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BOYS' SOCCER NOTEBOOK: UNDEFEATED PALMDALE COULD BE TOP SEED FOR DIV. I PLAYOFFS.

Byline: Heather Gripp Staff Writer

A team few considered a favorite for a league title could enter the postseason as the favorite for a Southern Section title.

Palmdale High's boys' soccer team climbed to No. 1 this week in the Southern Section Div. I rankings and, barring an upset in tonight's regular-season finale, likely will be the top seed when playoff pairings are released Monday.

A season after finishing in the Golden League cellar, Palmdale is one game from an undefeated regular season. The Falcons, who have clinched the league title, finish tonight at home against third-place Littlerock.

Palmdale improved to 20-0-5 (9-0-2 Golden) by defeating crosstown rival Highland 3-0 Wednesday.

Senior midfielder Brandon Alfaro is been the Falcons' hottest scorer, and he added another goal Wednesday.

Littlerock could provide an ideal test for Palmdale's playoff preparations. The Lobos are the defending league champions and have steadily improved after being in fifth place at midseason. They are coming off a 4-1 victory over Knight.

Palmdale beat Littlerock 1-0 in the previous meeting.

--Eagles soaring: Lancaster on Wednesday secured its first playoff berth in six years by defeating Antelope Valley 6-0.

Alex Abad, Hector Macias, Miguel Ibarra, Marcos Begue and Ace Amaya scored goals, and freshman goalkeeper Adam Sundberg posted the shutout.

The Eagles (11-4-4, 6-2-3), who finish the regular season tonight at Highland, are in second place, one point ahead of Littlerock. A second-place finish would enable Lancaster to avoid a first-round matchup with a league champion and possibly provide the Eagles a home playoff opener.

--Help wanted: Highland, considered a contender for the Golden league title, will need help to qualify for the postseason. After an impressive start, Highland has slid to fifth place and enters tonight's finale one point behind Quartz Hill for the league's final playoff berth. To gain a playoff spot, the Bulldogs need to win their game against Lancaster and a victory by last-place Antelope Valley over Quartz Hill.

Highland, which reached two tournament finals during nonleague play, is winless in its past four games. Its only win in the past eight games was against Antelope Valley.

--Low Spirits: Paraclete, Div. V champions in 2003, has been relegated to spectator during the playoffs. The Spirits finished out of playoff contention in the Olympic League, closing the regular season Tuesday with a 3-2 loss to league champion Valley Christian of Cerritos.

Heather Gripp, (818) 713-3607

heather.gripp(at)dailynews.com
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Feb 10, 2006
Words:404
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