I spent some time trying to update the East Bay girls soccer rankings on Wednesday night, and by the time I stopped yanking my hair out I began praying to the soccer gods for strength and guidance.
No clue. The competition is that close.
The EBAL is crazy balanced and exciting. Four teams entered action Thursday night each within a point of first place: San Ramon Valley and Carondelet were tied at 4-1-2 with 14 points, one point ahead of Monte Vista (3-0-4) and California (4-2-1). Granada looms in fifth.
California made the biggest mark on Tuesday, beating defending NCS Division I champion and two-time defending league champ Carondelet 3-1. Rachel Feldman and Morgan Collyer scored for the Grizzlies, who also scored on an own-goal. Collyer, who has nine goals this season, also struck in California’s entertaining 1-1 draw with Monte Vista on Jan. 12.
San Ramon Valley and Monte Vista battled to a 2-2 draw on Tuesday, in an exciting game that had a little bit of everything with an emphasis on skill. The Mustangs play outstanding defense and counter well with speed and confidence. San Ramon Valley wears defenses out with flurry after flurry.
The Wolves finally had their breakout win on Thursday night with a 5-2 rout of the Grizzlies. After Cal cut an early 2-0 deficit in half on a Collyer goal, the Wolves inserted the dagger on a goal by Alexa Vandevanter, the hero in the draw with Monte Vista with a goal in the 73rd minute. Allie Dutto and Melissa Lewis added the fourth and fifth goals. Speedy Reilly Parker had a nice night with three assists.
In the MVAL, co-leaders Logan and American are veering toward a Jan. 26 first-place showdown in Union City. The Eagles and Colts drew 3-3 on Jan. 3.
In the BVAL, Deer Valley and Freedom have surged ahead of the Brentwood schools, Heritage and Liberty, but it looks like it will be a fight to the finish.
In the DFAL, Campolindo has taken command with the Cougars’ clutch win over second-place Dublin along with the Gaels’ toe-stubbing against Dougherty Valley.
The HAAL remains Castro Valley and Bishop O’Dowd’s world. The first-place Trojans and second-place Dragons will meet in Castro Valley on Jan. 24. Mt. Eden is becoming a really nice HAAL story. The Monarchs, who have struggled mightily through the years, are in the hunt. They have lost only to O’Dowd 4-0 this season.
In the BSAL, Piedmont and Albany are jousting for supremacy.
East Bay Girls Soccer Rankings (subjective):
As of Jan. 19 (at 9 p.m.), 2012
1, San Ramon Valley (11-1-3, 5-1-2 EBAL)
2, California (10-4-1, 4-3-1 EBAL)
3, Carondelet (7-2-4. 4-1-3 EBAL)
4, Monte Vista (7-0-6, 4-0-4 EBAL)
5, Logan (11-2-2, 6-0-1 MVAL)
6, Granada (8-4-1, 4-3-1 EBAL)
7, Bishop O’Dowd (7-3-2, 4-1 HAAL)
8, Campolindo (8-1-2, 6-0-1 DFAL)
9, Berkeley (8-2-0, 3-0-0 ACCAL)
10, Castro Valley (6-4-0, 4-0-0)
11, Piedmont (5-1-1, 3-0-0 BSAL)
12, American (11-1-2, 5-0-1 MVAL)
13, Dublin (10-4-1, 5-2-0 DFAL)
14, Albany (9-0-3, 2-0-3 BSAL)
15, Foothill (5-5-3, 2-5-1 EBAL)
Also included (in alphabetical order): Alhambra, Amador Valley, Clayton Valley, College Park, Heritage, Irvington, Livermore, Mt. Eden, Ygnacio Valley.
Source for records: maxpreps.com. Corrections: Email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
NOTE TO READERS: Rankings are based on results in key games, observation, information, and gut instinct. Coaches, serious fans and players should feel free to chime in with their thoughts on any soccer-related issues.