Changing of the guard & Wednesday's (9/10) predictions

Not so long ago the talk of high school men’s soccer would have been Cardinal Newman and Montgomery and Piner. It would have been a slam dunk. At various times they were so far ahead of the pack most of the games they played against other schools in the Empire were no contest.

Not so now. Over the past three seasons, Maria Carrillo has won an NCS title and challenged every year, Santa Rosa has been competitive and now Elsie Allen. The Lobos beat Newman to win the preseason Healdsburg Tournament to prove they are for real.

But the real turn of events has come in the SCL where Sonoma Valley, Windsor, Analy and Healdsburg on a good day could play with anyone. And Casa Grande, Petaluma and El Molino can’t be taken lightly.

On the women’s side, the change started last year when Casa won the NCS in a thrilling final against Montgomery. It’s not quite as evident as on the men’s side, but the Gauchos, Petaluma and Sonoma Valley have cranked it up a notch. And don’t overlook Rancho Cotate.

The Vikings and the Gauchos are still the favorites to win the NCS this year, but just as it is on the men’s side, the pendulum is swinging.

Wednesday’s predictions

Men’s Game

Ukiah 4, (at) Fort Bragg 2

Women’s Games

FINAL: Rancho Cotate 3, Healdsburg 0
PREDICTION: Rancho Cotate 3, Healdsburg 0

PREDICTION: Analy 2, Windsor 1

FINAL: Casa Grande 5, El Molino 0
PREDICTION: Casa Grande 5, El Molino 0

FINAL: Petaluma 4, Sonoma Valley 1
PREDICTION: Petaluma 3, Sonoma Valley 1