Paly coach Don Briggs probably would agree after watching his team escape with a 1-0 triumph over host Gunn on Tuesday afternoon in just another typical rivalry match between the schools.
The Vikings improved to 2-0 in league (5-2-3 overall) while the Titans fell to 2-1 (3-6) and out of first place for the time being.
Paly sophomore Kris Hoglund took a pass from Jenner Fox and put it past Gunn keeper Keaton Smith with about 10 minutes remaining in the second half for the winning goal.
The match was highlighted by very competitive play by both teams. Gunn had the stronger first half with the wind to its back. While the Titans had more shots on goal, most were from far out and off the mark. The second half swung over to Paly's favor as the Vikings gained the wind advantage. Paly had several opportunities to score but was stopped by the nice defensive plays by Gunn's Smith in goal.
Hoglund beat the Gunn defense several times, which led to several one-on-ones. While Smith broke up the first two, Hoglund put the third one away to win the match. Paly had to hold on as Gunn responded with five minutes of a frenzied attack, including a set play that was trapped up against the cross bar for a moment by Paly's keeper Scott Alexander. It fell to the ground and was cleared by Mark Raftrey. Alexander had several nice saves in the waning minutes.
Nittai Malchin, Peter Laminette and Raftrey did a nice job of thwarting Gunn's attack and Fox and John Richardson controlled the midfield attack.
Elsewhere this week:
It was only a year ago that Sacred Heart Prep started the season by losing its first four matches. The Gators wound up losing eight the entire season, including two to King's Academy in league play.
Sacred Heart Prep is off to a much better start this season and already has avenged one of those losses to King's, thanks to a 3-1 triumph on Wednesday in Sunnyvale. The Gators, in fact, used that triumph to grab control of the West Bay Athletic League race, improving to 5-0 in league for 15 points. Sacred Heart holds a solid five-point lead over both Eastside Prep (3-1-1) and Menlo (3-1-1) heading into a big match Friday against visiting Menlo at 3 p.m.
Sacred Heart Prep (7-3 overall) struck quickly as freshman Joseph Bolous took a pass from Victor Ojeda and converted at the 4:41 mark of the first half. Kyle Scherba followed some 22 minutes later on a penalty kick. SHP made it a 3-0 match when Jack Odell found Andrew Liotta, who scored at the 46-minute mark. The Gators lost their shutout when King's scored at the 62-minute mark.
In Atherton, the WBAL race just got a lot more interesting as Eastside Prep handed host Menlo a 1-0 defeat. The victory moved the Panthers (3-1-1, 3-2-3) into a second-place tie with the Knights (3-1-1, 5-4-1), both of whom trail first-place Sacred Heart Prep.
Eastside Prep senior Darryl Sepulveda, who during the fall was a standout cross-country runner, provided the winning goal in the first half off an assist from Javier Magana in the 15th minute. Menlo had its chances, out-shooting the visitors 18-5. The Knights' Vikram Padval hit the right post in the 11th minute and Dawson Williams missed a shot wide right a few minutes later before Eastside scored. Panthers' goalie Manuel Chavez had eight saves, two big ones coming late in the second half to preserve the victory.
In Portola Valley, Guillermo Talancon and Evan Filipczyk each scored two goals and provided an assist to spark Priory to a 9-0 romp over visiting Pinewood in a WBAL match on Wednesday. Priory improved to 2-3 in league (2-5 overall) while Pinewood fell to 0-4-1 (0-7-1).
The Menlo-Atherton at Burlingame PAL Bay Division match was not reported.
Defending champion Sacred Heart Prep opened its WBAL (Foothill Division) season with a 5-0 victory over host Notre Dame-San Jose on Tuesday.
The Gators (1-0 (7-3-1) grabbed a 3-0 halftime lead on goals by Lizzy Weisman, Gianna Capovilla and Francesca Surraco. Abby Dahlkemper assisted on the first and third goals while Sophia Abuel-Saud assisted on the second tally. Dahlkemper added to the scoring in the second half with a goal in the 42nd minute with an assist from Surraco. Capovilla closed the scoring in the 60th minute with an assist from Kendall Jager. The Gators will host Priory on Thursday (3 p.m.) in an important WBAL match.
In Palo Alto, Castilleja opened its WBAL (Foothill Division) season with a solid 4-1 victory over visiting Mercy-Burlingame at the Mayfield Soccer Complex on Tuesday.
The Gators (1-0, 4-2) took the lead in the 12th minute when Emily Mosbacher carried the ball from midfield, and calmly slotted it low right past the goalkeeper. In the 15th minute, Emily Colvin sent a beautiful cross to Mosbacher, who flicked it to Martha Harding for the finish and a 2-0 lead. Mercy's Julia Landholt placed a perfect free kick in the 22nd minute for Mercy's only goal.
Castilleja took a 2-1 lead into the second half before Colvin's corner kick in the 47th minute was played out of the air by Mosbacher and into the lower left corner for a 3-1 match. In the 63rd minute, Colvin sent a laser from just outside the 18-yard marker to the upper right corner to give the Gators' their final tally.
In a showdown between the WBAL's No. 2 (Priory) and No. 3 (Menlo) teams from last season, the two squads battled to a scoreless draw on Tuesday in Atherton.
"Though it was a draw, each team had scoring opportunities," said Menlo coach Donoson FitzGerald, who felt his team should have won.
"Donoson, I hear, feels they should have won," said Priory coach Armando del Rio. "But, honestly, I do not see that. they did hit the crossbar twice, but they were lucky 'Hail Mary's' from outside of the box. But, it is soccer; you must score and prevent goals from being scored. All the rest are minor details."
After starting the season 6-0-0, Menlo has fallen to 6-1-2 (0-0-1 in league). Priory is now 2-4-5 overall (0-0-1 in league).
Menlo seniors Nicole Fasola and Mila Sheeline both hit the crossbar in the first half. In the second half, senior Katie Baum just missed wide from about 12 yards out. FitzGerald singled out his defense for a solid job -- senior Elitah petty, freshman Dana Gornick, sophomore Frannie McCarthy, sophomore Elle Laub and freshman keeper Julia Dressel.
For Priory, del Rio "was not happy with our style of play, as we fell into their physical, direct and chaotic style -- throwing us off of what we are trying to do. However, I am happy with the work-ethic, and it is favorable for us to get a point away.
"We will have another difficult match at SHP (Thursday) that I hope we can be mentally ready for," del Rio continued. "We need to get over the two losses (to SHP) last yeaer and come to play."
Speaking of coming to play, Menlo-Atherton did just that on Tuesday and came away with a big 2-0 PAL Bay Division victory at Carlmont. The Bears improved to 2-1 in league (6-2-1 overall).
Mallory Stevens gave the Bears a 1-0 lead in the 31st minute after teammate Gilliam Collom booted a Carlmont goal kick back toward the Scots' goal, where Stevens converted. Sophomore Jennifer Kirst provided the clincher late in the match off a pass from Lindsay Keare. Junior sweeper Tess Cain and freshman keeper Caitlyn Lanigan (along with senior goalie Brigid McCurdy in the first half)helped anchored the Bears' defense.
In the SCVAL De Anza Division, Palo Alto senior Erika Hoglund scored two goals in a 2-0 victory over visiting Gunn. Hoglund tallied the eventual winning goal in the first half off the first of two assists from fellow senior Kelly Jenks. The goal came from the top right side of the penalty area, starting with a five-yard pass from Hoglund to Jenks, who controlled it while Hoglund continued her run across the penalty spot. She one-timed Jenks' rolling feed with her left foot past the keeper.
In the second half, things got rolling in the 75-minute mark off a soaring cross from Kaitlyn Patterson on the right sideline to Jenks, who volleyed off the crossbar, with Hoglund finishing it low into the net. Palo Alto (1-1, 4-3-1) outshot Gunn (0-3, 2-5-1) by 12-6.