Those who watch Amador Valley High senior Kimberly Liu play golf won't be surprised to learn that she's practically immersed in the game.

The good-natured Liu is a merit member at Castlewood Country Club. She works at Ruby Hill Golf Club at the cart barn, bag drop area and the driving range, and she practices diligently at Las Positas Golf Course with her swing coach Andy Nisbet, a PGA Director of Instruction.

Moreover, Liu, a two-time East Bay Athletic League MVP, is excited to be heading to USF, which means she'll be a Don for four more years.

So it's pretty much golf, golf, golf, seven days a week for Liu. Asked if she ever wants to ditch the clubs and just go bowling or something, and Liu chuckles.

"It never gets to that point for me," she said, adding that with her AP course workload at school that it's a relief to get on the course.

"It's so nice to be out there," she added.

Not surprisingly, Liu is well on her way to another successful varsity season. She was averaging 1-over in matches heading into the week. Last year she qualified for the state tournament with an impressive 4-under 68 at the NorCal tournament.

Amador Valley coach Clark Fuller doesn't need any more convincing when it comes to Liu, the person and the golfer.

"She's a workaholic and just a good kid -- my captain," Fuller said.

Liu says she picked USF because she loves the program's "amazing" coach Sarah Glynn, and because the school fits her personality. She also wanted to stay in California.

From a team perspective, the EBAL looks like a three-team dogfight for the league title among Amador Valley, Carondelet and Monte Vista. Perennial powerhouse Foothill, the defending NorCal champion, lost a lot with the graduation of twin aces Katie and Alex Sborov.

"They're getting better," Fuller said of the Falcons. "John Taylor is back working with them, and he's a good coach. He'll get them better and better. Right now they're one to two players away from being a contender."

WILDCATS EMERGING: Even though the Dougherty Valley football team fell 21-10 to visiting College Park on Sept. 6, the Wildcats showed clear signs of improvement under coach Nick Tisa.

Remember that the Wildcats were 0-10 last year and fell 49-7 to College Park.

This time, Dougherty Valley gave the Falcons a tense battle, only succumbing to some late-game heroics by College Park.

"The defense played well. We've just got to fix some mental mistakes," Tisa said. "We're not going to fix our scheme or our personnel or anything. It's just mental mistakes that killed us, but I'm proud of our guys."

Dougherty Valley opened the season with a 38-6 thumping of Newark Memorial on Aug. 30, one year after the Wildcats fell 40-19 to the Cougars.

Strong defense and hard running figure to be constant themes for the Wildcats. Their line boasts a mountain of a junior in 6-foot-7, 290-pound Kieffer Longson.

Don't be surprised if the Wildcats knock off some more people this season.

CROSS COUNTRY ROCKS: The EBAL looked very much like a section superpower in the Monte Vista Invitational at Oak Hill Park in Danville, with six of the top nine overall boys finishers coming from the league. San Ramon Valley senior Jason Intravaia had the top varsity time on the 2-mile course of 10 minutes, 42:51 seconds. Livermore senior Tyler Olson was second. In girls combined, five of the top six finishers were from the EBAL, topped by California senior Madison Ricks, who was second.

Contact Matt Schwab at mschwab@bayareanewsgroup.com, or follow him in Twitter at @schwab_matt.

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