The Sierra and Ripon High girls soccer teams are well positioned to return to the Sac-Joaquin Section finals in their respective divisions.
They along with Southern Athletic League girls champion Ripon Christian have been rewarded with No. 1 seeds for the postseason, which begins next week. The SJS released its 12 tournament brackets Friday afternoon.
Eight area teams in all have qualified for the playoffs — five girls, three boys. Opening-round matches are set for 6 p.m. kickoffs, though home teams may opt for the earlier 3 o'clock start time.
Four-time reigning Valley Oak League titlist Sierra (22-1) will be joined by city rivals Manteca (17-2-4) and East Union (8-10-2) in Division III as it seeks a second straight section banner and sixth overall. The Timberwolves play host to No. 16 Valley (7-5-2), the third-place team out of the Greater Sacramento League, next Wednesday.
Meanwhile, No. 14 Pioneer (7-6-1) visits third-seeded Manteca, and No. 11 East Union ventures to Central California Conference runner-up and No. 6 seed Golden Valley (10-4-5) what is a rematch their 2019 first-round tilt won by the Lancers, 3-2.
Trans-Valley League champion Ripon (17-4-1) has been elevated to Division IV after claiming that last two Division V SJS titles. The Indians own four blue banners overall. They'll take on No. 16 Marysville (9-11-3) for their playoff opener.
Ripon Christian (16-4-2) is chasing its third overall SJS crown and begins Tuesday in the eight-team Division VI against eighth-seeded Rio Vista (7-12). RC's first two section titles were achieved in back-to-back years (2014-15) in Division VII.
The Weston Ranch (11-1-6) and East Union (10-3-8) boys teams kick off Division III play on Tuesday, while Sierra (9-8-2) completes in Division IV.
VOL champion Weston Ranch is seeded fourth and has drawn No. 13 Pioneer (9-7-1). The Cougars are eyeing their third section championship.
East Union gets to host its first-round match as the No. 6 seed and awaits No. 11 El Capitan (10-5-5) from Merced. The Lancers finished as runners-up in Division III last year. It's a tougher bracket this time around with six teams in the top 20 of the overall SJS rankings, according to MaxPreps.
Sierra is also seeded sixth but in Division IV, where it opens with Venture Academy (6-5-2).
The Divisions III and IV boys and girls championship rounds are set for Saturday, Feb.29 at Liberty Ranch High (Galt) or Whitney High (Rocklin). The Division VI girls finale takes place Saturday, Feb.22 starting 2 p.m. at Liberty Ranch.
AT A GLANCE
WHAT: Sac-Joaquin Section boys/girls soccer playoffs
WHEN: First round on Tuesday (D6 girls, D3/4 boys), Wednesday (D3/4 girls)
TIMES: 6 p.m. Home teams may move start to 3 p.m.
ADMISSION: $8 adults, $6 seniors (65-over)/military, $5 students (K-12), children 5-under are free