Commentary

Northwestern (S.C.), Pennington (N.J.) top the charts

Updated: June 26, 2009, 7:37 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 finish the countdown to our overall No. 1 with teams ranked No. 5 through 1:

BOYS

5. Jesuit (New Orleans)
Record: 31-0-2
Ranking: Winter No. 1
Notes: Louisiana Division I State Champion. Mark Reuther scored twice and was named MVP, as Jesuit capped an undefeated season with a 3-1 state final victory over Captain Shreve. Jesuit's top player, Patrick Mullins, a junior who has verbally committed to Maryland, missed the state tournament while competing for the Region III team in Argentina.

4. Myers Park (Charlotte, N.C.)
Record: 25-0-0
Ranking: Fall No. 3
Notes: North Carolina Class 4A State Champion. Myers Park capped a perfect season with a dramatic 4-3 win over FAB 50-ranked New Hanover in the state final. New Hanover scored first, but Myers Park answered with four goals before New Hanover rallied in the second half to make it close. Justin Davis scored Myers Park's first goal, and was named the game's MVP. The team set a school record for victories.

3. St. Anthony's (Melville, N.Y.)
Record: 22-0-1
Ranking: Fall No. 2
Notes: New York Catholic State Champion. St. Anthony's capped an undefeated run with a 4-1 state final victory over Archbishop Molloy. Mike Valencia, Greg Mallia, Henry Tirado and Chris Durant all scored for a team that had balanced scoring the entire season. St. Anthony's went 5-0-1 against FAB 50-ranked Chaminade and St. John the Baptist, and its lopsided win over Archbishop Curley (Md.) helped put this team's season in perspective.

2. Brentwood (Brentwood, N.Y.)
Record: 24-0-0
Ranking: Fall No. 1
Notes: New York Class AA State Champion. Joseph Lopez netted four goals as Brentwood capped a perfect season with a pair of 2-1 wins at the state tournament. In the final, Brentwood defeated Clarence. Lopez, the area's Player of the Year, returns along with six other starters, four of whom play for the Albertson Fury Academy club team.

1. Northwestern (Rock Hill, S.C.)
Record: 24-0-0
Ranking: Spring No. 1
Notes: South Carolina Class 4A State Champion. Ricardo Garbanzo scored twice, and Enzo Martinez capped his career with goal No. 182 as Northwestern defeated Irmo 3-1 before 8,000 fans at Memorial Stadium in Columbia. All four seniors in Northwestern's starting lineup have signed with NCAA Division I programs, including North Carolina-bound Martinez. Northwestern was the FAB 50 preseason No. 1 team and held the ranking the entire season.

Past Overall No. 1s
Year: School, Season
2009: Northwestern (Rock Hill, S.C.), Spring
2008: Varela (Miami), Winter
2007: St. Benedict's (Newark, N.J.), Fall
2006: Thomas Dale (Midlothian, Va.), Spring
2005: Upper St. Clair (Pittsburgh), Fall
2004: Sacramento Jesuit (Carmichael, Calif.), Fall
2003: Mills Godwin (Richmond, Va.), Spring
2002: Bellarmine Prep (San Jose, Calif.), Winter
2001: Horizon (Thornton, Colo.), Fall
2000: Bellarmine Prep (San Jose, Calif.), Winter

GIRLS

5. Leesville Road (Raleigh, N.C.)
Record: 23-0-3
Ranking: Spring No. 3
Notes: North Carolina Class 4A State Champion. Leesville Road ran its undefeated streak to 35 matches en route to winning its second straight state title under veteran coach Paul Dinkenor. Leesville Road allowed only eight goals in a schedule that included 10 matches against state-ranked opponents. The team had only two seniors in the starting lineup: UNC-Greensboro signee Nitang Jones and Appalachian State signee Michelle Jewell. The junior class features defenders Claudel Pilon (North Carolina State), Nicole Jewell (Northwestern) and Emily Burchette (UNC-Wilmington).

4. Melbourne (Melbourne, Fla.)
Record: 23-0-1
Ranking: Winter No. 1
Notes: Florida Class 6A State Champion. Melbourne denied Douglas a sixth state title in seven years with a 3-0 victory in the final. Carlee Jones had a goal and one assist in the final. Kristin Grubka, a sophomore and ODP regional team performer, was named the Class 6A Player of the Year after a season in which she netted 32 goals. At the state tournament, Grubka played in goal, and shut out Douglas in the state final. Junior Nicole DiPerna has verbally committed to Florida International. Senior Michelle Grubka and freshman Rachel Price were first-team, all-area picks. Price, DiPerna and Kristin Grubka combined for 82 goals and 40 assists.

3. Broad Run (Ashburn, Va.)
Record: 23-0-1
Ranking: Spring No. 2
Notes: Virginia Group AA State Champion. Broad Run ran its undefeated streak to 48 matches with a 3-0 victory over Hidden Valley in the state final. This senior-based team was led by All-Metro Player of the Year and Florida signee Holly King. UNC-Wilmington signee Caitlin Hunter posted a state record 20 shutouts. In the state final, Erin Bray, Whitney Church and Valerie Powell scored goals.

2. Chatfield Senior (Littleton, Colo.)
Record: 19-0-1
Ranking: Spring No. 1
Notes: Colorado Class 5A State Champion. Fresno State signee Callie Hancock scored in the 58th minute and Arizona State-bound keeper Alyssa Gillmore posted her 15th shutout, as Chatfield edged Air Academy 1-0 in the state final. Chatfield's starting lineup featured five NCAA Division I signees, Hancock, Gillmore, Kelsey Latham (Jacksonville), Stephanie Rowe (New Mexico) and Sarah Schmeda (Nevada).

1. Pennington Prep (Pennington, N.J.)
Record: 18-0-0
Ranking: Fall No. 1
Notes: New Jersey Prep A State Champion. Kaitlyn Kerr netted the game-winner as Pennington wrapped up its sixth straight Prep A state title with a 1-0 victory over Peddie School. Peddie's only losses this year were to Pennington. Pennington's run for the title match included five matches in seven days. Even without North Carolina-bound Amber Brooks, who played for the under-17 national team at the World Champions last fall, Pennington was solid, and produced results. The team had wins over three state No. 1 and FAB 50-ranked squads. Kerr has committed to Duke. Seniors Alex Carugati and Heidi Sabatura signed with Villanova. Junior defender Alex DeMaio committed to Vermont.

Past Overall No. 1s
Year: School, Season
2009: Pennington Prep (Pennington, N.J.), Fall
2008: Waubonsie Valley (Aurora, Ill.), Spring
2007: Waubonsie Valley (Aurora, Ill.), Spring
2006: Upland (Upland, Calif.), Winter
2005: Neuqua Valley (Naperville, Ill.), Spring
2004: New Trier (Winnetka, Ill.), Spring
2003: Carmel (Carmel, Ind.), Fall
2002: St. Joseph's Academy (St. Louis, Mo.), Spring
2001: Broughton (Raleigh, N.C.), Spring
2000: Germantown (Tenn.), Fall

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