Commentary

Grissom moves into the FAB 50

Updated: April 21, 2009, 4:53 PM ET
By Sheldon Shealer | ESPNRISE.com

Who knew a tie could be so important?

Grissom (Huntsville, Ala.) played to a 1-1 draw with state No. 1 Spain Park (Hoover, Ala.) last week in girls' soccer, which solidified the team's No. 2 state ranking and more importantly vaulted Grissom into No. 30 in this week's FAB 50.

Grissom's lone loss was to Bob Jones (Madison, Ala.), a team Grissom beat 2-0 in a rematch the day before tying Spain Park.

For those who think national rankings have no merit because of lack of out-of-state games, one look at Grissom's schedule might be eye-opening. Grissom has a 2-0 win over Owasso (Okla.), which edged Oklahoma No. 1 Jenks on penalty kicks. Grissom also has three wins over Georgia schools, including a 2-0 win over Northview (Duluth, Ga.), which is a larger margin of victory than FAB 50 No. 39 North Gwinnett's (Suwanee, Ga.) win over Northview. Simply said, there are enough crossover matches to help reasonably assess Grissom's place in the FAB 50.

On The Rise: Hershey (Pa.)

Apparently they are doing more than making chocolate in Hershey, Pa. The school's girls' soccer team moves from No. 45 to No. 27 in this week's FAB 50, powered by a perfect record and a No. 1 ranking in the state coaches' poll.

It should be noted that Hershey hails from a part of Pennsylvania that traditionally had struggled on the state level until the past two years. Hershey may inch higher in future rankings, but the real challenge will come in the PIAA state playoffs.

Shake-up: Oklahoma had a strong showing in the FAB 50, then the state's No. 1 team, Jenks (Okla.) traveled to St. Louis. Following Jenks' 0-3 showing, including losses to two then-unranked programs, all of the Oklahoma teams fell from the FAB 50.

The logic?

Well, since Jenks had defeated Oklahoma's No. 2 team to rightfully earn the state's No. 1 ranking on the field, the St. Louis performance could indicate the Oklahoma programs are not as strong as they were last year. In 2008, Jenks went 2-1 in St. Louis, and that performance helped validate Jenks, as well as Tulsa Union, which later won the state title, beating Jenks along the way.

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