It's young, talented, and impeccably balanced.
Moreover, the Monte Vista High girls golf team was also a perfect 10 -- as in 10-0 in the powerful East Bay Athletic League -- after a win over Livermore on Sept. 26 at Round Hill Country Club.
The Mustangs are a re-emerging EBAL superpower in a league that demands superb play.
In the not-too-distant past, Monte Vista won North Coast Section team titles four times during a five-year span from 2004 to 2008. The Mustangs also won the NorCal titles in 2004 and 2005.
But Monte Vista had slipped back to the middle of the EBAL pack in recent years. Amador Valley has been the tough league's standard-bearer, with others not far behind.
However, Monte Vista began making noise last fall with the arrival of now-sophomores Hailey White and Paige Phillips. White has led the squad with stellar play, including shooting a 1-over 37 at Round Hill Country Club against the Cowboys.
The Mustangs added two more solid freshmen this season in Vanessa Giampaoli and Ritida Nanda. Giampaoli shot a 2-over 40 at the fierce The Bridges Golf Club in San Ramon last week, and Nanda is averaging in the low-to-mid 40s.
Mustangs coach Alexander Allen, in his eighth season, says the quality in the EBAL is so high these days that's difficult to go on prolonged runs. One or two bad days can quickly knock a team off its pedastol.
Alexander's recent squads have had two or three strong players, but not enough depth to win the big ones. Times have changed. Today, Monte Vista has five, six, or even seven contributors consistently shooting in the high-30s to mid-40s. Junior Angela Zhang, perhaps the team's second most talented player, missed some recent matches because of illness.
Monte Vista was thrilled to break 200 for the first time under Alexander, with a five-player score of 199 against Carondelet at Round Hill.
Early on, the Mustangs served notice by topping defending league champion Amador Valley 215-217, led by White's medalist score of 1-over 37 at Round Hill. Nanda shot a 41 and Giampaoli 45. Senior Sabrina Chiang and Phillips both shot 46.
Carondelet is also on the rise, as evidenced by the Cougars' 206-207 loss against Amador Valley on Sept. 25. So the stage is set for exciting final vew weeks of the season.
EBAL ALUM AIR POWER: An amazing display of air power among former EBAL quarterbacks made for riveting TV viewing on Sept. 28. College fans could watch Sean Mannion (Foothill, Oregon State); Joe Southwick (San Ramon Valley, Boise State); Zach Kline (SRV, Cal), and Jeff Lockie (Monte Vista, Oregon). All of them saw the field, but Mannion had the biggest air of all. Mannion passed for 414 yards and a school-record six touchdowns in a 44-17 rout of Colorado. He became the first FBS quarterback to reach 2,000 yards passing this season with 2018. Southwick threw for 268 yards and three touchdowns in a 60-7 rout of Southern Mississippi.
DONS OPENING STATEMENT: After delivering an outstanding effort in Amador Valley's 28-7 win over Monte Vista on Sept. 27 to open the EBAL football season, Dons running back Michael White praised his offensive line and the team's resolve.
"I thought we played really well. We always know we're a second-half team," said White, who had 169 yards rushing and two touchdowns. "We came out and gave a great effort in the second half and finished the game off pretty well."
White seemed a bit awed by the Dons' ability to cause so many turnovers.
"Our defense did a great job," he said. "We practiced really hard. I'm really proud of our defense."