals of the 2009-2010 season, so how can we go away from the defending EBAL and WSC champs? Palo Alto returns, and gave Cal a match last year, so look for a possible finals rematch there.
Newark Memorial and Logan, both ranked in the top 15, should be serious challengers as well, while Granada looks like it could be a solid side. The dark horse is Amador Valley. The Dons have a lot of talented youth and the only question is will they be very good right away, or will it take a little time.
It’s hard to go away from a team that is ranked third in the entire East Bay and returns almost every starter. The Dons will not allow many goals, which is perfect tournaments such as this. I expect Acalanes in the finals.
Campolindo and Albany will provide the biggest challenges for Acalanes and I think it wouldn’t be a big a surprise if two of these three teams make the finals.
Alhambra, Dougherty Valley and Ygnacio Valley are all very talented teams. Alhambra is up and coming and the latter Valley’s are both on the verge of being very special programs. It wouldn’t surprise me to see any of these teams make a championship game run.
Antioch, usually a strong physical Division I team, could pose a challenge and reach the finals in this bracket.
Not to much change early on. Richmond climbs a couple of spots, while Albany drops to No. 12 after a loss to El Cerrito. Albany may have been missing some key guys, and in my opinion will still be a major threat and a possible top five team by season’s end.
1. De La Salle (0-0-0)
2. San Ramon Valley (0-0-0)
3. Acalanes (0-0-0)
4. Clayton Valley (0-0-0)
5. Richmond (1-0-0)
6. California (2-0-1)
7. Dublin (2-0-0)
8. Campolindo (0-0-0)
9. Newark Memorial (3-1-0)
10. Mt. Eden (2-0-1)
11. Livermore (1-0-0)
12. Albany (0-1-0)
13. Berkeley (1-1-0)
14. Pittsburg (0-1-0)
15. Logan (1-0-2)
Others considered: Deer Valley (0-0-0), Bishop O’Dowd (0-0-0), Hayward (1-1-0), Ygnacio Valley (1-0-0), College Park (1-0-1), Pinole Valley (0-0-0), Granada (2-0-1), Dougherty Valley (1-0-2), San Lorenzo (0-1-1), Monte Vista (0-0-1).