Menlo School opened play in the Central Coast Section Division III girls' soccer playoffs with a big 5-0 blanking of No. 9 seed Terra Nova at St. Francis High on Saturday.
Top-seeded Menlo (16-3-2) jumped in front two minutes in on a Sienna Stritter unassisted goal from 12 yards out. That stood up for a 1-0 halftime lead.
Stritter opened the second half by beating the goalkeeper on a one on one 12 minutes into the second half. Then, Sasha Cassidy scored from 46 yards out on an assist from Chandler Wickers at 64 minutes. Wickers scored from 20 yards out often assist from Stritter at 66 minutes. Finally, McKenzie Doyle put in the rebound of Emily Demmon's shot in the 73rd minute.
Next up for the Knights will be a semifinal match on Wednesday against West Bay Athletic League rival Priory (9-9-1) at Milpitas High at 7 p.m. The No. 12-seeded Panthers advanced with a 1-0 win over defending CCS Division III champ King's Academy, also at St. Francis.
Priory was led by junior defender-turned-goalkeeper Megan Perna, who had countless key saves throughout the contest. The only goal was scored by freshman Alicia Talancon in the 39th minute. Freshman Brenda Uribe assisted the goal, fighting off three defenders and maintaining possession before passing the ball to Talancon for the winning goal.
Sacred Heart Prep became the third team from the WBAL to reach the semifinals following a 2-1 upending of No. 3-seeded and host Burlingame in quarterfinal action Saturday morning.
The No. 6-seeded Gators (18-2-2) battled the Panthers (12-4-5) to a scoreless first half before sophomore Tierna Davidson scored goals in the 75th and 77th minutes, the first coming off an assist from freshman Cameron Gordon.
Next up for SHP will be a semifinal match on Wednesday against No. 7 Scotts Valley (13-4-5) at Westmont High at 4:30 p.m. Scotts Valley upset No. 2 Live Oak, 1-0.
The Division III championship game will be played Saturday at a site and time to be determined.
In Division I quarterfinal action, No. 2 Palo Alto battled to a 1-1 deadlock with No. 10 Alisal (14-5-1) before winning in penalty kicks, 4-1, at Valley Christian in San Jose.
Palo Alto tied the score in the 72nd minute when sophomore Alison Lu got the ball on the far right corner, dribbled past the defense and fired a shot that deflected off the goalkeeper. Paly junior Katie Foug alertly kicked the ball in, sending the match into overtime.
Palo was well-prepared for the penalty kick session as the Vikings had practiced for such a scenario all week.
The Vikings (11-4-5) next will face SCVAL De Anza Division rival Los Gatos (10-4-5) on Wednesday at Westmont High at 7 p.m. The Wildcats are the No. 3 seed and last played the Vikings to a 2-2 to end the regular season.
Sacred Heart Prep's dream of returning to the CCS Division III championship came came to an abrupt end on Saturday in a 3-0 loss to No. 2 Soledad at Rabobank Stadium in Salinas.
It was only a 1-0 game with time running out before Soledad (19-0-2) scored in the 75th and 80th minutes to end the Gators' season at 15-6-1.
"In the first half, it was a pretty even battle," said SHP coach Armando del Rio. "They scored their goal on a free kick, and then right after the game we began firing and creating good chances.
"The second half we came out and really took the game to them, and we just could not find the back of the net, and as we pushed forward more, they were able to counter attack. Soledad is by the far the best team we have played, athletically and skillfully. They have excellent players and discipline and can win it all."
In the Division I quarterfinals at Milpitas High, No. 7-seeded Menlo-Atherton (12-6-2) saw its season end in a 2-1 loss to No. 2 Bellarmine (17-3-4).