Here are this week’s Times-Union’s high school girls soccer Power Rankings, highlighting the leading teams from across Northeast Florida. The rankings are released each Monday through the end of the regular season. Records are through Jan. 6 games. The boys rankings appear each Tuesday.
1. St. Johns Country Day (14-0-0, 1A). Last week: 1.
Quality wins: Bishop Moore, Bolles, Merritt Island, Montverde Academy.
This week: At this point, this Spartans team just doesn’t look like losing again any time soon. Seniors Abbey Newton and Payton Crews linked up superbly to lead St. Johns Country Day to a remarkable 6-1 win over Bolles, extending the team’s streaks to 58 consecutive wins and 71 games without defeat. The USA Today/United Soccer Coaches poll ranks them first in the nation once again. Newton, the All-First Coast player of the year for 2016-17, and Crews, who scored her 100th career goal, excelled after moving to the front line. But they weren’t alone - Kirsten Pavlisko used her speed to cut off trouble in central defense, Kamy Loustau dropped from her usual forward role to help control the midfield and Kamryn Towers added a spark off the bench. This week, they’ll have games Monday against Gainesville St. Francis and Wednesday against St. Joseph, before traveling Friday to a major power in Class 4A foe Bartram Trail.
2. Nease (13-2-0, 4A). Last week: 2.
Quality wins: Bartram Trail, Creekside, Fleming Island, Stanton.
This week: Don’t forget: St. Johns Country Day doesn’t have the area’s only big-time winning streak. The Panthers have powered to 12 victories in a row, the program’s best run in a decade, and they knocked off two more opponents this week. Mackenzie Hochreiter scored three goals in all during the week’s action, a 5-1 win against Bishop Kenny on Thursday and a 1-0 shutout of Episcopal Friday. Two major tests loom for the Panthers: A Wednesday game at Bartram Trail, which is likely to determine the top seed in the district, and a Friday matchup against longtime rival Ponte Vedra. Win those two, and Nease will be all set to claim the title of St. Johns County’s best.
3. Bartram Trail (10-2-2, 4A). Last week: 4.
Quality wins: Fleming Island, Fletcher, Menendez (2), Niceville.
This week: Bartram Trail, like several other area teams, hasn’t had any games to play since December. That changes this week, and so does the challenge. The Bears return to action Wednesday against Nease, a game that has serious implications for seeding in the approaching District 4-4A tournament. Bartram Trail lost to Nease 4-2 on Dec. 7 in the St. Johns River Athletic Conference final, but both teams will be much more rested this time around. Then, they’ll challenge national number-one St. Johns Country Day on Friday in a game that stands out as the most daunting test on the Spartans’ remaining schedule.
4. Bolles (10-4-1, 2A). Last week: 3.
Quality wins: Merritt Island, Navarre, Nease, Ponte Vedra.
This week: The Bulldogs ended up on the wrong end of a heavy 6-1 loss to St. Johns Country Day Thursday, a result that underscored the overwhelming strength of the Spartans this year. Still, Bolles showed some bright spots, from the high energy of Olivia Candelino in attack to the composure and strength of Cami Dade in midfield, and they’ve got a strong chance to fare better once their midfield returns to full strength. There’s a busy schedule on deck this week: Bishop Snyder and Bishop Kenny in a pair of district games Monday and Tuesday, followed by trips down the state to Class 2A power Berkeley Prep on Friday and Tarpon Springs East Lake on Saturday.
5. Stanton (10-2-2, 3A). Last week: 5 (tie).
Quality wins: Atlantic Coast, Bolles, Fletcher, Mandarin.
This week: The Blue Devils, with their lock-down defense and a high-scoring counterattack threat in Madelyn Debski, return to the field for the first time in 2018. They’ll play Tuesday against the always-dangerous Fleming Island and then wrap up their district schedule against Suwannee, a makeup from a washed-out December game. From there, the Gateway Conference and district tournaments loom as Stanton chases a return trip to the Class 3A finals. The team hasn’t allowed a goal in its last seven games.
On the bubble: Creekside (8-3-4, 4A); Fleming Island (8-4-0, 4A); Fletcher (8-6-1, 4A); Ponte Vedra (8-5-2, 3A).