Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - March 5, 2010

SHP girls a win from soccer final

Gators take on No. 1 seed Scotts Valley in delayed CCS semfinal

by Keith Peters

Fans and parents of the Sacred Heart Prep boys' basketball and girls' soccer teams will either have to make a decision on Friday, or be able to negotiate the highways in the south Bay in quick fashion.

The Gators' basketball squad will be playing in the Central Coast Section Division IV championship game at Santa Clara University at 4:45 p.m. The SHP girls' soccer team will be playing a CCS Division III semifinal at Valley Christian High at 7 p.m.

For those who want to see both, there should be time. But, there'll be no time to waste for those who want to see the start of both events.

The busy schedule came about as a result of the rainy weather this week. The soccer match originally was scheduled for Wednesday night, but Valley Christian's FieldTurf facility received enough rain to make the field unplayable.

The big problem due to the switch is the Division III championship match, scheduled for Saturday at Valley Christian. Last year's girls' finals went off at 10 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. Should the Gators win on Friday night, there will be little turnaround time before the finals — unless they are pushed back.

The No. 4-seeded Gators (14-4-3) will face No. 1 Scotts Valley (15-2-3) in the Division III semifinals on Friday.

Sacred Heart, the defending champion, kept its hopes alive of repeating following a 2-0 quarterfinal victory over No. 5 Harbor last Saturday at Valley Christian High in San Jose.

The got the eventual winning goal from senior Lizzy Weisman in the second half, off an assist from Lauren Espeseth. Just to make sure, Geena Graumann added an insurance goal with Espeseth assisting again.

Scotts Valley advanced with a 5-4 penalty-kick win over No. 9 Saratoga after the teams played to a scoreless deadlock through regulation and overtime.

In another Division III quarterfinal, seventh-seeded Priory (10-6-6) saw its season end in a 1-0 loss to No. 2 Live Oak (13-4-4) at Piedmont Hills High. The Panthers outplayed Live Oak for most of the match, especially in the first half, but could not connect on any of their numerous scoring opportunities.

Early in the second half, Priory lost Alex Schnabel to an ankle injury. The Panthers already were missing Sarah Zuckerman (ankle injury) and Darrah Shields was only 50 percent due to an ankle injury. To make matters worse, scoring leader Massiel Castellanos got taken out by the Live Oak keeper with about 15 minutes to play, quite possibly suffering a broken ankle. Live Oak wound up scoring in the final five minutes.

"It certainly was not our best match, but a match I feel we let go because we failed to convert on good opportunities," said Priory coach Armando Del Rio. "Adriana Cortes had very good shots from the outside, barely missing the top corners on three occasions. Defenders Melissa Perna and Molly Simpson were superb, in that very little (scoring) chances were allowed. So, it stings to lose on a long throw-in set piece, but that's the game of soccer!"

At Valley Christian, No. 6 Menlo (14-3-4) had its season end with a 2-0 overtime loss to No. 3 Santa Cruz. The match was scoreless at the end of regulation and the first overtime before the Cardinals scored twice in the second OT period.

"They scored twice in the 97th minute, four minutes from penalties," said Menlo coach Donoson FitzGerald.

Santa Cruz scored on a header by Jordan Jenkins after a nice long run and cross. When FitzGerald moved up one of his fullbacks in an attempt to get the equalizer, Santa Cruz quickly scored again.

"It was a good game," FitzGerald said. "Not a lot ohances. They outshot us 7-5."

FitzGerald singled out Shannon Lacy, Mila Sheeline, Kelly Cavan, Nicole Fasola, Elle Laub and freshman Maya Norman for their play.

In a Division I quarterfinal at Terra Nova High in Pacifica, No. 9 seed Palo Alto (9-9-2) played No. 1 Woodside tough before finally falling, 1-0. The Wildcats (18-0-3) scored in the 77th minute with Chelsea Braun providing the goal.

Paly played without starting keeper Alex Kershner, who was called up by the Olympic Development Program to represent the western region in a tournament in Portugal. Replacing Kershner was freshman Erin Chang, who played well in her first varsity start.

Baseball

Dodging raindrops will be crucial this week as high school spring sports teams get their respective seasons under way. Monday was rain-free and proved to be a good day to get things started for the Menlo School and Sacred Heart Prep baseball teams.

In Atherton, Menlo opened its season in very impression fashion with a 10-1 victory over El Camino in an opening-round game of the Tim Kuehnert Memorial Tournament. The Knights (1-0) jumped ahead in the first on a clutch two-out, two-run single by Jackson Badger and never looked back.

Menlo junior right fielder Phil Anderson had a pair of two-out, two-run singles of his own and Stanford signee Danny Diekroeger had three hits. Menlo's defense was stellar as pitchers Dustin Williams and Jack Suiter combined to throw a four-hitter with no walks.

The Knights were flawless on defense and turned a 4-6-3 double play. Menlo returns to action on Tuesday, weather permitting, with another pool game in the tournament against Aragon at Menlo at 3:15 p.m.

At Woodside, Matt Martella, Charlie Bradford and Kevin Wilkins accounted for all seven hits and all five runs as Sacred Heart Prep evened its season baseball record with a 5-4 nonleague triumph over the host Wildcats on Monday. The Gators (1-1) got three hits and an RBI from Wilkins, who also started on the mound and got the pitching win. Martella and Bradford each had two hits and two RBI with Martella slamming a home run.

On Tuesday, the day started out to be a wash, but the skies cleared long enough for Menlo and Aragon to meet in the second game of pool play in the annual Kuehnert Memorial. The Knights played their second solid game in two days as they defeated the Dons, 5-1, in a battle between last year's champions of the PAL's top two divisions.

Sophomore Jake Batchelder threw 64 pitches over five 5 innings while scattering five hits, walking two, hitting two and striking out four in picking up his first win of the year. Junior Kamyaar Butt pitched a spotless sixth and sophomore transfer Freddy Avis closed things out in the seventh as the Knights.

Menlo turned three double plays in the game including a game ender. Offensively Menlo was once again led by Diekroeger, who went 3 for 3 with 2 RBI and Avis, who had two hits and two RBI, including a clutch two-out hit in the second to put the Knights ahead, 2-1.

Boys' golf

The Sacred Heart Prep boys' golf team remained perfect after two nonleague matches following a 192-211 victory over visiting Palo Alto on Monday at the par-36 Sharon Heights Golf & Country Club. The Gators (2-0) were led by St. Mary's-bound senior Dalan Refioglu, who fashioned a 2-under-par 34 to lead the way. Anthony Tran shot 38 while Jeff Knox, Andrew Vetter and Kevin Knox all shot 40 to round out the scoring. Palo Alto was led by Aaron Lee's 40, with Grant Rapple and Alexandra Groetsema adding 42s.

In San Mateo, Menlo-Atherton improved to 2-0 with a 208-223 victory over host Aragon in a PAL Bay Division match at Peninsula Country Club. David McNamara led the Bears and won medalist honors with a 38.

Softball

A second straight outstanding pitching performance by Castilleja senior Sammy Albanese went for naught as the Gators had to settle for a 5-5 deadlock with visiting Live Oak in a nonleague softball game on Tuesday. Albanese did her part by striking out a season-high 20 in 7 1/3 innings. The game was finally called by darkness after nine innings. Albanese struck out 19 in her last game, also a tie. The Gators are now 1-0-2 while Albanese has 58 strikeouts. She had a triple and two RBI on Tuesday.

Also on Tuesday, freshman Claire Klausner tossed a no-hitter and struck out 13 as Gunn evened its season record with a 6-0 nonleague triumph over visiting Menlo-Atherton. Klausner, who just finished her basketball season last week, helped herself at the plate with two hits. Teammates Brooke Binkley and Nicole Grimwood also had two hits. The Titans (1-1) also had their way on the basepaths as Grimwood swiped five bases, Nikki Schwardt stole four and Binkley two.

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