Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - February 10, 2012

Soccer titles and CCS berths are still up for grabs

by Keith Peters

The high school soccer season is fast coming to a close, but the action is far from over with a handful of local teams headed to the Central Coast Section playoffs that begin February 21 and 22.

The Sacred Heart Prep and Menlo-Atherton boys are locks for the postseason while the Menlo boys are likely and Gunn a possible.

The SHP, Menlo and Priory girls are all headed to CCS while Menlo-Atherton should join them, as well.

As for league titles, the SHP boys appear a shoe-in, the M-A boys are a solid bet and the Menlo girls have the inside track.

The Sacred Heart Prep boys (10-0-2, 13-0-4) can wrap up the West Bay Athletic League with a victory over visiting Eastside Prep on Friday 2:45 p.m. Having 35 points will be insurmountable, with Menlo (8-1-3, 11-1-5) finishing with 33 points at best. Only the top two teams will advance to the CCS Division III playoffs.

Sacred Heart Prep moved a step closer to defending its WBAL title with a 1-0 victory over last-place Pinewood on Wednesday in Atherton. Junior Brendan Spillane tallied the winner off an assist from sophomore Will Mishra in the second half. Pinewood fell to 0-10-2 (0-13-3).

Menlo, which failed to qualify for the postseason last year, vowed not to let that happen this season and have made that stick thus far. The Knights won their fourth straight on Wednesday with a 3-2 decision over visiting Eastside Prep, knocking the Panthers (6-5) out of CCS.

Junior Max Parker scored twice and senior Lyall Cooper added the other goal as Menlo extended its streak of 11 straight matches without a loss. The Knights can pretty much secure second place with a win over third-place King's Academy (8-1-2) on Friday at 2:45 p.m.

The Menlo-Atherton boys, meanwhile, have an unbeaten streak of 17 in the works following a 3-1 victory over host Aragon on Wednesday. The first-place Bears (8-0-3, 13-0-4) got goals from Tom Kaheli, Esteban Pena and James Sebes and assists from Edgardo Molina (two) and fellow senior try-captain Aaron Oro. Molina and Oro scored goals Monday in a big 2-0 win over visiting San Mateo, which moved the Bears into first place.

Menlo-Atherton will close out a busy week by hosting Burlingame on Friday at 6 p.m.

In the SCVAL De Anza Division, Gunn kept its hopes alive for a section playoff berth with a 1-0 victory over visiting Milpitas on Wednesday. Senior Sam Emad-Vaez scored in the seventh minute of the first half on an assist from Stefan Jensen as the Titans improved to 5-4-1 in league (8-6-3 overall).

Gunn remains in fourth place with 16 points while trailing league champ Mountain View (28 points), Saratoga (20) and Los Altos (18).

Girls soccer

It has been 20 years since Menlo School has won a league title. That came in 1992 when the Knights competed in the Girls Private School League. Two more victories by Menlo will end that title drought.

Menlo remained atop the West Bay Athletic League (Foothill Division) race with a 3-0 victory over host Castilleja on Tuesday at the Mayfield Soccer Complex.

The Knights improved to 9-1 in league (11-4-2 overall) and held a three-point lead over second-place Priory heading into Thursday's match against last-place Mercy-Burlingame. A victory by the Knights clinched no worse than a co-title.

Menlo will have to beat or tie visiting Sacred Heart Prep (7-2-1, 9-4-5) on Tuesday at 2:45 p.m.to claim the outright title — the Knights' first in the WBAL.

Sophomores Chandler Wickers, Jay Boissiere and Lindsay Karle provided the goals in the win over Castilleja.

Menlo's defense of senior Shannon Lacy, junior Hannah Rubin, sophomore Sienna Stritter, freshmen Alexandra Walker was rock-solid throughout the match as the Knights posted their seventh straight shutout.

In San Mateo, Priory (8-2, 11-4-2) maintained its hold on second place with a 5-0 victory over last-place Mercy-Burlingame. Molly Simpson scored twice while Lexi Garrity, Eugenia Jernick and Darrah Shields provided the other goals. The Panthers have 24 points with two matches remaining in the regular season — both against King's Academy.

In Sunnyvale, Sacred Heart Prep remained in third place in the WBAL race with a 2-1 victory over host King's Academy. The Knights (3-6, 8-7-1) grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first half before the Gators rallied on a goal by Ali Jordan in the 23rd minute off an assist from Christine Callinan. Sacred Heart got the game-winner in the 75th minute from junior Kendall Jager off an assist from Stephanie Terpening.

In the WBAL Skyline Division, Pinewood kept its hopes alive for a playoff berth with a 4-0 victory over host Harker on Tuesday. Danielle Man provided the first and winning goal off an assist from Gabz Amos-Crosser in the 37th minute. Freshman Nicole Colonna made it 2-0 with an unassisted goal 14 minutes later. Man scored her second goal of the match in the 60th minute with Adrienne Whitlock following three minutes later with another unassisted tally as the Panthers improved to 12-1-1 in league (13-3-2 overall).

In the PAL Bay Division, Menlo-Atherton suffered its second straight 0-0 outcome, this time against host Aragon. The Bears (6-2-3, 10-4-3) still had to get satisfaction of reducing the Don's first-place lead over Carlmont to just two points.

Aragon has 26 points followed by Carlmont (24) and M-A (21). Woodside trails in fourth with 16 points.

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