The finals are here…
De La Salle v. San Ramon Valley
When the San Ramon Valley High boys soccer team drew a No. 6 seed in the North Coast Section Division I playoffs, a lot of people wrote the Wolves off, considering their seed and fourth-place finish in the East Bay Athletic League.
What happened was they won their first two games by a combined score of 8-0, and went into Richmond and beat a very good team in the face of a hostile crowd.
Their reward? The top-seeded, and three-time defending champs, the De La Salle Spartans.
“We need to play with heart, pace, skill and composure for 80 minutes,” San Ramon Valley coach Don Busboom said.
The Spartans have twice beat the Wolves by one goal, by 2-1 and 1-0 scores, and beating them a third time certainly will not be easy.
“Playing San Ramon is never an easy task, if it’s only one game or three,” De Le Salle coach Derricke Brown said. “Though, we are excited to play on the last day of the season again and the boys will be ready to defend their title.”
Already the first team to win three titles in a row, the Spartans will be looking for an unprecedented fourth in a row, and a 10th overall title and seem to be in top form.
Since starting the year 4-3-1, De La Salle has gone 18 matches without a loss, winning 17 of those matches.
Albany v. Bishop O’Dowd
Nobody, except for the teams themselves, expected these two teams to be playing for the Division II title.
With Ygnacio Valley, Dublin and Hayward on their side of the bracket, most were assuming the Cougars would have too tough a road.
Same for the Dragons, who had a path that included top-seeded Acalanes, a hot Alhambra team, Concord and defending champion Campolindo.
The Dragons are doing it with defense, allowing just one goal this post-season. Albany, on the other hand, has scored 10 goals, including four in a game twice.
Albany coach Ko Douglas knows the Dragons are big and physical, while Bishop O’Dowd coach Greg Rubendall knows Albany likes to possess the ball, and has two amazing players in Gabriel Borges and Andre Alvarez.
Which style will come out on top in a rematch of last year’s second-round, 1-0 Albany win?