The Sacred Heart Prep boys wrapped up their sixth straight West Bay Athletic League soccer title with a 6-0 victory over visiting Pinewood on Wednesday afternoon.
The Gators (11-0, 12-4-1) were expected to clinch this Friday, but second-place Menlo School was upended at home by King's Academy, giving SHP the title.
"This league title is very meaningful to us/me," said SHP head coach Armando del Rio. "We have been unbeaten (in league) the past three years, but we have never won all of them. To me, it's imperative to continue training at our best every day, and playing to our highest standard while balancing adequate rest for optimal performance for CCS. If we have this approach, I believe it is possible to win every league game, but anything is possible. Our goal is to be sharp, and prepare fully to win each day."
Seniors Will Mishra and Andrew Segre combined on the first two goals with Mishra getting the goals. Isaac Polkinhorne made it a 4-0 match with assists from fellow senior Frankie Hattler. Senior Brian White made it 5-0 with Hattler assisting while Segre scored off an assist from Polkinhorne to wrap things up.
Menlo, meanwhile, saw any hopes of a possible title disappear in a 2-1 loss to visiting King's Academy. The Knights (7-3-1, 22 points) dropped to third place behind King's (8-2-2, 26 points) with three matches remaining. Only the top two teams are guaranteed berths in the Central Coast Section playoffs.
King's struck first, scoring in the seventh minute. The teams held each other at bay for the rest of the half. Menlo emerged from halftime with a renewed energy, firing several shots. Nearly five minutes into the second half, Michael Quezada played the free kick, which Justin Wang sent into the net amid a sea of players in front of the goal to tie the game, 1-1. TKA scored the winner with 3:20 left in the match.
Menlo junior Peter Rosston and sophomore Keaton Shiveley had standout efforts in central midfield.
In the PAL Bay Division, visiting Menlo-Atherton got a second-half goal from sophomore Jorge Lopez, with an assist from Mario Rodrigeuz, as the Bears posted a 1-0 victory over Aragon. M-A moved to 7-2-2 in league (10-3-2 overall) and remained in second place heading into Thursday's match at third-place Woodside.
Menlo-Atherton has 23 points with three matches left, while Woodside (18 points) and Carlmont (17) trail with only two matches to play. The Bears need only one more win to wrap up second place since Woodside can finish with only 24 points.
In the SCVAL De Anza Division, host Palo Alto posted a 4-3 victory over Fremont. The Vikings (3-4-4, 7-7-5) grabbed a 1-0 lead when sophomore Rueben Kramer followed up a blocked shot with a header. Fremont tied the match shortly thereafter.
Kramer gave Paly the lead again when he took a pass from freshman striker Jack Stoksik and calmly placed it into the lower-right corner. Just before the half, senior Cina Vazir took a Fremont defensive miscue and had a one v. one with the Fremont keeper before scoring for a 3-1 advantage.
In the second half, Paly junior Steven Blatman took a Kramer diving header and placed it past the Fremont keeper to go up 4-1. It continued to go the Vikings' way when until in the 29 minute, when a Paly defender was called for holding just inside corner of the box that resulted in a PK.
Fremont, energized by the goal, continued to push and scored three minutes later on a poor defensive clear making the score 4-3. Fremont pushed all players up, including the goalkeeper, and had one last shot that sailed over the crossbar with time running out.
Paly kicked off Senior Day by honoring seniors Cina Vazir, Neal Biswas and goalie Tony Maharaj for their strong three-year contribution to the program.
Palo Alto, which remains in fourth place, needs a tie against first-place Los Gatos on Friday to be eligible for the CCS playoffs.
Palo Alto continued its push toward a CCS playoff berth with a 47-36 victory over visiting Saratoga in SCVAL De Anza Division action Wednesday. The Vikings moved to 6-3 in league (12-9 overall) by outscoring the Falcons, 28-10, during the second and third periods.
Senior Noah Phillips and junior Kevin Mullin each had 13 points for the Vikings, who trail second-place Milpitas (7-3) by a half game. Los Altos continued to top the division with an 8-1 mark.
In the SCVAL El Camino Division, host Gunn (4-6, 12-10) dropped a 64-42 decision to Fremont.
Palo Alto finds itself tied for first place and has a legitimate shot at winning the SCVAL De Anza Division title following a 1-0 victory over host Homestead on Wednesday.
The Vikings improved to 6-2-3 (21 points) in league (9-4-4 overall) and earned a tie for the top spot with Los Altos (6-1-3, 21 points), which battled Mountain View (5-0-5, 20 points) to a scoreless draw.
Palo Alto has one match remaining, at home on Friday (3:30 p.m.) against fourth-place Los Gatos (6-3-1, 19 points). Should the Vikings win, they'll finish with 24 points.
Los Altos, however, has two matches left and could win the title with a win and a tie against Homestead and Los Gatos. The Eagles could finish with 27 points. Mountain View also could pass Paly and finish with 26, while Los Gatos could help relegate Paly all the way to fourth with a victory on Friday.
Palo Alto at least gave itself a shot by topping Homestead, which handed Los Gatos a 4-2 loss last week. After playing to a scoreless tie in the first half, the Vikings finally broke through when Aoi Sugihara found Sunny Lyu, who lobbed a shot over the head of the Mustangs' keeper, who had come out to the top of the penalty box.
Paly finished with 17 shots and 13 steals while keeper Dhara Yu earned the shutout.
In the SCVAL El Camino Division, Gunn battled visiting Santa Clara to a 1-1 deadlock. The Bruins grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first half before the Titans (7-2-3, 10-3-4) battled back to tie on a goal by Caroline Anderson with the assist from Megan Kuhnle.
Gunn has finished its regular season and now awaits the CCS seeding meeting the following weekend.