By MICHAEL COIT
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
The large school girls’ section soccer title should come out of the North Bay League based on playoff seeding with defending champion Maria Carrillo the heavy favorite.
Middletown and Sonoma Academy grabbed the top seeds in the small school playoff bracket.
With opening round games set for Wednesday, the North Coast Section playoffs provide a showcase for the Empire’s best. Ranked number one in the nation, unbeaten and never-tied Maria Carrillo tops them all.
“We hope to continue what we’re doing, but there’s no sure bet,” said Maria Carrillo coach Debra LaPrath.
Maria Carrillo gets a first round bye as do NBL rivals Cardinal Newman, Montgomery and Casa Grande. So dominant is the league that fourth place Casa Grande gets a second round home match with Sonoma County League champion Analy.
Another potentially tough second round contest is SCL runner up Petaluma at Montgomery. Petaluma first must get past league foe Sonoma Valley on Wednesday.
Coaches expected the NBL to get favorable seeding. Realignment of the NBL and SCL moved traditional powers Casa Grande and Windsor into the NBL. Piner and Elsie Allen went over to the SCL, and Elsie Allen only fielded a junior varsity squad this season.
“Every week was a hard week in our league. I imagine the other schools will have trouble with the strength of our league,” LaPrath said.
Still, the SCL was plenty competitive and Analy was the league’s best.
“Our strength is we fight hard every game to the end,” said Analy coach Joseph Heil.
Familiar foes are lined up to compete for the small school girls’ section title.
North Central League I champion Middletown is the top seed and gets a league opponent in round two, either St. Helena or Fort Bragg.
Second seed Sonoma Academy, winner of the North Central League II, would face rival Roseland University Prep should the Knights handle Technology in the opening round. St. Vincent gets an NCL II foe in round two if Calistoga can win over South Fork.
Also earning first round byes were St. Vincent and Cloverdale. St. Vincent is the two time defending small school girls’ section champion.
You can reach Staff Writer Michael Coit at 521-5470 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
NCS GIRLS SOCCER SCHEDULE
Games involving local teams
GIRLS’ DIVISION 1 SOCCER BRACKET
(9) Windsor (NBL) 9-9 vs. (8) Arcata (HDNL) 17-3* at McKinleyville, 7 p.m.
(10) Fortuna (HDNL) 16-4 at (7) Rancho Cotate (NBL) 10-10-2, 5 p.m.
(11) Sonoma Valley (SCL) 6-6 at (6) Petaluma (SCL) 10-3-1, 7 p.m.
GIRLS’ DIVISION 3 SOCCER BRACKET
(9) Fort Bragg (NCL I) 10-9-1 at (8) St. Helena (NCL I) 8-5-1, 7 p.m.
(12) Ferndale (HDNL) 3-9-2 at (5) Clear Lake (NCL I) 14-9-1, 7 p.m.
(10) Technology (NCL II) 7-6-2 vs. (7) Roseland Univ. Prep (NCL II) 10-9-2, at Elsie Allen, 5 p.m.
(11) South Fork (HDNL) 5-9-3 vs. (6) Calistoga (NCL II) 12-7, at Napa County Fairgrounds, 7 p.m.
* designated champion