Tough choice looms for D-I girls soccer seeding

Bullard’s Erin Banda, right, tries to skirt by Sanger’s Amber Rodriguez in their girls soccer match at Sanger High on Jan. 31, 2013. (CRAIG KOHLRUSS/THE FRESNO BEE)

Interesting decisions loom Saturday when Central Section soccer playoff seedings are announced, particularly in Division I for the girls.

I’m curious to see which school is anointed the top seed by section commissioner Jim Crichlow and his crew, at least as things stand at this moment.

Bullard (16-3-1) and Central (20-4) appear to be the top two contenders. The Knights and Grizzlies have split two head-to-head showdowns, with Central winning the last matchup 2-1. Bullard won the first 2-0.

The Knights have already secured no worse than a tie for the County/Metro Athletic Conference title. Central will at least win a share of the Tri-River Athletic Conference crown if it beats Clovis North and Clovis East this week.


Against common opponents, Bullard is a combined 4-0 so far against Buchanan, Edison, Madera South while Central is 4-1 against the same group. The biggest potential difference comes from Bullard’s 2-1 win over defending D-I champion Buchanan in the only meeting between the two school’s this season. Central has split two games against the Bears, winning the last meeting 2-1.

Bullard had arguably a more demanding nonleague schedule highlighted by playing state No. 8-ranked Cathedral Catholic-San Diego to a 1-1 tie, but Central plays in a tougher league top-to-bottom.

I switched Bullard and Central in my Central Section rankings this week, elevating the Grizzlies to the top spot based on the Knights’ upset loss to Sanger last week and looking back on the fact Central won the last head-to-head meeting.

But I would not be surprised at all to see the Knights, the D-I champion two seasons ago, end up with the top seed.

Follow me on Twitter — @NickG_FB — on Saturday as I will post playoff seedings as they are announced.