It is looking more and more like a Danville school will win the North Coast Section Division I girls soccer championship again this season.
But which one? Not an easy call.
San Ramon Valley and Monte Vista have met in the NCS final in each of the past two years, with the Wolves prevailing 1-0 in 2013 and the Mustangs 1-0 in 2012. The Mustangs upended San Ramon Valley in penalty kicks in the Tri-Valley Classic championship match on Dec. 21. Thus, Monte Vista vaulted from No. 33 to 10th in the Girls Winter Soccer FASB 50 rankings — one spot ahead of the Wolves.
The Wolves and Mustangs will meet twice more in EBAL action, and a date in the NCS final for a third straight year seems entirely plausible.
Looking around the area, it promises to be another fun-filled and pretty balanced season.
In the EBAL, California, always competitive under coach Lee Munson, could challenge the top two, although the Grizzlies’ 5-0 loss to the Mustangs in EBAL action on Dec. 12 had to sting a bit. Hard to predict what will happen among Amador Valley, Foothill, Granada, Livermore, and Carondelet, in the strong league with three rookie head coaches.
Bishop O’Dowd, which has won the last two NCS Division II titles, looks very good again, but the Dragons were without standouts Stephanie Zuniga, Ariel Chavarin and the coach’s daughter, Haley Nishimoto for the Classic. Health could play a key role for the Dragons in the big matches.
Always solid Castro Valley, the 2010 NCS champion and 2013 semifinalist, boasts a dangerous attack, led by fast and skillful forwards Miranda Nild and Jasmine Edwards. It looks like another three-team joust for the top spot in the WCAL-Foothill among the Trojans, defending champion O’Dowd and Berkeley.
Campolindo looks like the class of the DFAL again, but there’s lots of quality teams nipping at the Cougars’ heels. Young, but lively, College Park merits a slight edge in the DVAL, in what shapes up as a three-team battle among the Falcons, Clayton Valley Charter and Northgate. James Logan, off to a slow start, record-wise, against strong competition, looks to rule the roost again in the balanced MVAL.
East Bay High School Girls Soccer Rankings
As of Dec. 31, 2013
1, Monte Vista
2, San Ramon Valley
3, Bishop O’Dowd
6, Castro Valley
9, College Park
10, Amador Valley
14, James Logan
15(t), Clayton Valley Charter
Others: Acalanes, Alhambra, Carondelet, Dublin, Las Lomas, Liberty, Livermore, Saint Mary’s, Northgate.