With league seasons starting to head for the stretch run, area boys and girls soccer teams find themselves in fights for their playoff lives.
The CIF Sac-Joaquin Section qualifies playoff teams by league finish and then breaks the field down into divisions by enrollment. Locally, the top-3 finishing boys and girls teams in both the Foothill Valley and Pioneer Valley leagues will advance.
Meanwhile, the Sierra Foothill League, because of its league strength and past playoff history, will send its top-5 finishing teams to the postseason.
Here’s how area teams’ postseason plans are currently shaping up:
Placer – The Hillmen snapped a two-match FVL losing skid last week with a 3-0 win over Nevada Union as freshman Alejandro Prieto scored all three goals for the winners. The win left Placer with a 2-2-2 FVL mark coming into this week’s matches.
The Hillmen entered the week with eight points trailing Oakmont (3-0-3, 12 points), Ponderosa (4-1-1, 13 points) and Lincoln (3-1-2, 11 points) in the league standings. Placer can make some ground though in the league standings as its final matches are all at home, including a key 7 p.m. contest Thursday against Oakmont.
Prieto has been Placer’s top scorer this season with seven goals scored. Following with three each are Cyrus O’Neal, Mitchell Keddie and Jesus Carrasco, all with three scores apiece.
Del Oro – Coach Matt Scammacca’s Golden Eagles played two strong matches last week but fell to Whitney, 4-1, and Oak Ridge, 2-1. Kyle Wesolowski tallied the goal against Whitney via a Kody Green assist. In the loss to Oak Ridge, freshman Drew Dennis had an unassisted goal.
Del Oro, 2-3 in SFL matches, has three scheduled contests this week including two with Folsom, the second one at home at 6 p.m. Friday against the Bulldogs.
Colfax – The Falcons (1-3) have their work cut out for themselves in an effort to make the postseason as Center (4-1), Lindhurst (4-1) and Foothill (3-1) have thus far all separated from the PVL pack.
The Falcons have two games remaining against Marysville and one against Bear River but will probably have to pull an upset or two and get help to reach the league’s top three.
Placer – A preferred schedule down the stretch could bolster Placer’s title and playoff hopes. Coming into the week, the Hillmen girls were tied for third in the FVL with Oakmont, both 3-2-1. Ponderosa (5-0-0) leads the league followed by Lincoln (4-2-0).
However, because an early league match with Ponderosa was switched because of weather, Placer will have four straight home matches to end its league season. The critical ones look to be Thursday against Oakmont and next Tuesday (Feb. 5) versus Ponderosa.
In the latest action, Jill Worthington, Charity Myers, Stacy Johnson and Krystal Crawford all tallied goals in Placer’s 4-0 blanking of Nevada Union.
Colfax – The Lady Falcons are one of the few teams in the area that have punched their playoff ticket. Thanks to a 1-1 draw with defending CIF Division IV champion Center Monday night, Colfax also looks to be seeded high when the playoff brackets are released.
“The girls played their hearts out Monday against a very, very good Center team,” said Colfax coach Kara Diederichs. “Very pleased with our effort.”
Colfax, now 5-1-1 in PVL matches remains a half-game behind Center in the league chase. Monday, the Lady Falcons scored when Lea Reese put one past the Cougars’ keeper off a free kick from Alex Melendez. Goalie Cassidy Tracy was credited with two huge saves while Faith Mora, Marinna Grijalva and Mariah Vossoghi all played superb matches.