Sports

SHP, M-A boys both advance in CCS soccer playoffs

Prior to last season, the Sacred Heart Prep boys soccer team had not won a game in the Central Coast Section playoffs since joining the winter season in 2009.

The Gators finally broke through in 2013 with not only their first playoff win, but reaching the Division III championship game for the first time -- sharing it with Menlo School.

While those accomplishments proved to be milestones, Sacred Heart Prep still has one left to achieve -- winning the section title outright.

The Gators took a step in that direction on a rainy Wednesday afternoon by defeating No. 7 seed Scotts Valley, 1-0, in Atherton.

The No. 10-seeded Gators (15-5-1) got the winning goal in the second half as senior Frankie Hattler took a pass from junior Derek Chou and found the back of the net in the 68th minute.

"The rain was a huge factor, but this group adjusts really well to game situations," said SHP coach Armando del Rio, who improved to 66-9-11 in just his four season. "We were excellent on the afternoon in all aspects, and played with the drive that is needed. I also want to add how impressed we were with the sportsmanship and gratitude of Scott's Valley -- clean game, yet hard fought."

Next up for Sacred Heart Prep next will be No. 2 Soledad (18-0-2) on Saturday in the quarterfinals at Rabobank Stadium in Salinas at 10 a.m.

"Soledad is undefeated and, thus, they have everything to lose," said del Rio. "I think if we play with the same fire in our belly, we will put ourselves in a good position."

In CCS Division I boys' action, host Menlo-Atherton battled to a scoreless first half before finally breaking through after intermission to register a 1-0 victory over No. 10 Santa Clara on a rainy evening match.

The No. 7-seeded Bears (12-5-2) got the deciding goal when Ethan Oro slid a pass to Mario Rodriguez, who finished. Menlo-Atherton next will face No. 2 Bellarmine (16-3-4) on Saturday in the quarterfinals at Milpitas High at noon.

Girls soccer

Menlo-Atherton saw its season end in heartbreaking fashion with a 3-2 loss to host Santa Teresa in the opening round of the CCS Division I playoffs on Wednesday.

The No. 9-seeded Bears (10-6-5) got on the board first when a ball put through by junior Amanda Wiseman found freshman forward Katie Guenin for a beautiful shot that beat the keeper toward the end of the first half. The Saints countered right away, however, and tied the score when senior captain Kristina Neri found the net off a corner kick. The half ended with Santa Teresa out-shooting M-A (7-4), including four shots that forced saves from sophomore goalkeeper Ilana Winawer.

In the second half, the Bears came out strong and dominated possession of the ball. But it was Neri again who put the Saints ahead 2-1 when a perfectly timed run off of a free kick allowed her to get behind the defense and beat junior keeper Jacqueline Foody.

M-A battled back with aggressive play mostly on the Saints' half of the field. The Bears tied the score 2-2 when a beautiful cross from sophomore midfielder Talia Missan was met by a ferocious header from Guenin.

It appeared the game was headed for overtime, but when a clear from the defense was sent back in by Santa Teresa, it was Neri again who headed the ball over the keeper for her third and ultimately the winning goal of the match. The Bears contended that Neri was offside on the play, but the goal was allowed. The whistle blew just minutes later and Santa Teresa escaped with the victory.

In Division III action, No. 12 Priory (8-9-1) advanced to the quarterfinals following a 3-2 victory over No. 5 Harbor (10-5-4) in Portola Valley.

The Panthers found themselves down, 2-0, at the end of the first 40 minutes with what was a questionable first-half effort against Harbor. The final 40 minutes of the match were truly epic as the Panthers rallied back to win.

Freshman standout Alicia Talancon scored in the 47th minute (assisted by Margaret Shields), receiving the ball just outside the box and placing her shot to the near post and to the keeper's right. In the 52nd minute, senior captain Erin Simpson converted a free kick just outside the box, roofing her shot to beat the keeper.

The game-winner came in the 69th minute when Lexi Garrity was fouled 30 yards out, setting up another Simpson free kick. It took the best goal of the match to beat Harbor, with Simpson hitting the upper V for the game winner.

The Panthers next will face No. 13 King's Academy (10-10), the defending Division III champ and a rival of Priory in the West Bay Athletic League (Foothill Division), on Saturday at St. Francis High at 2 p.m.

Like last season, King's had to win a playoff match to reach the section tournament. The Knights advanced with a 6-1 blasting of No. 4 Santa Catalina (15-2-2).

Priory was bounced from the playoffs last season by King's Academy, 1-0, in the quarterfinals.

(Menlo-Atherton and Priory Soccer contributed)

2014 CCS SOCCER PLAYOFFS

BOYS

Division I

Saturday's quarterfinals

(Sites and times TBA)

No. 6 Homestead (15-5-1) vs. No. 3 Alvarez (9-3-7)

No. 7 Menlo-Atherton (12-5-2) vs. No. 2 Bellarmine (16-3-4) at Milpitas High, noon

No. 12 Andrew Hill (12-2-6) vs. No. 4 Watsonville (12-2-6)

No. 8 Carlmont (9-7-4) vs. No. 1 Alisal (14-3-3)

Division II

Saturday's quarterfinals

(Sites and times TBA)

No. 6 Willow Glen (11-6-3) vs. No. 3 Serra (14-2-4)

No. 10 Leigh (9-7-5) vs. No. 2 Archbishop Mitty (16-3-3)

No. 5 Gilroy (14-4-3) vs No. 4 Mt. Pleasant (13-3-5)

No. 8 Overfelt (9-4-8) vs. No. 1 Los Gatos (14-3-3)

Division III

Saturday's quarterfinals

(Sites and times TBA)

No. 6 Monterey (15-3-2) vs. No. 3 Burlingame (13-4-3)

No. 10 Sacred Heart Prep (15-5-1) vs. No. 2 Soledad (18-0-2) at Rabobank Stadium, Salinas, 10 a.m.

No. 5 Branham (9-4-8) vs. No. 4 Aptos (13-5-2)

No. 8 James Lick (14-3-4) vs. No. 1 Half Moon Bay (14-5-1)

GIRLS

Division I

Saturday's quarterfinals

(Sites and times TBA)

No. 11 Alvarez (15-4-2) vs. No. 3 Los Gatos (9-4-5)

No. 10 Alisal (14-4-1) vs. No. 2 Palo Alto (10-4-5) at Valley Christian, 10 a.m.

No. 5 Santa Clara (13-2-3) vs. No. 4 Carlmont (13-5-3)

No. 8 Santa Teresa (10-6-5) vs. No. 1 Mountain View (10-2-6)

Division II

Saturday's quarterfinals

(Sites and times TBA)

No. 6 Branham (12-5-4) vs. No. 3 Aptos (13-4-1)

No. 10 Mitty (15-5-4) vs. No. 2 Valley Christian (16-3)

No. 12 Saratoga (9-8-2) vs. No. 4 Woodside (16-2-3)

No. 8 St. Ignatius (12-5-5) vs. No. 1 St. Francis (14-5-1)

Division III

Saturday's quarterfinals

(Sites and times TBA)

No. 6 Sacred Heart Prep (17-2-2) at No. 3 Burlingame (12-3-5), 10 a.m.

No. 7 Scotts Valley (12-4-5) vs. No. 2 Live Oak (12-3-4)

No. 12 Priory (8-9-1) vs. No. 13 The King's Academy (10-10) at St. Francis, 2 p.m.

No. 9 Terra Nova (18-1) vs. No. 1 Menlo (15-3-2) at St. Francis, noon

— Palo Alto Online Sports

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