Eight state champs occupy next 10 spots
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. 20 through 16:
20. East Kentwood (Kentwood, Mich.)
Ranking: Fall No. 11
Notes: Michigan Division I State Champion. East Kentwood became the first school to repeat as the state's Division I champion in the 11 years since the current playoff format was introduced. East Kentwood defeated Livonia Stevenson 1-0 in overtime for the championship. The team, which was hit hard by graduation last year, returned with a defensively sound squad, posting 22 shutouts in 27 matches. Senior Bung Jin Lee netted the game-winner with less than two minutes remaining in overtime.
19. St. Xavier (Louisville, Ky.)
Ranking: Fall No. 10
Notes: Kentucky State Champion. St. Xavier routed Highlands 7-2 in the state final, ending the season on a 16-match win streak. St. Xavier has won back-to-back state titles, and sports a 47-1-2 record over the past two seasons. Senior standout and two-time Kentucky Player of the Year Kevin Bick signed with Indiana. Ryan Smith is heading to Louisville and Kyle Schickel signed with Northwestern.
18. Pingry School (Martinsville, N.J.)
Ranking: Fall No. 9
Notes: New Jersey Non-Public Group A State Champion. Will Stamatis scored twice as Pingry capped an undefeated season with a 3-0 state final victory over St. Augstine. The only blemish on Pingry's record was a draw with FAB 50-ranked Chaminade (N.Y.). Coach Miller Bugliari collected his 700th win during the season, and carries a 714-89-54 mark through 49 seasons.
17. Frank Cox (Virginia Beach, Va.)
Ranking: Spring No. 2
Notes: Virginia Group AAA State Champion. Neil Harrison's overtime header lifted Frank Cox to a 2-1 victory over Mills Godwin in the state final, despite playing a man down for 67 minutes. The title marked the first for Cox since 1990 and the first for the Eastern Region since 1997. In the state semifinals, senior Will Martin had two goals and two assists in a 4-0 victory over Westfield. This underclassmen-dominated team started only three seniors. The junior class includes Old Dominion recruit Ryan Oakes and sophomore prospect Eric Bird.
16. Reitz Memorial (Evansville, Ind.)
Ranking: Fall No. 8
Notes: Indiana State Champion. Reitz Memorial became the first program to repeat as Indiana state champion since the 1999 season. The Tigers bested Zionsville in PKs following a 2-2 draw. This year's squad was led by sophomore scoring sensation Max Lachowecki. The team won a bracket at the Gateway City Soccer Classic, and carries a 50-match undefeated streak into 2009.
20. John F. Kennedy (Cedar Rapids, Iowa)
Ranking: Spring No. 6
Notes: Iowa Class 2-A State Champion. Kennedy rallied from a 1-0 deficit to defeat Iowa City West 3-1 in the state final. Iowa signee Jade Grimm scored the second and third goals for Kennedy, which became a state champion after three straight runner-up finishes. This senior-loaded squad has five players committed to play soccer in college in the fall, four to NCAA Division I programs.
19. Strongsville (Strongsville, Ohio)
Ranking: Fall No. 8
Notes: Ohio Division I state runner-up. Strongsville outshot St. Ursula, hit the post with a shot and had a goal waved off by an offside call in a 1-0 loss in the state final. This is Strongsville's second straight runner-up finish to St. Ursula. Strongsville was led by Maryland commit Danielle Hubka. Ashley Meier, an underclassman and another major prospect, will be expected to lead the team in the future.
18. Immaculate Heart Academy (Washington Township, N.J.)
Ranking: Fall No. 7
Notes: New Jersey Non-Public A State Champion. Rachel Wechsler, an East Carolina signee, scored twice as IHA rolled Morris Catholic 4-0 to claim the North Jersey Non-Public A title. Next up is a showdown with FAB 50-ranked Red Bank Catholic, which ousted defending state champion Gloucester Catholic. Defender Jaclyn Wood, a first-team, all-state player, signed with Villanova.
17. Foothill (Pleasanton, Calif.)
Ranking: Winter No. 6
Notes: CIF-North Coast Section runner-up. Foothill was 13 minutes away from the FAB 50 national title before San Ramon Valley rallied for a 4-3 victory. Foothill was hailed as the most talented high school team ever assembled in Northern California. Carlee Payne scored all three Foothill goals in the final. Nine Foothill players signed with NCAA Division I programs, including national team member Olivia Klei (Santa Clara), Sophie Metz (UCLA) and Payne (BYU).
16. San Ramon Valley (Danville, Calif.)
Ranking: Winter No. 5
Notes: CIF-North Coast Section Champion. San Ramon Valley stunned Foothill 4-3 in overtime in the section final for its fourth straight title. SRV trailed 3-1 with 15 minutes left before mounting the comeback. Allie Begin scored the winning goal in overtime. Defender Amanda Glass signed with the University of California, and Hillary Harvey is headed to San Diego State.
Sheldon Shealer covers youth soccer for ESPNRISE.com. He can be reached at Sheldon.Shealer@espn.com .
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