Sacred Heart Prep moved to within a victory of its first perfect season since 2010 with a 5-1 victory over host Priory in West Bay Athletic League boys' soccer action Wednesday.
The first-place Gators (13-0, 14-4-1) jumped ahead on a goal by Will Mishra, assisted by Ricky Grau. The Panthers tied it up with on a penalty kick by Austin Mirabella to send the match to halftime.
After intermission, Mishra's penalty kick provided the eventual winning score. Fellow senior Andrew Segre made it 3-1 on an assist from junior Philip Petrakian and senior goalie came out of the cage to make it 4-1 on an assist from Mishra. Junior Sebi Surraco wrapped up the four-goal second half with an unassisted goal.
In Hillsborough, Menlo School beat host Crystal Springs, 5-4, to move closer to their second consecutive Central Coast Section playoff berth.
The Knights (11-5-3 overall, 9-3-1 in league) started the game well and were quickly on top. Sophomore striker Will Chisholm got the ball from senior captain John Strong and rifled a fierce left footed shot into the top corner from 25 yards out to put Menlo ahead. Strong doubled the lead midway through the half when he beat the Gryphons' keeper to a thru ball from sophomore striker Tyler McGraw and slotted it into the empty net.
A few minutes later, senior forward Kevin Walker extended the lead when he followed up a shot from sophomore midfielder Peter Rosston that struck the crossbar and headed it home. Crystal Springs pulled a goal back right before the half on a stunning free kick.
Menlo started the second half similarly to the first and quickly added to its lead. After some neat passing in midfield, sophomore defender Andrew Arnold served a teasing ball into the box that Rosston flicked on to Strong at the back post. Strong made no mistake, volleying the ball high into the net past the keeper. A minute later the lead was stretched to 5-1 when McGraw received a pass from sophomore defender Michael Quezada at midfield, turned his defender and beat the keeper from 35 yards out.
The Knights rotated their squad as the game wound down and almost paid for it as the Gryphons scored three goals, all off set pieces. Crystal Springs pulled within one with a few minutes left, which made for a nervy finish. But, Menlo ultimately saw out the game and got the three points its performance deserved.
The Knights host Priory Friday in their final regular-season game of the season.
In the PAL Bay Division, Menlo-Atherton took a backward step in its postseason preparation with a 2-1 loss to host Sequoia on Wednesday. Kori Smith gave the Bears (8-3-2, 11-4-2) a 1-1 halftime deadlock before the Cherokees scored the winner after intermission. Menlo-Atherton will wrap up its regular season on Friday by hosting Burlingame. The Bears already have locked up second place and a berth in the CCS playoffs.
Palo Alto dropped from third to fourth in the final SCVAL De Anza Division standings following Los Altos' 3-0 loss to Los Gatos on Wednesday. Los Gatos finished with 23 points, one ahead of the Vikings.
Mountain View (7-0-5, 26 points) won the title with a 1-0 win over Saratoga on Wednesday with Los Altos second with 24 (7-2-3). Paly (6-2-4) needed Los Altos to beat Los Gatos in order to secure the division's third automatic CCS berth.
(Menlo School Athletics contributed)