By Matt Smith
Monday, September 3rd, 2012 at 10:16 am in Girls Volleyball.
There are new leagues, and a new look to volleyball in the East Bay. Let’s take a look at how the new league’s are set up, and who the favorites are in each league.
Gone are the Alameda Contra Costa Athletic League and the Bay Shore Athletic League. In their stead is the Tri-County Athletic League, which has a Rock Division and a Stone Division, and the West Alameda County Conference, which has two leagues in it. The Shoreline League and the Foothill League. Each league inside the WACC has its own champion for NCS purposes.
In the TCAL’s Rock Division is Albany, El Cerrito, St. Joseph Notre Dame, St. Mary’s and St. Patrick-St. Vincent and in the Stone Division is De Anza, Hercules, Kennedy, Pinole Valley, Richmond and Swett.
The WACC’s Shoreline League features Arroyo, Encinal, Hayward, Mt. Eden, San Lorenzo and Tennyson while the Foothill League has Alameda, Berkeley, Bishop O’Dowd, Castro Valley, Piedmont and San Leandro.
So who are the favorites in this new leagues?
Defending league, NCS and Division III State runner’s up Albany is going to be nearly impossible to beat in this league. The Cougars return perhaps the top hitter in the area in Kyra Holt, they have many other key players and have learned how to win big games. This team should win the league and be a force in Division III.
As far as Division IV and V schools are concerned, it’s hard to go against St. Patrick-St. Vincent or St. Joseph Notre Dame. Those two teams will come out of the TCAL and be one of the top teams in their playoff brackets, and also look for Salesian to try and repeat last year’s Division IV success.
In the Foothill League, Bishop O’Dowd is the very clear cut favorite, even with Berkeley and Alameda on the upswing. In the Shoreline Division, it’s a much tougher call. These teams are going to be very competitive with one another, and in a close call I’ll say Arroyo or San Lorenzo should be considered the favorite.
How about the rest of the leagues?
A league in flux with graduation and coaching changes, but there is a lot of young talent at Head-Royce so I will say they will battle with Valley Christian for the league crown.
Heritage is the defending champ and has some good young talent coming through the system. Deer Valley will present the stiffest challenge, but the Pats are the favorites.
Las Lomas has narrowed the gap with Campolindo, but the Cougars return too much to not be considered the favorites. Campo may have lost an incredible coach in Scott Bishop, but John Vuong and Dave Chen come over from the boys side and are great coaches as well.
Northgate is a strong favorite in this league, with Michelle Lawrence leading the way. As usual, Berean Christian will provide very stiff competition for the Broncos.
This should be the best league race in the East Bay as seven of the eight teams could legitimately win the league. San Ramon Valley and California should be considered the top two favorites, with Foothill, Monte Vista and Amador Valley right behind them, but never counting out Carondelet and Granada.
The competitive balance in this league should be very good. It’s hard to go against Logan or Irvington, but expect Mission San Jose to jump back into the mix after a down year, as well as Washington. This will be a four-team race, with Logan as the slight favorite.
Slight changes as St. Joseph Notre Dame comes into the rankings. The Pilots will be one of the top teams in the newly formed TCAL. Amador Valley and Bishop O’Dowd played some tough teams at the Milpitas Spikefest, so probably shouldn’t be moved down for their losses.The action is really about to get going as teams should start moving up and down soon.
1. Bishop O’Dowd (1-2)
2. Campolindo (0-0)
3. San Ramon Valley (0-0)
4. California (1-0)
5. Albany (0-0)
6. Foothill (0-0)
7. Northgate (0-0)
8. Monte Vista (0-0)
9. Amador Valley (3-3)
10. Las Lomas (0-0)
11. Carondelet (0-0)
12. Granada (0-0)
13. Heritage (1-1)
14. St. Joseph Notre Dame (4-1)
15. Berkeley (0-0)