be a little bit crazier and a lot tougher to handicap.
Entering the next-to-last match of the 2000-2001 schedule, four teams
were still in the hunt to claim the final two CIF Southern Section
playoff berths behind eight-time defending champion Arcadia High.
However, don't be surprised if it comes down the regular-season finale
this time around.
Arcadia eventually reached the Division I semifinals, losing to Dana
Point Dana Hills, 4-0. Pasadena and Crescenta Valley -- the second- and
third-place entries -- were both eliminated in the wild-card round, with
the Falcons losing on penalty kicks.
And although all three squads possess as good a chance as any of the
six teams to reach the postseason, they'll have their hands full with the
At 10-1-2, Arcadia -- based on strength of schedule and tradition --
is the early favorite, but only by the narrowest of margins over Muir and
Ed Burke's squad is one of the best defensive units in the region and
possesses a number of veteran players from last year's group that went
But Muir, yes the same Mustang group that had as many as eight players
sidelined because of academic ineligibilities and other personal reasons
during the second half of league last season, resulting in a last-place
finish, is poised to dethrone Arcadia.
By mid-December, Muir was 8-0-2 and off to the program's best start
since the 1993-1994 campaign.
Look for Warren Altounian's squad, which is carried defensively by
sweeper Garron Tushima, should be in the thick of things entering the
final week of the regular season.
Another team that hopes to be in the same position is Pasadena, which
owned a 9-0-2 record after tying La Canada, 1-1, in the finals of the
13th annual La Canada Holiday Classic.
Cherif Zein's group boats a number of explosive players, in addition
to one of the league's most fundamentally sound goalkeepers in Luizinho
In order for Hoover -- which just missed out on third place last
season after falling to Arcadia in its regular-season finale -- to take
the next step toward securing a playoff berth, Mark Rubio's squad will
have to develop more consistency and began to build momentum from the