The winter sports season is officially under way and the Palo Alto girls' soccer team is wasting no time gaining some momentum to the season.
Getting two goals and one assist from senior Gracie Cain, the Vikings opened play in their own Palo Alto Winter Classic tournament with a 3-1 victory over Castilleja on Thursday at the Mayfield Soccer Complex.
The Vikings (1-1) also got a goal and an assist from transfer Helen Butler while Castilleja's Rachel Brownell scored off an assist from Caitlin Colvin. Paly keeper Alex Kershner and Castilleja first-year goalie Ginna Freehling both held the opposition scoreless in the first half.
The Gators (2-1) will face Willow Glen on Friday at the Paly football field (6 p.m.) while Palo Alto will take on the Rams on the El Camino field on Saturday at 5 p.m. The tournament continues through next weekend.
In another tourney opener, Menlo School battled to a 0-0 draw with Los Altos. The Knights (0-0-2) had their chances as freshman Jaye Boissiere hit the crossbar midway through the first half while junior Elle Laub had a scoring chance in each half.
Junior Alexandra Douglass was denied at the end of the first half by a diving save. Los Altos pressured the Menlo goal late in the match but sophomore keeper Julia Dressel made some of her eight saves. Junior defenders Frannie McCarthy and Shannon Lacy led the backline's effort for Menlo, which will play Aragon on Saturday (3 p.m.) at Palo Alto in the second round.
Also in the first round, freshman Caroline Anderson and Haleli Moalem provided goals for Gunn as it opened play with a 2-2 draw with Scotts Valley on Thursday. Anna von Clemm provided an assist on Anderson's first varsity goal.
In nonleague action, Pinewood (2-0) got one goal and two assists from Etelle Stephan in a 5-2 victory over visiting Monte Vista Christian. Danielle Man added one goal and one assist while Courtney Coprovisa, Adrienne Whitlock and Margo Cilker also scored for the Panthers.
Ausjerae Holland scored 16 points and pulled down nine rebounds to spark Eastside Prep to a 54-12 romp over Kennedy (Richmond) in the opening round of the Notre Dame-Belmont Tournament on Thursday. Hashima Carothers scored eight points and had nine rebounds for the Panthers (1-0
Elsewhere, Cat Perez scored 11 points and grabbed nine rebounds as Gunn won its second straight game at the Burlingame Tournament on Thursday with a 39-26 victory over St. Francis. Julia Maggioncalda added five steals and four rebounds while Claire Klausner had eight points, three rebounds and two steals for the Titans (2-0). Freshman Zoe Zwerling knocked down a pair of three-pointers and finished with 10 points for Gunn.
Leslie Gray tallied 15 points and Bryan Walker added 14 as Eastside Prep opened its season with a 42-15 nonleague win over visiting Summit Prep on Thursday. The game marked the return of former coach Chris Bischof, the school's founder and principal. He's taking over the program again after the Panthers struggled to a three-win season last year.
In another nonleague game, host Menlo-Atherton (2-0) got 15 points and nine rebounds from Marquise Tolson as the Bears held off Mission San Jose, 61-57, to keep first-year coach Senque Carey unbeaten. Michael Culhane added eight points and seven rebounds for M-A.
In Watsonville, Gunn (1-0) opened its season with a 50-35 nonleague win over Monte Vista Christian.
Kris Hoglund provided the only goal as Palo Alto remained unbeaten after three matches with a 1-0 win over host Granada on Thursday in the Winter Soccer Classic in the East Bay. Mark Raftrey played well for the Vikings (3-0) while keeper Austin Shiau got the shutout. Palo Alto, which has nine points, will play in the championship match on Saturday at Amador High in Pleasanton at 6 p.m.
Priory opened its season on the road with a 2-0 triumph over Wilcox on Thursday. Sophomore keeper Evan Finney made key saves when it mattered, including two 1v1's, but the entire defense of John Jernick, Colin Schreiner, Marcus Stromeyer and Cesar Perez was tough to help keep the clean sheet.
Freshman Austin Mirabella got the scoring started in the second half, calmly placing his shot just inside the left post, off a nice feed from Stromeyer. Mirabella then provided the assist on a standout goal by sophomore Jake Seawick, who chipped the ball over the keeper from just inside the 18-yard box.
Gunn (0-1) opened its season with a 3-0 loss to host St. Francis on Thursday evening.