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Boys Soccer: Semifinals, All-Star Game, Rankings, Standings, Stats

And just like that, the final week of the season is here. Let’s look at the semifinals.

Division I

No. 1 De La Salle v. No. 12 Freedom; No. 6 San Ramon Valley v. No. 7 California

In semifinal number one we have the four-time defending champions, against a team in the playoffs for the first time ever. It is a perfectly sensible argument to say the Spartans have the advantage based on experience and having been here before. I agree with that most times, however, after seeing this Freedom team play and talking to their coaches and players, this team isn’t just here for the ride. This team is not scared to play anybody and are actually looking forward to the chance to play De La Salle.
This game could come down to the goalkeepers. Two of the best in the East Bay. Both big, strong and agile. Beating them won’t be easy. De La Salle has the advantage defensively with how organized and disciplined they are, but Freedom has the man up top, aka Jorge Cendejas. A true striker with a nose for the ball and the goal.
This is going to be a very entertaining game as Freedom looks to prove that this playoff run is no fluke, while De La Salle tries to keep the spirit of the Brotherhood alive.

Just up 680, at the same time on Wednesday, a couple of EBAL foes will square off for the right to go to the finals as SRV hosts Cal. These two teams have played twice, and have split, with Cal winning 3-0 the first time and SRV winning 2-0 the second time.
After a stretch that saw Cal go 3-6-0 after a 15-0-2 start, including four losses in a row at one point, the Grizzlies have gotten hot at the right time once again. The key for them was getting healthy and having everybody playing together again. The timing worked out well for Cal as they are the team that started the season so well, and not the team that had a little swoon.
As for the Wolves, this team was never a No. 6 seed. One of the deepest and most well-rounded teams in the playoffs, they have shown it. Dangerous from the time the tournament started, the Wolves were a six seed last year and made the finals. Why are they so good? They have a forward and two wings that constantly put pressure on the defense, they have a midfield that is deep and athletic and two of the best defenders in the East Bay with Schumann and Zetterquist.
Both of these teams like to play fast, and one goal won’t be enough on Wednesday to win this one.

Division II

No. 4 Concord v. No. 8 St. Mary’s; No. 2 Ygnacio Valley v. No. 3 Campolindo

By about the stroke of 5:15 on Wednesday, we’ll know how the first team to reach the finals as YV and Campo square off in an afternoon affair. This one should be interesting. Both teams play fast, possess the ball very well and are constantly putting pressure on the defense. YV has seemed to wake up in the playoffs after a slow finish to the year. Campo has hit its stride the last six weeks or so and is looking very dangerous. The home field advantage is something YV will need to take advantage of to make up for the toll taken on them by the Northgate game. They will be shorthanded due to some injuries and suspensions. However, they have two things no other team has and that is Tata and Damien. The two best players on the field are going to have to play like it and lift their team to the finals.
The Cougars, on the other hand, are very, very deep and very balanced. 18 different players scored goals, and nine different players scored three or more. In their quarterfinal game against Hayward, four different players scored.
The teams are similar in size, speed and style. Will Campo’s depth be enough or will YV’s star power win out?

For a second straight year, the Concord Minutemen find themselves a game away from a title appearance. They have not allowed a goal in the playoffs, they have their outstanding keeper in Emmanuel Jimenez back, and are playing a third straight game at home. This team, however, is not just a defensive squad. They play low-scoring games most of the time, but have some very dangerous players led by Andy Altamarino and Freddy Velasquez.
It is very unfortunate, for Acalanes, that St. Mary’s was seeded No. 8. This team probably should have been a top five seed, maybe even a top three seed. That game was a round or two, too early, but the Panthers showed why they had only lost twice, both times to Division I playoff teams. The team is so well rounded. They have a couple of studs in the back, a couple of fine players in the midfield and a couple guys who can put the ball away when given the chance.
Look for this game to be low-scoring, but it will be entertaining.

All-Star Game Update

I am finalizing the rosters this weekend and have already started to invite some players.
Remember, the game is Friday, March 8 and Richmond High. 7:00. If selected, it would be great if you can make it. Either way, let me know as soon as you can when I reach out to you.

Rankings

The hardest time to rank teams is during the playoffs. We have to understand that the rankings work the same way during the playoffs as they do during the regular season, for the most part. They are going to change a little more drastically because of the gravity of the wins and losses, but remember that these rankings still take the whole season into account, but also consider what has happened recently. This isn’t a list of league finishers or who has beaten who in the playoffs, because we have league title banners and NCS brackets to tell us that.
DLS, SRV and Cal all jump as teams that have yet to lose, while it’s tough to move down Acalanes, MV and Berkeley too far for losing to good teams. St. Mary’s and Concord climb into the top eight, while Campolindo and Newark are back in the top ten.
Freedom debuts in the top 15, coming in at No. 13, and has a chance to keep making school history, and to keep climbing in the rankings, as they face the champs on Wednesday night.

1. De La Salle (16-3-6)
2. San Ramon Valley (17-6-3)
3. Acalanes (21-1-3)
4. California (18-6-2)
5. Monte Vista (17-4-4)
6. Berkeley (19-3-3)
7. St. Mary’s (16-2-3)
8. Concord (14-2-5)
9. Campolindo (17-7-2)
10. Newark Memorial (15-4-7)
11. Richmond (16-5-5)
12. Ygnacio Valley (15-4-5)
13. Freedom (14-9-2)
14. Pittsburg (13-4-6)
15. Hayward (18-5-3)

Others considered: Foothill (11-7-6), Northgate (13-5-7), College Park (11-9-4), Hercules (17-6-2), Amador Valley (11-10-4), Bishop O’Dowd (11-8-2), Deer Valley (9-8-5), Kennedy-Fremont (10-8-2), San Lorenzo (10-6-2), Antioch (9-6-6)

Standings

BVAL
Team W-L (overall, league) PTS

Pittsburg (13-4-6, 6-1-3) 21
Freedom (14-9-2, 6-3-1) 19
Antioch (9-6-6, 5-3-2) 17
Deer Valley (9-8-5, 5-3-2) 17
Liberty (5-8-3, 2-6-2) 8
Heritage (2-14-3, 0-8-2) 2

DFAL
Team W-L (overall, league) PTS

Acalanes (21-1-3, 10-0-2) 32
Campolindo (17-7-2, 7-4-1) 22
Dublin (8-9-4, 6-5-1) 19
Dougherty Valley (9-9-2, 5-6-1) 16
Miramonte (6-7-5, 4-5-3) 14
Alhambra (9-9-5, 2-7-3) 9
Las Lomas (1-12-6, 1-8-3) 5

DVAL
Team W-L (overall, league) PTS

Ygnacio Valley (15-4-5, 9-2-1) 28
College Park (11-9-4, 8-2-2) 26
Concord (14-2-5, 7-1-4) 25
Northgate (13-5-7, 6-4-2) 20
Berean Chr. (6-10-3, 3-7-2) 11
Mt. Diablo (1-10-2, 1-9-2) 5
Clayton Valley (1-20-2, 1-10-1) 4

EBAL
Team W-L (overall, league) PTS

De La Salle (16-3-6, 10-1-3) 33
Monte Vista (17-4-4, 10-2-2) 32
San Ramon Valley (17-6-3, 8-4-2) 26
California (18-6-2, 7-6-1) 22
Foothill (11-7-6, 5-5-4) 19
Amador Valley (11-10-4, 3-8-3) 12
Livermore (4-14-5, 2-9-3) 9
Granada (4-13-5, 1-11-2) 5

MVAL
Team W-L (overall, league) PTS

Newark Memorial (15-4-7, 10-0-4) 34
Kennedy (10-8-2, 7-5-2) 23
Logan (9-9-7, 6-3-5) 23
Irvington (7-7-8, 6-4-4) 22
Moreau Catholic (4-9-5, 4-6-4) 16
Washington (5-7-9, 3-5-6) 15
Mission San Jose (6-10-8, 3-6-5) 14
American (3-13-4, 1-11-2) 5

OAL
Team W-L (overall, league) PTS

Oakland Tech (7-3-2, 7-0-1) 22
Skyline (6-1-1, 6-1-1) 19
Fremont (3-4-1, 3-4-1) 10
Oakland (1-5-2, 1-5-2) 5
Castlemont (0-7-1, 0-7-1) 1

TCAL Rock
Team W-L (overall, league) PTS

Richmond (16-5-5, 8-0-2) 26
St. Mary’s (16-2-3, 8-1-1) 25
Albany (8-12-4, 4-5-1) 13
El Cerrito (6-14-1, 4-5-1) 13
Salesian (4-5-4, 2-5-3) 9
St. Joseph Notre Dame (3-16-1, 0-10-0) 0

TCAL Stone
Team W-L (overall, league) PTS

Hercules (17-6-2, 9-0-1) 28
Pinole Valley (10-6-1, 7-2-1) 22
De Anza (8-6-2, 6-2-2) 20
Kennedy (4-9-0, 4-6-0) 12
Swett (2-10-0, 2-8-0) 6
St. Patrick-St. Vincent (0-12-0, 0-10-0) 0

WACC Foothill
Team W-L (overall, league) PTS

Berkeley (19-3-3, 15-0-1) 46
Bishop O’Dowd (11-8-2, 10-5-1) 31
Alameda (8-11-5, 7-8-1) 22
Mt. Eden (7-11-6, 5-5-6) 21
Castro Valley (5-11-6, 5-8-3) 18
Arroyo (5-12-5, 4-9-3) 15

WACC Shoreline
Team W-L (overall, league) PTS

Hayward (18-5-3, 12-2-2) 38
San Lorenzo (10-6-2, 9-5-2) 29
Piedmont (8-10-1, 7-8-1) 22
San Leandro (5-11-4, 5-7-4) 19
Tennyson (3-17-3, 3-11-2) 11
Encinal (1-15-0, 1-15-0) 3

Stat Leaders

Name School Goals
Montes, Richmond 37
Cendejas, Free 27
Ayala, YV 25
Romero, Hercules 23
Gala, Dougherty 22
R. Castillo, Hayward 22
Berumen, Pitt 17
Al. Marques, Hercules 16
Greenberg, MV 16
Solomon, Berkeley 15
Flink, BOD 15
Reiter, CP 14
Gray, Hayward 14
Sandoval, Newark 14
Orozco, SL 14
Grixti, Cal 13
Raynor, Cal 12
Clark, FH 12
Bolender, Ngate 12
Sandoval, Pinole 12

Name School Assists
Murgia, Pitt 21
Damian, YV 21
Alvarez, Richmond 18
Montes, Richmond 15
Gomez, Hayward 14
Clark, FH 13
Bramvila, Richmond 13
Croze, Acalanes 12
Cendejas, Free 12
Baringer, Pied 12
Mendoza, Hayward 11
Ortega, Hayward 11
Espinoza, SM 11
Torres, Moreau 10
Glascock, Acalanes 9
Lindgren, Acalanes 9
Hamdouni, Berkeley 9
Gratsch, MV 9
Sandoval, Newark 9
Bolender, Ngate 9
Xu, Pied 9
Aguilar, YV 9

Matt Smith