The Sacred Heart Prep girls' soccer team has its season off to a good start following a solid effort at the Palo Alto Winter Classic that resulted in a co-championship on Saturday.
The Gators finished off a 3-0-1 performance in the two-weekend tournament with a 1-1 deadlock with co-champion Saratoga.
Sacred Heart Prep (3-1-1 overall) fell behind 1-0 and trailed throughout the match until Kendall Jager sent a towering kick downfield in the waning moments. Just as the Saratoga keeper was about to corral the bouncing ball, SHP midfielder Christine Callinan came crashing through to change the ball's path, controlling it and then tapping it in for the tying goal.
In other Saturday matches involving local teams, host Palo Alto dropped a 1-0 decision to Carlmont and Menlo School fell to Los Altos, 2-0.
Menlo (1-2-2) fell behind in the 30th minute of the first half on a head ball off a corner kick by the Eagles. The Knights had controlled the ball the first 20 minutes of the half, but were unable to create any good scoring chances.
In the second half, Menlo again controlled the ball with accurate passing and good ball movement and did create scoring opportunities, but failed to convert those opportunities. Los Altos scored its second goal with 10 minutes remaining on a well-placed 15-yard shot.
Menlo was led by junior Amanda McFarland and freshman Elena Gray in the midfield and seniors Rachel Pinsker and Hannah Rubin in the defense. Menlo outshot Los Altos, 7-3.
Carlmont and Paly battled for third place in Group B on Saturday evening but came away with the loss to drop to 1-4 on the season.
The Vikings got some good scoring opportunies early from Jacey Pederson, Sunny Lyu and Aoi Sugihara but all came up empty.
The match remained scoreless until a Carlmont player was fouled in the penalty box. Mary Cochran took the penalty shot for the Scots and converted with a shot into the left corner for a 1-0 halftime lead.
Paly dominated the first 13 minutes of the second half but failed to convert its opportunities. With just a minute to play, the Vikings had a free kick from about 35 yards out that was blocked. Paly got a corner kick, which was knocked away by the Carlmont keeper. Olivia Musil got the rebound for Paly and had a final on-frame attempt that was blocked.
Palo Alto advanced to the championship match of the Oak Grove Gold Cup with 3-2 victory over North Monterey County on Saturday at Oak Grove High in San Jose.
Palo Alto (4-1) will play either Alisal or Lincoln (San Jose) for the title this Saturday (7 p.m.) at Oak Grove.
The Vikings finished off a 3-0 week by grabbing a 3-0 lead on Saturday. Paly senior Chris Meredith made it a 1-0 match following a successful 1 v 1 with the keeper in the 20th minute. Ten minutes later, junior Cina Vacir took a direct kick and place it in the upper left-hand corner just under the crossbar.
Coming out of a 2-0 halftime lead, Palo Alto scored the eventual game-winner when Meredith again found himself alone versus the keeper and converted once more. North Monterey scored two minutes later and again in the 79th minute to make it close.
Palo Alto will host Mountain View in a nonleague match Tuesday at 3:30 p.m.
Also in the Gold Cup, Sacred Heart Prep ended its season-opening two-game losing streak in a big way with a 7-0 romp over King City at Oak Grove High. Robert Hellman scored four goals while Willy Lamb and Brendan Spillane each had one goal and two assists for the Gators (1-2).
In other action this past weekend:
Menlo School (2-1-1) managed a win and a tie on its annual trip to the Monterey Peninsula.
On Friday, the Knights posted a 2-0 win over host Carmel. Menlo struggled to put together its normally fluid passing game on the uneven grass surface and went with a slightly more direct approach in the second half, yielding immediate dividends. Sophomore Jackson Wagner was played down the left wing and sent in a dangerous cross that skipped through to senior Andrew Schmitt, who calmly fired low and hard into the side netting for his first goal of the season.
Carmel had a few chances to equalize, but the Menlo defense held strong led by senior Jack Redman and junior Justin Wang. The Knights always looked dangerous on the counter and senior Ryan Karle was unfortunate not to get his first goal of the season on one such chance, with the Carmel defender deflecting his fierce shot just over the crossbar. Karle didn't have to wait long, however, as on the ensuing corner junior John Strong served a ball into the box that Karle flicked in at the near post to post to put the game out of reach.
Senior Timmy Costa put in another strong performance in net to earn his second consecutive clean sheet.
On Saturday, Karle and Schmitt teamed up for a goal in the eighth minute with Schmitt scoring. The Knights took that 1-0 lead into halftime. Pacific Grove equalized early in the second half on a corner kick that initially was cleared by Menlo's Andrew Arnold. A second shot by the Breakers, however, squeezed between Arnold and Costa to deadlock things.
Menlo out-shot Pacific Grove, 12-4, but missed too many opportunities. The Knights will continued their travels on Wednesday at Los Altos.
In the Homestead Christmas Tournament, Menlo-Atherton (1-0-1) played to a scoreless deadlock with Homestead and Gunn (0-3-1) lost to Half Moon Bay, 4-1.