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Friday, January 27, 2023

How Taylor Swift’s music helped San Ramon Valley’s soccer team

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.”

DUBLIN - The San Ramon Valley girls soccer team celebrates with Lauren Kealy (7) after she scores her second goal. Dublin and San Ramon Valley high schools played in the high school soccer game at Dublin high school in Dublin, Calif. on Saturday, Jan. 24, 2023 (Joseph Dycus/Bay Area News Group)
DUBLIN – The San Ramon Valley girls soccer team celebrates with Lauren Kealy (7) after she scores her second goal. Dublin and San Ramon Valley high schools played in the high school soccer game at Dublin high school in Dublin, Calif. on Saturday, Jan. 24, 2023 (Joseph Dycus/Bay Area News Group) 

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.

DUBLIN - San Ramon Valley forward Anna Colley and a Dublin defender compete for a ball in the air. Dublin and San Ramon Valley high schools played in the high school soccer game at Dublin high school in Dublin, Calif. on Saturday, Jan. 24, 2023 (Joseph Dycus/Bay Area News Group)
DUBLIN – San Ramon Valley forward Anna Colley and a Dublin defender compete for a ball in the air. Dublin and San Ramon Valley high schools played in the high school soccer game at Dublin high school in Dublin, Calif. on Saturday, Jan. 24, 2023 (Joseph Dycus/Bay Area News Group) 

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.

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