In the preview for the girls side of the Marin County Athletic League, it was mentioned that the top three teams were separated by four points. But that was outdone last season by the boys as the top five teams…
In the preview for the girls side of the Marin County Athletic League, it was mentioned that the top three teams were separated by four points. But that was outdone last season by the boys as the top five teams were separated by four points, there was a tie for first with the third place team being just a point off the pace.
Needless to say, it is a very competitive league on the boys side and it should be so again. Despite graduation, the two teams at the top, Redwood and Tamalpais, will still be top competitors. Terra Linda and San Rafael finished third and fourth a year ago and both boasted fast, creative and possession-style teams that were fun to watch, and should be right in the fold again as well.
Archie Williams was one of the more fascinating teams in the North Coast Section last year. They would go up and down during the league season, dropping or drawing a game here and there that you wouldn’t expect, leading to a fifth-place finish, and just outside the league playoffs. But the Falcons won the NCS Division III title, and then made the NorCal Division II State finals. They were a blend of what you want as a coach, tough in the back, fast in the midfield and dynamic up top.
It gets interesting after that where Branson made a charge and got hot at the end of last season, won four out of five heading into the NCS DIV playoffs and then reached the semifinals. The Bulls, along with San Marin, Novato and Marin Catholic will all look to move up the table this season.
Archie does not return any all-league players, as the four selected have graduated, but the Falcons return seven key seniors from last year’s team in Owen Carroll, Barrett Acker, Anton Della Valle, Luca Genovese Luca Genovese M CA , Achilles Das, Leo Mohan Lewin and Tiernan Bratcher. They also have a very good coach in Rene Ayala, so Archie will be in the league mix.
Branson returns all-league keeper Finn Dossey Finn Dossey GK CA , a second-team selection a season ago. With veteran leadership in between the posts, Branson will be a tough team to score goals against. The Bulls did only allow seven goals in their last eight matches a season ago.
The Wildcats return all-league honorable mention defender Michael Myers for a team that is looking to improve on last year’s finish. They had 11 freshman or sophomore a season ago, so they should be more experienced and vastly improved this season.
The Hornets are looking to improve on last year’s one-win season, and also lost all-league forward Chris De Leon to graduation.
All-league first-team selection Jack Middleton returns to the midfield for the Giants, who won the NCS Division II crown last year in addition to winning the MCAL regular season and playoff titles. They did lose 14 seniors from last year’s team, so there will be a learning curve, but they also return honorable mention selection Ensio Sardans Ensio Sardans D CA , a junior defender.
San Marin had a nice season a year ago, winning seven games and earning an NCS playoff berth. They return honorable mention player Christian Garcia in addition to having 16 underclassmen on the roster a season ago. San Marin could be a surprise this season.
The Bulldogs might have lost Juan Bonilla to graduation, but they had 16 underclassmen on last year’s roster, meaning they should return plenty of experience. One of those players is Norman Tellez, a very fast, creative and gifted midfielder who likes to score, but is also excellent at picking a pass and setting up his teammates. Tellez plays for the Marin FC 04 Blue team.
“We are excited to see how Norman has progressed playing at a high level,” head coach Edgar Hernandez said. “Above all, it is great having such a great person as part of the program.”
Tellez will be joined in the midfield by Angel Hidalgo, who has improved greatly from his sophomore season where he featured as the team’s No. 6. They also return three of the four members of the back line in Jose Ruiz Jose Ruiz F CA , Lucas Wheeler Lucas Wheeler D CA and all-league selection Toni Cortez. These three are not afraid to push up into the attack.
Joining them in the back four will be transfer Alejandro Benavides-Garb Alejandro Benavides-Garb D CA , who comes in from McKinleyville. He plays ECNL at Santa Rosa United.
Teo Cristea Teo Cristea F CA and Gio Hernandez, just sophomore, should be very key contributors as well.
San Rafael did graduate 14 key seniors, but do look to have the horses to be one of the top teams in the league.
“Our biggest challenge this year will be replacing the 23 goals that Juan Bonilla scored last year,” Hernandez said. “Though we are excited about this senior class and the leadership they’ve shown.”
Legendary girls coach Shane Kennedy is back, this time on the boys side, looking to build off of a season that saw them tie atop the MCAL standings in the regular season. The Hawks do lose three first-team all-league players, a second-team all-leaguer, but return an honorable mention player in Jasper Kunz, a senior striker. Kunz had six goals and two assists last year while fellow senior Adam Leikin Adam Leikin F CA had five goals and three assists, and is returning.
The Trojans finished just a point out of first place last season, and reached the MCAL playoff final, losing a close 1-0 game to Redwood in the closing minutes. This team could be the favorite this year, with the Maldonado boys returning, Elvin and Kleber, who were first-team all-league selections a season ago. Let’s not forget about a third Maldonado, Chris, who was a second-team all-league selection and is returning along with Roan Goertz Roan Goertz M CA , another second-teamer. Honorable mention keeper Jorge Arellano Jorge Arellano GK CA is also back, as this team is loaded.