With five matches remaining in the regular season, Sacred Heart Prep is still alone in first place at 9-0 (11-3 overall). The Gators have 27 points, with Priory their closest pursuer with 18.
Coincidently, those teams will meet on Friday on the Panthers' likely soggy grass field at 3 p.m. If Priory has any thoughts of catching the Gators, it had better pull out a victory. If not, the Gators are just another day closer to wrapping things up.
In fact, if SHP knocks off Priory (6-2, 6-4), the Gators would have to lose their remaining four matches while the Panthers go no worse than 4-0-1 to streal the crown away.
That also means that if Sacred Heart Prep wins on Friday and beats visiting Eastside Prep on Wednesday, it's over.
The Gators took another big step toward clinching the league title with an 8-0 thumping of host Pinewood on Wednesday. The Gators got the winning goal from senior Matt Walter at the 10:17 mark in the first half off an assist from Alfonso Avila. Everything after that was a bonus as the Gators dominated Pinewood (0-6-1). Robert Ojeda scored twice for SHP, just four minutes apart in the second half. His brother, Victor, added a goal and an assist. Goalie Max Polkinhorne also saw some time on the field and assisted on one goal.
In San Jose, Priory kept its slim hopes alive of catching first-place Sacred Heart Prep with a 4-1 victory over host Harker. The Panthers took care of Harker (1-5-2) as Guillermo Talancon and Evan Filipczyk each scored two goals while freshman keeper Evan Finney had a stellar performance. Filipczyk now has eight goals in the past four matches.
In Atherton, Menlo remained in third place in the WBAL with a 2-1 victory over visiting King's Academy. The Knights improved to 4-3-1 in league for 13 points (6-6-1 overall) but still trail first-place Sacred Heart Prep and second place Priory. Vikram Padval scored both goals for Menlo.
In Hillsborough, Jesus Magana and Oscar Estrada both scored goals to carry Eastside Prep to a 2-0 victory over host Crystal Springs-Uplands in a WBAL match. The Panthers improved to 4-2-1 in league (4-3-3 overall) and remain tied for third place with Menlo, both with 13 points.
In the Pal Bay Division, Menlo-Atherton (5-2, 6-4-1) took over second place with a 6-0 victory over visiting Woodside on Wednesday. Will Cabral scored what would be the winning goal in the 12th minute of the first half. M-A sophomore Edgardo Molina warmed up in the second half with three goals in the 54th, 61st and 77th minutes. He also assisted on a goal by Francisco Sanchez in the 66th minute. Gabe Kaplan added to the scoring on a free kick in the 71st minute. Menlo-Atherton will play host to first-place Sequoia on Friday at 3 p.m.
In the SCVAL De Anza Division, it has taken much of the season, but the good old Palo Alto-Gunn rivalry in boys' soccer is back. Both teams are battling for the division lead these days while swapping first place on a weekly basis.
Palo Alto grabbed the top spot last week, but Gunn took it back on Tuesday with a big 1-0 victory over host Los Altos.
The Titans (4-2, 5-7-1) got an early goal from Sterling Hancock, assisted by Enzo Cabili, and making it hold up for the important triumph.
Hancock missed the preseason with an injury, but has made an impact since his return as the Titans bounced back from their 1-5 start without him. On Tuesday, both teams had opportunities throughout the fast-paced match with Gunn making the most of its chances.
Gunn's win gives the Titans 12 points in the tightly contested league race. Los Altos fell to 2-3 (7-5). Palo Alto, which tied host Milpitas on Tuesday, fell back into second with 11 points.
Palo Alto (3-1-2, 6-3-5) and Gunn will meet on the Vikings' field on Feb. 4 at 3:30 p.m., to possibly decide the league title.
Despite out-shooting Milpitas, 10 to 2, in the first half, Palo Alto walked off at halftime down 1-0. Paly had plenty of opportunities but, despite a combination of crosses from the end line and direct shots on goal, could not score in the first half. With 13 minutes remaining in the match, John Richardson sent another cross to the back post and Alex Freeman out-manuevered the Milpitas keeper for the tying score on a header.
Sacred Heart Prep junior Abby Dahlkemper made her final match over the next two weeks a special one as she scored three goals to spark the Gators to a 5-0 romp over visiting Castilleja in a West Bay Athletic League (Foothill Division) girls' soccer match on Tuesday.
Dahlkemper departed Wednesday for Sunrise, Fla., where she will train with the U.S. National 17-Under Team in its preparation to qualify for the 17-U World Cup in September. The national team will play three exhibition matches against a German squad.
The USA will attempt to qualify of the second-ever FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup through the CONCACAF U-17 Women's Championship being held in Costa Rica from March 9-20, 2010.
Dahlkemper gave the first-place Gators (5-0, 10-3-2) a 2-0 halftime lead with a pair of goals, the second assisted by Gianna Capovilla. After Lauren Espeseth made it 3-0 in the second half, Dahlkemper finished off her second-straight hat trick off an assist from senior Lizzy Weisman. Freshman Kendall Jager finished off the scoring as Castilleja fell to 2-3 (5-4).
In San Bruno, the Priory remained within reach of first-place by blanking Mercy-Burlingame, 3-0, on Tuesday in a WBAL (Foothill Division) match at Skyline College. The Panthers improved to 3-1-1 in league (5-5-1 overall). Priory junior Massiel Castellanos scored within the first few minutes of the match off an assist from Melissa Perna. The Panthers got sluggish for the rest of the half, but then came out strong in attack mode for the second half. Lauren Allen scored on a header off a corner kick served by Adriana Cortes. Later on, Cortes dribbled past four defenders and slotted it low into the corner to put the icing on the victory.
In Atherton, Menlo remained tied for second place following a 2-0 victory over visiting Notre Dame-San Jose. The Knight s(3-1-1, 9-2-2) scored both goals on headers. The first came in the 18th minute by senior Mila Sheeline off a cross by freshman Maya Norman. The second arrived eight minutes into the second half by sophomore Sophie Sheeline, off a cross from senior Sarah Swig.
Big contributors on defense for Menlo included Shannon Lacy and Frannie McCarthy, while seniors Nicole Fasola and Kelly Cavan stood out on offense.
In the SCVAL De Anza Division, Palo Alto gained some ground in the tough race with a 3-1 victory over visiting Homestead on a dreary Tuesday afternoon. The Vikings improved to 3-3 in league (6-5-1 overall) while the Mustangs fell to 2-3 (5-8), allowing Paly to move into fourth place.
The winning goal came in the first half as senior captain Kelly Jenks played a five-yard pass down the left sideline to senior Sophie Cain, who got to it before it passed the corner flag. Cain sent a cross in the air to senior Kaitlyn Patterson, who was running on to it and volleyed it into the goal in the sixth minute.
In the 30th minute, sophomore Marina Foley received a ball a the top of the box, turned with it and chipped it in the air just in front of Jenks, who raced to beat the goalie and slotted it to the right outside the keeper's reach into the cage for a 2-0 lead. Foley scored the third goal off a header assist from Jenks.
In another De Anza Division match, host Gunn rallied from a one-goal halftime deficit to tie the match on an unassisted goal by Diana Wise midway through the second half. That held up for a 1-1 deadlock with Los Altos as the Titans improved to 0-4-1 in league (2-7-2 overall).
In the PAL Bay Division, Menlo-Atherton (3-3-1, 7-4-2) remained in fourth place despite dropping a 7-1 rout to visiting Burlingame on Tuesday. The victory moved Burlingame (5-0-1) into a first-place tie with Woodside (5-0-1), which suffered a 1-1 deadlock with Aragon (4-0-3).