When it comes to high school soccer in Tulare County, two things are almost always certain.
First, the Central Valley Christian girls will run away with the Central Sequoia League championship.
And second, the Tulare Union girls will win the East Yosemite League championship.
CVC, which has won four straight CSL titles and 109 consecutive league matches dating back to Feb. 6, 2002, should be in a position to keep both streaks alive.
Tulare Union has won seven straight EYL championships, but they haven't always been as easy as CVC's titles. This year should be no different with the Redskins having to deal with crosstown rivals Tulare Western and Mission Oak.
Here are some more story lines to keep an eye on:
Defending their titles: There were four Tulare County teams that captured Central Section championships last season. The Mt. Whitney boys won the Division III title, the Lindsay boys won the Division IV title, the Woodlake boys won the Division V title and the Strathmore girls won the Division VI title. All four teams were very senior heavy. It will be interesting to see if these four champions are rebuilding or reloading. All four teams should be strong, but duplicating the types of seasons they had will be very difficult.
WYL Parity: Year after year, the race for the West Yosemite League boys championship comes down to the very last day. Last season was no different with Golden West and Mt. Whitney each earning a share of the championship. Looking around at the four Visalia teams in the WYL, it is very difficult to point out a clear favorite. It looks like another very competitive season in the WYL is in the works.
New-look EYL: When the Tulare Union girls and Monache boys captured their respective East Yosemite League championships last season, they had to do it against eight other teams. The EYL has now dwindled down to six teams, but it should make that league much more competitive. With just 10 league games on the schedule, it will definitely make each one that much more important. A slip up at the wrong time could cost a team a league title.
Tulare County was loaded in talent last season, starting with the boys and girls Times-Delta/Advance-Register Tulare County players of the year in Lindsay's Jonathan Colunga and Redwood's Alyssa Cruz, respectively. Both players were dominant in their own right. Who will step in and become the next stars of Tulare County?
Here is a look at some players to keep an eye on:
Eber Ramirez, Mt. Whitney: As a junior, Eber finished with nine goals and five assists for the WYL and Division III champions. He really flourished in the postseason, showing off his array of skills and ability to strike from anywhere on the pitch.
Joey Chica, El Diamante: Chica is already off to a great start this season. The Miners lost their opener against Mission Oak 4-3, but Chica established himself as a key player with a three-goal performance. He showed off his strong leg during the football season as El Diamante's kicker and displayed plenty of athleticism as one of the team's wide receivers.
Johnny Cervantes, Farmersville: The Aztecs have plenty of guys who can put the ball into the back of the net and Cervantes is one of them. As a sophomore, he scored nine goals and dished out six assists, but his value comes as the team's fullback. With his size, strength and speed, Cervantes is easily one of the top defenders in Tulare County.
Lynzee Gilliland, Tulare Union: As a sophomore, she was named the East Yosemite League's most valuable player -- and deservedly so. She finished with 25 goals and 14 assists.
Nicole Bouvia, CVC: The former Tulare County player of the year has had an incredibly productive career. She was slowed by injuries last season, but she still finished with 27 goals.
Anyssa Dominguez, Tulare Western: The striker burst onto the varsity scene as a freshman with 26 goals and four assists. She was an All-Tulare County second-team selection last year and figures to be a prominent part of the Mustangs offensive attack this season.
Tulare County Rankings
For the sake of discussion, here are the top five teams in Tulare County:
1. Monache. 2. Farmersville. 3. Mission Oak 4. Dinuba. 5. Lindsay.
1. Tulare Union. 2. CVC. 3. Tulare Western. 4. Redwood. 5. Mission Oak