The Palo Alto boys' soccer team, which didn't win a single match last season, continued its strong early season play with a 1-0 victory over Seaside in the Oak Grove Gold Cup on Thursday at Oak Grove High in San Jose.
The Vikings (3-1), who are leading their pool, got the winning goal in the 17th minute of the first half when Dami Bolarinwa headed in a corner kick by Cina Vacir. Palo Alto played another solid defensive game, allowing Seaside only three shots on goal.
Paly keeper Tony Maharaj had three saves, including one in the final three minutes that preserved the win. Solid defensive efforts by back Alex Chin, Kirby Gee, Jacob Dorward, and Neal Biswas kept Seaside's goal scoring chances to a minimum. Paul Stefanski and Chris Meredith (both seniors) along with Bolarinwa provided much of the Paly offensive push with nine shots on goal.
The Vikings will continue tourney action on Saturday, also at Oak Grove.
In another Gold Cup match, host Sacred Heart Prep got a pair of goals from Brendan Spillane but it wasn't enough as the Gators (0-2) fell to Lincoln (San Jose), 3-2. All the scoring came in the second half, with Lincoln grabbing a 1-0 lead before SHP surged ahead, 2-1. The tying (77th minute) and winning (80th minute) goals came in the waning moments.
In a nonleague match, visiting Gunn (1-2-1) dropped a 2-0 decision to host St. Francis.
Menlo School exploded for four second-half goals and rolled to a 5-0 victory over Castilleja in the third round of the Palo Alto Winter Classic tournament on Thursday to earn its first win of the season.
Menlo (1-1-2) grabbed a 1-0 halftime lead when freshman Elena Gray scored from 12 yards out off junior Chandler Wickers' cross in the 30th minute.
Menlo controlled the ball throughout the second half and that resulted in four goals within the first 25 minutes. Gray was instrumental, setting up Menlo's second and third goals in the 8th and 10th minute of the second half. On both goals she penetrated the Castilleja defense on the dribble and then laid the ball off, first to junior Sienna Stritter and then to sophomore Alexandra Walker for a 3-0 lead. Walker then dribbled aggressively at the defense and fed Wickers, who converted from 15 yards in the 15th minute.
Sophomore Jamie Corley closed out the scoring when she pounced on a loose ball in the box and scored from close range in the 25th minute.
Senior defenders Rachel Pinsker and Hannah Rubin had strong games to lead the Menlo defense. Senior keepers Julia Dressel and Kelly McConnell combined for their second-straight shutout.
Also at the Palo Alto Winter Classic:
Alex Bourdillion scored two goals and added two assists to spark Sacred Heart Prep to a 6-1 victory over Gunderson in the third round. Brigid White added two goals with Kendall Jager and Christine Callinan tallying a goal apiece for the Gators. Callinan also had an assist. SHP will face Saratoga on Saturday at 3 p.m., on the Paly football field.
In nonleague action, Pinewood dropped a 2-1 decision to host Cupertino on Thursday. The Panthers (1-1) got their goal from Kelly Branson off an assist from Courtney Copriviza.