Three new teams have earned a spot in this week's ESPNHS ECNL Under-18 Power Rankings. Solar Chelsea beat two ranked teams -- including previously untouchable Dallas Texans -- to catapult to the No. 7 spot, Scorpions handled a strong Albertson Fury squad to earn No. 9, and Slammers continued a long winning streak to come in at No. 10.
On Sunday, No. 1 Dallas Texans and No. 7 Solar Chelsea go head to head for the second time in a week, just five days after Solar Chelsea handed Texans its first loss of the season. Texans' Kelsey Shimmick and Mary Lonsberry make for a dynamic offensive duo, but Solar has a striking pair of their own in Taylor Smith and Jana Jeffrey. This game has implications in our rankings, in Texas Conference standings, and in the big Dallas-area rivalry.
No. 8 Arsenal and No. 10 Slammers are in an interesting position. Slammers has a firm grip on the SoCal Conference, and has already clinched that title. But Arsenal is higher in Flight A standings, and they beat Slammers 4-2 the last time they met. Watch for Arsenal's Ifeoma Onumony and Slammers' Makenzy Doniak to duke it out in this game offensively.
Also on Sunday, No. 4 FC Stars of Massachusetts takes on rival PDA in a game that means so many different things. First, they are battling for the top spot in the Northeast Conference standings, where Stars of Mass sits in first place by only a fraction of a point. Second, these two teams both sit on the doorstep of Flight A playoff spots, and a win is all but essential to earn a trip to the top eight in Waukeegan. Of course, with a game of this magnitude, their spot in our rankings is also on the line.
Throughout the rest of the season, ESPNHS will offer a weekly glance at the top ten teams in each age group. These rankings, indicative of the results of a team rather than a prediction of future outcomes, offer a sampling of some of the top talent in the game.
This Weekend's Top 10 Matches
No. 1 Dallas Texans vs. No. 7 Solar Chelsea
No. 4 FC Stars of Mass vs. PDA
No. 5 Mustang vs. San Juan
No. 8 Arsenal vs. No. 10 Slammers
No. 9 Scorpions vs. World Class