The top two teams in the West Bay Athletic League boys' soccer race will meet on Wednesday to perhaps begin to sort out the league playoff race.
Or, maybe not.
Host Menlo School and defending champion Sacred Heart Prep both will bring 5-0 league records and 8-2-1 overall marks into the first of two head-to-head matches. Game time is 2:45 p.m.
Since both teams are tied, a deadlock on Wednesday will change nothing. The decider could come Feb. 13 when the teams meet again on the Gators' field.
Menlo did its part by remaining tied for first with a 2-0 victory over visiting Eastside Prep on Friday.
Menlo started the game strongly, creating several dangerous chances but the Panthers' goalie was always up to the task. Menlo senior captain Max Parker broke the deadlock in the 34th minute after junior Jordan Vasquez won the ball back at midfield. Parker found sophomore Garrett Matsuda in space on the right wing and Matsuda served a dangerous ball into the box, which Parker took past his defender with his first touch and calmly finished into the side netting.
In the second half, Eastside Prep at times controlled possession but the Knights always looked comfortable in defense and dangerous on the counter. Vasquez was unfortunate not to get on the scoresheet as he got on the end of a couple of Parker runs but was unable to find the target.
Parker put the game out of reach with his second goal in the dying minutes after a good feed from fellow senior Glenn Baxter sent him in on goal.
Senior captain Timmy Costa earned his seventh shutout of the season thanks to another great team effort. Seniors Jack Redman, Andrew Stepien, Glenn Baxter, junior Justin Wang and freshman Andrew Arnold have played an instrumental part in the Knights' success as they have only conceded one goal in league play. Menlo outshot Eastside Prep 15-5.
Just up the street, Sacred Heart Prep wrapped up a three-win week with a 3-0 victory over visiting Harker on Friday.
Robert Hellman provided the eventual winning goal for the Gators in the first half off an assist from Andrew Segre. The two combined for the Gators' second goal in the second half before Segre got his first goal, unassisted, to put the finishing touches on the victory.
Palo Alto took over sole possession of first place in the SCVAL El Camino Division with a 4-0 win over host Cupertino on Friday. The Vikings improved to 5-0-1 in league (6-4-2 overall) and can take a big step toward winning the division title by beating host Santa Clara (4-0-2) on Wednesday.
Paly's offense continued to click against Cupertino. When the front line of Katie Foug, Sunny Lyu and Heidi Moeser weren't keeping Cupertino on the defense, the back line of Julia Kwasnick, Olivia Musil, Katherine Maniscalco, Jacey Pederson and the midfield of Lena Chang, Aoi Sugihara and Nina Kelty didn't allow one legitimate shot to reach Paly goalie Erin Chang in the first half.
Paly struck at 18 minutes in when Sugihara placed a perfect corner ball to Lyu, who put it in. Next it was Megan Tall crossing to Alyssa Maharaj for the header and a 2-0 lead.
In the second half Cupertino came out strong and it took the Paly defense 4-5 minutes to real the Pioneers back. The Vikings then took over once again with a steady barrage of shots at Cupertino's goalie. At 19 minutes in, Sugihara passed into to box to Maharaj, who found a way in for a 3-0 lead. Lyu finished things off with her second goal.
In the PAL Bay Division, Menlo-Atherton got an impressive 2-0 victory against host Aragon on Friday afternoon. The Bears (3-2, 5-4-2) outshot Aragon, 16-3, and got goals from Monica Richardson (assist Kylie Brandyberry) and Maggie Vannini in each half. Caitlyn Lanigan got the shutout in her first full game of the year after coming back from injury.