The girls rankings aren’t the inscrutable mystery that the boys are. But the Central League slate in particular has the potential to throw some head-scratchers out there. At this early juncture of the season, there are quite a few teams that could push themselves into relevance in the Central League playoff hunt. Let’s see where they stand this week. (Based on games reported to the Daily Times through Sept. 15; results from Tuesday and Wednesday not included in records or reasoning.)
1. Agnes Irwin (1-0)
One game in three weeks isn’t exactly providing the grandest body of work for me to judge with.
2. Strath Haven (3-1-1)
The Panthers’ success over the last few years has been defined by an ability not to slip up against teams that they should beat on paper. A 1-1 draw with Springfield appears to be one such slip, though we might be able to write that off as opening day jitters.
3. Haverford (5-2-0)
The loss to Garnet Valley has the potential to throw the Central League into chaos if the Fords end up beating either Conestoga or Strath Haven. Then again, that could be getting ahead of ourselves. We’ll see if the Fords prove they belong in that first tier of the league (or if Garnet Valley eventually proves worthy of it).
4. Garnet Valley (3-3)
When the Jaguars beat Penncrest in overtime Sept. 9, I tweeted that it might be a season-shifting victory. Since, they’ve won twice more before Tuesday’s game, including the defeat of Haverford. They’ll have a little time to atone for the early-season, nonleague struggles.
5. Notre Dame (2-0-1)
The fact that the Irish can beat a pretty solid Archbishop Carroll team by a 5-1 margin without needing Phoebe McClernon to score a goal is a good indication of their depth. We’ll see how well that midfield and defense holds up to the rigors of an Inter-Ac schedule, though.
6. Marple Newtown (3-2-2)
The Tigers are a clear step below Haverford and Strath Haven, and they may come to regret not getting more than draws from meetings with Avon Grove and Great Valley. If the defense can be shored up as the Central League season progresses, that could bode well for their prospects.
7. Delco Christian (3-1-1)
The fact that they drew with Notre Dame in the first game for both is a good measuring stick. The Knights can score and can dictate terms in the midfield, but the issue of how the defense and green goalkeeping stands up remains.
Honorable Mention: Radnor (4-1, that start, including a win over Garnet Valley, has caught my attention; consider the Raiders as a team to watch, pending more information); Penncrest (5-2; that record may be partially due to a soft schedule, though Carroll and Avon Grove are challenging teams. Let’s see what happens when the schedule kicks up); Episcopal Academy (1-2; I guess the Churchwomen are good, but they don’t report results anywhere, so it’s hard to tell); Springfield (3-3-1; the draw with Strath Haven obviously warrants them some notice. But I can’t help thinking that with Springfield’s low-scoring style, their margin for error is so low that they can get cheated on results that maybe they deserve).