Commentary

Bowie, Wheat Ridge reach perfection

Updated: June 25, 2009, 7:40 PM ET
By Sheldon Shealer | ESPNRISE.com

When it comes to national rankings, high school soccer poses a problem unique to the high school sports landscape: there's no particular season.

Depending on the state, soccer could be a fall, winter or spring sport. Therefore, during the course of the school year, ESPN RISE recognizes a FAB 50 for each season. Now that the school year is complete, we are consolidating our three-season FAB 50 polls into one end-of-the-year Super 50.

The following factors, beyond win-loss records, were taken into consideration to identify the Super 50 teams: number of college-bound players, with an emphasis on NCAA Division I signees; number of elite club players; level of competition; level of dominance over competition and historical greatness of that particular team compared to others in the past from same state.

Today, we continue the countdown to our overall No. 1 with teams ranked No. 35 through 31:

BOYS

35. Davis (Davis, Calif.)
Record: 20-3-2
Ranking: Fall No. 18
Notes: CIF-Sac-Joaquin Section Division I runner-up. After stunning then -FAB 50 No. 2 Sacramento Jesuit, Davis fell victim to a hot Merced squad in the section final. Jeff Strickland signed with Cal Poly-SLO. Senior midfielder Andisheh Bagheri was an ESPNRISE.com fall All-America honorable mention performer.

34. South Aiken (Aiken, S.C.)
Record: 20-1-0
Ranking: Spring No. 5
Notes: South Carolina Class 3A state champion. After a scoreless regulation, South Aiken rallied from a 1-0 deficit in overtime for a 2-1 win over favored Eastside in the state final. Brett Van Pelt scored less than a minute after Eastside took a 1-0 lead and Allen Grier added the match-winner. South Aiken's lone loss this year was on penalty kicks in a district match. South Aiken won the rematch with that team, Airport, 3-0 in the playoffs.

33. Collins Hill (Suwanee, Ga.)
Record: 19-3-0
Ranking: Spring No. 4
Notes: Georgia Class AAAAA State Champion. Malcolm Miller, a junior, who has committed to Michigan, scored eight of the team's nine postseason goals en route to the school's first state title.

32. Bowie (Bowie, Md.)
Record: 18-0-0
Ranking: Fall No. 17
Notes: Maryland Class 4A State Champion. Bowie earned the state's No. 1 ranking on the field by defeating Perry Hall in the final, the same Perry Hall squad that handed McDonogh an upset early in the season. Josh Patterson and Dylan Thompson scored for Bowie in the 2-1 state final victory. Bowie was once a state power in the 1980s and 1990s in a run that included a Gatorade National Player of the Year. This was the first title for Bowie since going back-to-back in 1990 and 1991.

31. Merced (Merced, Calif.)
Record: 22-1-2
Ranking: Fall No. 16
Notes: CIF-Sac-Joaquin Section Division I Champion. Merced pulled off the surprise of the season in the West, knocking off Davis in the section final. It marks Merced's first section championship. Junior standout Cristian Alvarez scored the only goal in the team's 1-0 section final win over Davis.

GIRLS

35. Aliso Niguel (Aliso Viejo, Calif.)
Record: 22-2-3
Ranking: Winter No. 10
Notes: CIF-Southern Section Division I semifinalist. Aliso's season ended with a shootout loss to Los Alamitos. Georgetown signee Mollie Curran and Haley Horton earned CIF-Southern Section Division I first-team honors. Junior keeper Kat messinger, who has committed to the University of California, was a second-team pick along with Lauren Evans.

34. Los Alamitos (Los Alamintos, Calif.)
Record: 25-5-5
Ranking: Winter No. 9
Notes: Southern California Regional Division I semifinalist. CIF-Southern Section Division I runner-up. In back-to-back tournaments, Los Alamitos lost to San Clemente. Los Al fell to San Clemente in the Southern Section final and then again in the SCR semifinals, both by 2-0 scores. Los Al defeated San Clemente 2-0 early in the season. Other key results for the Griffins include wins over Aliso Niguel (in PKs) and Torrey Pines and two losses to Esperanza. Jessa Yukihiro (Southern Utah signee) and Amanda McDonough were first-team, all-section selections.

33. Xavier College Prep (Phoenix, Ariz.)
Record: 22-2-1
Ranking: Winter No. 8
Notes: Arizona Class 5A-I State Champion. Carmen Abella converted the deciding penalty kick as Xavier defeated Desert Vista in a shootout following a scoreless match for the state title. Boston College signee Jessica Petznick was honored as the top defender in the state. Junior keeper Annie Graham and junior midfielder Samantha Cummings were first-team, all-state selections, along with Petznick.

32. Esperanza (Anaheim, Calif.)
Record: 22-3-2
Ranking: Winter No. 7
Notes: Southern California Regional Division I quarterfinalist. This former FAB 50 No. 1 team with Tennessee signee Kylie Bono and Southern Cal signee Courtney Garcia fell to San Clemente on penalty kicks following a scoreless draw in the quarterfinals.

31. Wheat Ridge (Wheat Ridge, Colo.)
Record: 19-0-0
Ranking: Spring No. 15
Notes: Colorado Class 4A State Champion. Elle Ossello assisted the first goal and scored the match-winner as Wheat Ridge edged underclassmen-dominated Valor Christian 2-1 in the state final. Wheat Ridge was spending its first year in Class 4A after moving down from 5A. The team allowed only three goals in 19 matches.

Sheldon Shealer covers youth soccer for ESPNRISE.com. He can be reached at Sheldon.Shealer@espn.com .