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High School Soccer Notebook: Tulare County teams make playoff pitch

Teams gear up for postseason as regular season winds down


12:00 AM, Feb. 06, 2013 EST

Tulare Union's Kaitlyn Sartuche, left, battles with Tulare Western's Haley DeWitt Martinez in an EYL girls soccer match on Jan. 23 at Tulare Western. / Ron Holman

There are still some things to be decided during the high school boys and girls regular soccer season.

But next week marks the beginning of the Central Section playoffs and several Tulare County teams have their eyes set on a potential Valley championship run.

Because it changes from year to year, here is a look at each of the six boys and girls divisions. Where are the Tulare County teams slated to play, and what are their projections as far as seedings are concerned?

Girls

Division I

Tulare Union is the only Tulare County team in Division I. The Redskins still have some work to do in order to win an eighth straight East Yosemite League title.

The EYL championship will be decided today when the Redskins host Tulare Western at 6 p.m. at Bob Mathias Stadium.

A league title might not even be enough to get the Redskins a top five seed in the division.

The Redskins are a victim of their own success in the EYL as they are forced to play in a division they probably shouldn't be in.

Division II

The biggest threat to make a run to the Central Section championship game is Redwood.

The West Yosemite League champion Rangers are all but locked into the No. 2 seed behind Frontier, which defeated the Rangers 2-0 earlier this season.

Tulare Western, Monache and Mt. Whitney have also qualified for the Division II playoffs. The Mustangs, led by sophomore forward Anyssa Dominguez, are more than capable of making a deep playoff run.

Monache hasn't been able to keep up with the top teams in the EYL, and Mt. Whitney is a big mystery. The Pioneers are a much-improved team, which could also make some noise in the postseason.

Division III

Central Valley Christian is the only Tulare County team locked in to reach the postseason in this division.

Porterville and Dinuba aren't going to finish with a .500 overall or league record, and Golden West needs to win its final two games to secure a .500 WYL record.

The Cavaliers are looking at a potential No. 3 or No. 4 seed in the division.

Division IV

Mission Oak, Exeter and Strathmore are the three Tulare County teams in the bracket and all three are headed to the postseason.

The top seed will go to Caruthers, which was undefeated as of Tuesday, but Mission Oak could be in line for a No. 2 or No. 3 seed.

Division V

Lindsay is the only Tulare County team to qualify in this division. The Cardinals are in contention for an East Sequoia League title, and are led by goal-scoring machine Jannely Rangel.

Division VI

Farmersville is on the cusp of qualifying for the postseason if it can defeat Orosi in the final game of the regular season Friday.

Outlook

It appears as if the chances are against a Central Section girls championship game being held in Tulare County.

The best bet would be Redwood or Mission Oak if the top seeds in those two divisions get upset somewhere along the line.

Boys

Tulare Western is the only Tulare County team in Division I. The Mustangs have already qualified for a playoff berth, but they will have to take their show on the road.

Division II

With Golden West, Monache and El Diamante, Division II features three of the top five teams in Tulare County.

The top seed is likely going to go to Golden Valley, but those three Tulare County teams should occupy the 2-3-4 seeds, depending on how they close out the regular season.

Add teams like Sunnyside and Reedley into the mix, and Division II should be extremely competitive.

Division III

Word around the Central Section is that Selma is loaded. The Bears are going to be the No. 1 seed.

Tulare County teams looking to knock off Selma include defending champion Mt. Whitney and Dinuba, which was runner-up to Mt. Whitney.

Mission Oak needs a win against Delano in the final game of the season to secure a playoff berth.

Division IV

Lindsay, last year's Division V champion, made the move up one division.

The Cardinals could be the darkhorse in this division. They got off to a slow start this season, but are in position to repeat as East Sequoia League champions.

With coach Fode Doumbia leading the way, don't count the Cardinals out as they look for a third Valley title.

Defending Division IV champion Woodlake still has a chance to get into the postseason. The Tigers need one win in their final two games.

Division V

Orosi is one of the top five teams in Tulare County and could very well be the top team in this division.

The Cardinals can strengthen their case as the top seed with a win over Division VI powerhouse Farmersville in the final game of the regular season.

CVC earned a spot in the playoffs for the first time in four years with a 2-0 win over Exeter on Tuesday.

Division VI

Farmersville is the only Tulare County team that will be in this division's playoff bracket.

The Aztecs are a strong contender to be the top seed, but Avenal and Mendota also make strong cases.

The top three teams should be extremely competitive against each other. They may be in Division VI, but the level of play these three teams bring to the table, matches anything you'll see in any other division.

Outlook

Trying to break down what is going to happen in any boys division is almost impossible. So many of these teams match up so well, the tournaments could play out any number of ways.

It would not be surprising to see as many as five championship games featuring at least one Tulare County team. It could also go the other way where no Tulare County teams reach a final.

 

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