Uploaded: Thursday, February 21, 2013, 9:41 AM
Palo Alto soccer teams bounce back from 2012 seasons
View all photos (4)
|It was only one year ago that the Palo Alto boys' and girls' soccer teams slogged through unsuccessful seasons in the SCVAL De Anza Division and failed to qualify for the Central Coast Section playoffs.
Both teams were demoted to the SCVAL El Camino Division for the 2012-13 season, the first time ever that both squads have played there at the same time.
The Vikings, however, made the most of their respective opportunities by each winning 13 matches this season and earning trips to the postseason.
That success continued on Wednesday as both Paly teams won their respective section openers. The boys defeated Evergreen Valley in penalty kicks after playing to a 2-2 tie in regulation, while the girls romped to a 5-0 win over San Benito -- both in Division I action.
In San Jose, Palo Alto senior Chris Meredith scored a pair of goals during its deadlock with host and No. 8 seed Evergreen Valley, before the Vikings prevailed in penalty kicks, 4-3, to advance to the Division I quarterfinals.
The No. 9-seeded Vikings (13-5-3) next will play No. 1 Alisal (17-0-3) on Saturday at Milpitas High at 10 a.m. Palo Alto and Alisal met in the finals of the Oak Grove Gold Cup in December, with the Vikings winning on penalty kicks, 4-2, after the teams had played to a 1-1 tie.
Wednesday's match was very similar as Paly came from behind to take the lead at 2-1 and had a one-on-one with the Evergreen keeper to nearly finish off the host team. The shot, however, was just wide of the left post.
Unfortunately for the Vikings, just two minutes later it was Evergreen's Everado Cross taking a deflection in the middle of the box and putting it past Paly keeper Tony Maharaj to tie the game at 2.
Despite a flurry of opportunities, neither team scored in the final five minutes of regulation time. Paly and Evergreen went to overtime (two 10-minute periods with no golden goal). Both teams had several chances to score, including a Paly forward being taken down at the top of the box and an Evergreen player having a point-blank shot from 10 yards out that was blocked by Maharaj. Overtime ended with the match still deadlocked.
Maharaj blocked Evergreen's first attempt in PKs while Paly's Kirby Gee was successful. Alex Chin and Fernando Rodriguez both scored while Maharaj blocked one more shot. Paly's fourth attempt, and the win, went sailing through the football goal posts while Evergreen continued to score. It finally came to freshmen Dami Bolarinwa, who finessed a shot away from Evergreen's diving keeper for the deciding point.
Back in Palo Alto, the Paly girls made up for last year's postseason vacation by advancing to the second round of CCS Division I play with its 5-0 win.
The No. 6-seeded Vikings (14-4-2) got the eventual winning goal in the first half from Sunny Lyu. Paly broke it open against No. 11 seed San Benito (11-4-4) with four goals in the second half. Nina Kelty, Lena Chang, Anna Dukovic and Jacey Pederson all scored. Megan Tall added two assists.
Palo Alto, the SCVAL El Camino Divison champ, now moves on to Saturday's quarterfinals against No. 3 seed and SCVAL De Anza Division champ Los Gatos (14-3-2) at Milpitas at noon.
In other girls' action:
In Monterey, Sarah Zuckerman recorded a hat trick and Lexi Garrity scored two goals for No. 12 Priory in a 5-1 victory over No. 5 seed Santa Catalina on Wednesday in a CCS Division III first-round match.
Erin Simpson had four assists as the Panthers improved to 8-4-6 overall. Priory next will take on West Bay Athletic League (Foothill Division) rival King's Academy (8-6-5) on Saturday at St. Francis High in a quarterfinal match at noon.
Priory is playing without senior standout Mariana Galvan, who is training in Mexico City with Mexico's U-20 National Team.
In Pebble Beach, No. 10 Pinewood (14-4-3) saw its season end in a 3-2 overtime loss to No. 7 R.L. Stevenson in a Division III opener. Olivia Biggs (assist Courtney Copriviza) and Jordan Berke (assist Amrita Mecker) twice gave the Panthers a lead in the first half "and both times we let them come back," said Pinewood coach Michael Tetzlaff.
RLS scored the winning goal in the first 10-minute overtime period.
"This was not our best performance," Tetzlaff said. "I believe we were the better team with more convincing chances to score but, overall, we did not play our best game."
Tetzlaff said there were some questionable referee decisions, some "bonehead" deficiencies with his defense and injuries to key players (Mecker and Maddie Augustine) and "we were not poised and savvy enough to put all that aside and win."
RLS (12-4-5) now advances to Saturday's quarterfinals and will play No. 2 Menlo School (12-3-5) at Valley Christian at 2 p.m.
In Atherton, host and No. 7 Menlo-Atherton got goals from Sarah McLeod and Olivia DelRosso to hold off No. 10 Leland (11-5-2) in a Division I opener. The Bears (10-6-5) next will play PAL Bay Division rival and No. 2 seed Woodside (17-0-3) on Saturday in a quarterfinal at Burlingame High at 10 a.m.
Also in Atherton, host and No. 8 Sacred Heart Prep (9-5-6) saw its season end in a 2-0 loss to No. 9 Live Oak (10-8-2).
In other boys' action:
In Burlingame, No. 10 Menlo School got a goal from senior Ryan Karle in the 25th minute and held on for a 1-0 victory over host and No. 7 Burlingame (7-7-7). The triumph was the Knights' first in section action since a 4-1 win over Capuchino in 2002.
"The boys are really excited, getting back to CCS," Menlo first-year coach Marc Kerrest said.
Menlo made the only goal it would need in the first half. Sophomore Peter Rosston took the ball at midfield and found Karle, who turned on his defender and scored on the near post.
"We knew they were a good team and had a good defense," Kerrest said. "We knew it was going to be important to get that first goal."
The Knights faced a defensive-minded team, but came up with its own inpenatrable line and thwarted several attempts in the last 10 minutes of each half. Senior Timmy Costa made some big saves, including one in injury time and was aided by the strong back line of juniors Matt Myers and Justin Wang, senior Jack Redman and freshman Mason Brady. Sophomore Kyle Perez paced the midfield play.
The Knights (13-5-3) next will play No. 2 Soledad (14-3-3) in Saturday's Division III quarterfinals at Gilroy High at 10 a.m. The Aztecs won the Mission Trail Athletic League with a 9-0-2 mark, and have a 23-goal scorer in Michael Sanchez. One of those ties came against Carmel, the Knights' only common opponent who they defeated 2-0.
Also playing Saturday will be No. 5 Sacred Heart Prep. The Gators (16-2-3), who won their opener Tuesday (2-1 over Carmel), will take on No. 4 San Mateo (13-4-4) at Burlingame at noon.
In Mountain View, No. 12-seeded Menlo-Atherton (9-8-3) dropped a 4-1 decision to No. 5 Mountain View (16-2-3) in a Division I opener. Nicky Hug provided the Bears' only goal with a penalty kick in the 78th minute.
— Keith Peters/Palo Alto Online Sports
Are you receiving Express, our free daily e-mail edition? See a sample and sign-up for Express.
There are no comments yet for this story.
Be the first!