The College Park girls soccer team won its first DVAL title this season with purple-clad panache. The high-flying Falcons scored 71 goals over 22 games overall.
Dynamo Ashly Dickinson led the team — and maybe the entire North Coast Section — in scoring with 28 goals and five assists. She’s the real deal.
“She’s fast, quick, with great skill, and a great nose for the goal,” College Park coach Randy Madison said.
The Falcons’ fate in the first round of the NCS Division I playoffs, which begin on Wednesday, will probably hinge on the draw. They lost to Granada 5-2, Berkeley 3-0, Liberty 3-1, and Archbishop Mitty 2-1, all in December.
But that was then.
A turning point for College Park came with the return of Falcons goalkeeper Jordan Vaelei for the Jan. 10 game against Clayton Valley. The Falcons beat the Eagles for the first time, 2-1. Vaelei had been out since the final week of club play after suffering a concussion.
Clayton Valley avenged the loss to College Park 2-1 on Feb. 2, but the Falcons had already clinched the league title. College Park (15-5-2, 11-1-0) also boasts midfielder/forwards Jacquelyn Scharff, a fab freshman, Pilar Soudar and Mabelle Gozun, along with midfielder Kendall Stuscavage, among others.
The DVAL is no soccer juggernaut, but College Park and Clayton Valley can bring it on their best days.
GALLOPING GAELS: Hearty congratulations to coach Scott Schoenthal and the Dublin girls squad, which completed a worst-to-first rise with a 1-0 wn over Acalanes on Friday in the DFAL finale. The victory came courtesy of a Kacey Borgeson goal assisted by Katie Somerville, as Dublin inched past two-time defending champion Campolindo for the top spot.
Dublin’s enjoyed a storybook rise after finishing in last place in the DFAL the previous two years and next-to-last the two years before that. Both Schoenthal and Campo coach Ernesto Silva, whose team gave it a great ride playing all season without its top two attacking players, are contenders for Coach of the Year. The Cougars’ best senior, Valerie Margerum, and last year’s top scorer Emily Orwig have been out with injuries.
ANOTHER WOLVES-MUSTANGS CLASICO: San Ramon Valley and Monte Vista played another tight, tense, physical battle on Thursday. The host Wolves recovered from an early goal by Monte Vista’s Erin Donnelly to prevail 2-1 and clinch an outright EBAL championship.
Alexa Vandevanter delivered on both Wolves goals, each one coming when the ball deflected off a Mustang player. Were they both own goals? The debate rages. Regardless of the stats, Vandevanter was outstanding under the bright lights.
Wolves coach Mark Jones praised the play of both teams, especially the work of SRV’s Shannon Hennessy in the middle.
“She had a phenemonal game. She just won everything in the air,” Jones said of Hennessy.
In contrast to the Wolves’ wave after wave of attacks, Monte Vista played more conservatively and countered effectively with speedy Mallory Hromatko up top.
Monte Vista coach Brett LeQuesne praised both teams. He doesn’t see beating the Wolves as the impossible dream, though. “The gap is not as wide as people think,” LeQuesne said. “I hope we get another crack at them (in North Coast Section).”
LOGAN REPORT: A beat-up Logan surrendered three second-half goals in a 4-2 loss to visiting Berkeley on Feb. 4. The Yellowjackets look like the ‘X Factor’ of the NCS playoffs. Logan coach Tony Villasenor said four players, including star attacker Paloma Zermeno (hamstring), have been bothered by injuries, but three have returned.
The Colts finished as unbeaten MVAL champions for the second straight season, earning their second-ever league title. Zermeno (24 goals, 10 assists) is believed to be the No. 2 scorer in NCS, although individual stats are not yet available on ACCAL champion Berkeley, which outscored opponentts 117-9.
NCS DIVISION I PROSPECTS: EBAL volunteer John Deal has taken the time to figure the 19 prime candidates for the North Coast Section Division I field, with 16 spots available. League champs get automatic berths. Division II power Bishop O’Dowd got the HAAL automatic bid. Here’s John’s unofficial Division I tout sheet: ACCAL — *Berkeley (18-2-1 overall), Alameda (12-6-3); BVAL — * Freedom (9-7-2), Heritage (11-6-3), Deer Valley (8-9-2), Liberty (14-5-5); DVAL: *College Park (15-5-2), Clayton Valley (11-7-4); EBAL — *San Ramon Valley (16-1-4), Monte Vista (12-1-8), Carondelet (11-3-6), California (12-4-5), Granada (8-8-3). HAAL — Castro Valley (13-6-1), Arroyo (10-8-1), Mt. Eden (11-3-2); MVAL — *Logan (16-3-2), American (17-2-2), Irvington (9-7-5).
East Bay Girls Soccer Rankings (subjective):
As of Feb. 11, 2012 1, San Ramon Valley (16-1-4, 10-1-3 EBAL) 2, Monte Vista (12-1-8, 7-1-6 EBAL) 3, Carondelet (11-3-6. 7-2-5 EBAL) 4, California (12-4-5, 6-3-5 EBAL) 5, Bishop O’Dowd (17-3-2, 12-1-0 HAAL) 6, Berkeley (18-2-1, 12-0-0 ACCAL) 7, Logan (16-3-2, 11-0-1 MVAL) 8, Granada (8-8-3, 4-7-3 EBAL) 9, American (14-2-2, 8-1-1 MVAL) 10, Castro Valley (13-6-1, 11-2-0 HAAL) 11, Dublin (14-5-3, 7-3-2 DFAL) 12, Campolindo (8-4-5, 6-2-3 DFAL) 13, College Park (14-5-2, 11-1-0 DVAL) 14, Clayton Valley (11-7-4, 9-2-1 DVAL) 15, Albany (13-1-5, 6-0-5 BSAL)
Also included (in alphabetical order): El Cerrito, Encinal, Foothill, Freedom, Heritage, Las Lomas, Liberty, Northgate, St. Mary’s.
Note: Ratings will appear one more time after the NCS playoffs are completed. Corrections: Send to email@example.com.
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.