Oak Mountain, Spain Park highlight national rankings

Published 11:13 am Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Christian Thomason and the Oak Mountain Eagles are currently ranked as the No. 4 team in the nation by Maxpreps.com. (File)

Christian Thomason and the Oak Mountain Eagles are currently ranked as the No. 4 team in the nation by Maxpreps.com. (File)

By BAKER ELLIS / Sports Editor

Some of the top local soccer programs across the county are also being recognized across the country for their achievements. Maxpreps.com, one of the top prep websites for all high school sports, currently ranks the boys and girls soccer programs from Oak Mountain, as well as the girls soccer team from Spain Park, among the top 10 teams in the nation.

The boys’ team from Oak Mountain, currently the top team in the state of Alabama regardless of classification, comes in as the No. 4 team in the nation via Maxpreps. The Eagles, with a 17-0-2 record as of April 12, fall in behind River Bluff (S.C.), Houston County (Ga.) and Dalton (Ga.). Oak Mountain has been led all year by its stellar back line of Hunter Holstand, Brandon Kelly and Christian and Chandler Thomason. The four seniors were all starters on last season’s state championship team, and along with senior goalkeeper Ryan Dearman have allowed just nine goals in 19 games, and have not given up a single goal since March 15.

The next-highest ranked Alabama team is Fairhope, coming in at No. 37. Indian Springs, the current top 1A-3A school in the state, is ranked as the 63rd best team in the country, and seventh-best in the state of Alabama, according to the site as well.

The girls from Oak Mountain are currently ranked as the No. 6 team in the country as well, but, by a harsh twist of fate, the Lady Eagles are not even the highest-ranked team in the Birmingham area. Vestavia Hills, currently the No. 1 girls team in the state of Alabama at 16-1-0, is the No. 1 team in the nation, per Maxpreps. The Lady Rebels beat Oak Mountain 2-1 earlier this month on April 4 by a 2-1 final, and the two teams are set to meet again on April 22 in the Metro Tournament Championship. Oak Mountain is 16-2-1 as of April 12, and has only given up four goals total in the 16 games it has won to date.

Spain Park comes in just behind Oak Mountain and is ranked as the No. 7 team in the country. The Lady Jags started the season with 11 straight wins, and are 14-2-2 as of April 12. The last time Spain Park had a winning streak of at least 11 games was in 2011, and that winning streak was capped with a 6A state title.

The Lady Jags may be the No. 7 team in the country right now, but as of April 12 have yet to clinch a playoff berth, as their area schedule is back loaded, with games against Vestavia, Hewitt-Trussville and Mountain Brook all coming up. The most likely scenario moving forward is that the Lady Jags and Vestavia advance out of 7A Area 6, while Oak Mountain and either Thompson or Hoover will advance out of 7A Area 5, setting up potentially three top 10 teams from across the country, all within 20 minutes of each other, fighting for one state semifinal berth.