Soccer playoffs all in knots

By: Jim Linsdau News Messenger/Placer Herald Sports Editor
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Although Rocklin High girls soccer finished with a 12-5-4 overall record (.667 winning percentage) it didn?t qualify for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II Playoffs playing in a conference as tough as the Sierra Foothill League. So tight was the SFL race, only one team finished below .500. Del Oro (4-0-6, 7-0-7), Woodcreek (4-1-5, 10-2-7) and Granite Bay (5-3-2) took the top three spots in the league to move on to sections. It has been said a tie is like kissing one?s sister or brother because it is neither a win nor a loss but it is both. Granite Bay had the most wins (five) and Del Oro the fewest losses (zero). However, the Golden Eagles had six ties or three additional wins and three additional losses. Translated according to the above would be a league record of seven wins and seven losses. The top three teams from the SFL move on to play against the top three teams from the Capital Valley and Metropolitan conferences. The CVL will send Bella Vista (8-0-2, 10-4-3), Casa Roble (7-1-2, 14-5-3) and Oakmont (5-5-0, 5-11-1). The last four teams in the CVL had a combined record of 18-41-9) ? 41 losses ? 11 of which belonged to the Vikings. Nothing against Oakmont, it?s a fine school but it might be time the Sac-Joaquin Section revisit its playoff selection process. The Metro Conference, on the other hand, had just six ties among eight teams. McClatchy (13-0-1, 15-2-3), Kennedy (11-1-2, 15-1-3) and Rosemont (6-3-1, 11-8-2) made the playoffs. The Lions and Cougars have respectable records but the Wolverines had more losses than Rocklin and Roseville combined (six) and neither of those two made the playoffs. Also, the MC?s bottom five teams were 17-43-2, not the stiffest of competition. And over the last two years the playoff Division II championship matches were between two SFL teams. It?s understandable why the SJS would want to bump up the SFL to Division I in the playoffs next year but hard to accept why only three would qualify for this postseason. Of course, it isn?t easy to come up with a foolproof system as far as league standings and playoff seedings are concerned. Perhaps a power rating would better serve the selection process so as to not punish a league as difficult as the SFL. However, it?s conceivable that system would mean five of the nine teams in the postseason would be from the SFL, also not good. On the brighter side, Lincoln High did make the soccer playoffs, Division III, No. 2 seed. They will host No. 3 seed El Camino Thursday night. With a starting squad made up largely of sophomores, this defense-minded group surprised the Pioneer Valley League with a 5-4-2 record, 11-5-2 overall; hats off to the Fighting Zebras for a remarkable season ? and it isn?t over yet. Getting the squeeze was Whitney High (5-4-1, 10-8-3). Fourth in the Capital Athletic League, they dropped a crucial final game to Antelope 1-0. It?s likely a tie would have put them in the playoffs ahead of El Camino (5-3-2, 11-5-3). In their two games against the Eagles, the Wildcats had a 3-2 victory and a 1-1 deadlock. Maybe like football, soccer should institute overtime.