MARTINEZ -- Sometimes a coach has to decide between teaching, and coaching. Sometimes a coach has to make decisions that may affect the outcome of the game, in hopes of the players learning a lesson.

That is hopefully what happened for Mark Eitelgeorge and his Alhambra High boys soccer team.

The Bulldogs entered the week with an 8-6-3 record, and were just six points from the top of the Diablo Foothill Athletic League, but he hopes that some turmoil will end in some catharsis.

"We're very optimistic," Eitelgeorge said. "We kind of broke things down to put them back together."

Despite having some turmoil within the team, Alhambra is in a good position to make another North Coast Section Division II playoffs, which is the goal. But not the only goal.

"The goal is always to make NCS," Eitelgeorge said. "Our lofty goal is to win the league, but we still have an outside chance."

With Campolindo coming back to the pack a little bit, the Bulldogs entered the second half of league still within striking distance of the leaders.

But even if they don't reach their lofty goal, making the NCS playoffs is still within their grasp. And with wins over Acalanes and Pinole Valley, and draws with Albany and Dublin, if they do get into NCS, they'll be trouble.

"We want to make it every year, because anything can happen once you get into the tournament," Eitelgeorge said. "We just want to be playing well going into the tournament."


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One thing that Alhambra will be boasting going into the postseason, is one of the most potent strikers and athletic players in the East Bay.

Jesus Maldonado, who is in the top five in goals scored with 17, is a kid that can make an impact on a match in a flash, and could be the X-factor in playoff games.

"He's a real talent," Eitelgeorge said. "He is head and shoulders above the other players when it comes to technical ability. He's quick, fast and can use either foot. He gets it, and to me he is a league MVP candidate."

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