DUBLIN – John Mayer and Taylor Swift’s names belong to well-known pop stars whose brief time as a celebrity couple spawned successful albums by both artists.
And on the sideline of San Ramon Valley’s 15-1 girls soccer team, yelling those names was a lighthearted way of poking fun at a player’s musical tastes while also signaling a change in formation during the Wolves’ 3-0 Tuesday victory at Dublin.
“I am not a Swiftie,” coach Mark Jones said, who added that standout striker and avid Swift fan Lauren Kealy chose the references. “I am just passing on the word. Just passing on the nomenclature to have us change the shape.”
While the players laughed at the music-themed code words, they also immediately snapped into a new formation and maintained their grip on the contest.
It was an example of what has made San Ramon Valley the team to beat in the East Bay Athletic League, if not the entire Bay Area. A year after the team made it to the NCS Division I semifinals, SRV is ranked No. 1 in the Bay Area News Group rankings.
Junior forward Kealy banged in the first and third goals on long-range volleys, and forward Sammy Schulze popped in the other one. Each score ended with the team mobbing together in celebration.
“Last year’s group was very successful, but this year, our chemistry is on a whole other level,” Kealy said. “it doesn’t matter who is on the field, because we’ll give the ball to them and we know they’ll do good.”
After the Wolves won its first six league games by a combined score of 17-0, Amador Valley shocked San Ramon Valley 3-1 in Pleasanton.
In the team’s first match since that loss, it was clear the Wolves learned some lessons from that result.
“We were under a lot of pressure because of our record, and everyone is giving us their best game,” senior centerback Gianna Rodrigues said. “But we needed that loss to show us reality. We can’t start out flat and take things for granted, because we’re going to be playing some really good teams.”
After surviving a flurry of Dublin attacks in the first 15 minutes, Kealy broke through for SRV’s first goal. San Ramon Valley’s depth was apparent, as Jones subbed players on and off with little to no drop in quality.
“It’s a great group because they’re all really on the same page,” the SRV coach said. “Everyone understands their roles, and they’re having a good time.”
After the match, Dublin coach Jered Lui said the Wolves look ready to compete for the section crown against teams like Carondelet and Monte Vista.
“They have a few tall, athletic and explosive players that know how to finish in front of goal,” Lui said.
As the Dublin coach alluded to, San Ramon Valley still has several powerhouse teams to deal with as it tries to lock up a top seed in the section playoff.
San Ramon Valley hosts Foothill on Thursday, and then closes out the regular season a few weeks later with back-to-back matches against Carondelet and Monte vista.
Though the players spoke confidently about their team and abilities, they also acknowledged that they are still far away from winning a section championship.
“I feel like coming from a loss and getting a 3-0 win shows us we can handle adversity,” goalkeeper Maddie Gambs said. “Over the next few weeks, we’re going to have to step up, but I think we can accomplish what we want to do.”
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Author: Joseph Dycus