PK's finally Palo Alto's undoing in tourney finale


A third time definitely wasn't a charm for the Palo Alto girls' soccer team, which finally dropped a match in penalty kicks after winning in that fashion in two previous matches.

The lack of goals in regulation finally caught up with the Vikings in the championship match of the Palo Alto Winter Classic on Saturday.

Palo Alto and Los Altos battled to a scoreless deadlock in regulation before the Eagles came up with a pair of blocks in penalty kicks and held on for a 4-3 decision. The Vikings had beaten Carlmont on Thursday and Aragon on Friday in penalty kicks following scoreless matches in regulation.

The first half of regulation was even, with both teams wrestling for momentum but neither able to dominate. Los Altos had a good scoring chance 12 minutes into the game on a 20-yard free kick that missed. Paly answered four minutes later with a shot on frame by Lily Seedman, but the shot was saved by the Los Altos keeper.

Paly had two other chances in the half by Jordan Smith and Emily Brown, but both flew high over the post. Los Altos almost took the lead when Annie Gaffney broke away and fired a shot low right post, but Paly goalkeeper Erin Chang made a diving save to keep the first half scoreless.

Early in the second half, Palo Alto's Hanna Totte connected with Olivia Musil on a corner kick, which was headed toward the upper-right corner but the ball deflected up and out. Paly did finally gain the momentum as it kept Los Altos on the defensive for better part of the half, but could not find a score. Los Altos had a late scoring opportunity from 25 yards out but it went just left.

With seconds left in the game, Los Altos got a corner and the kick was perfect, right in front of the goal and head high. The ball was headed on frame but Chang made another great save, catching the ball and ultimately sending the game into PK's.

Los Altos made its first PK and Paly's Terra Jones evened it up 1-1. Los Altos' second shot was blocked by Chang, but Paly couldn't capitalize as Smith's shot was blocked. Chang got a hand on the next Los Altos PK, but it when in for a 2-1 lead. Paly's Mayssen Labidi evened things up moments later with a high right-post shot. Both teams scored again for a 3-3 match as Paly's Emy Kelty deadlocked things.

Los Altos stepped up and put a quick shot right side that got in for a 4-3 advantage. Unfortunately for the Vikings, their fifth shot was blocked and the Eagles took the title. However, it was a great start to a new season by the young Vikings, led by a strong defensive unit that kept them alive in the two-week tournament.

In other final-day matches, Saratoga defeated Santa Clara, 3-1, while the Priory-Sacred Heart Prep match was postponed.

Boys' soccer

Gunn remained unbeaten on the season with a 4-1 victory over Salinas in the second round of the Homestead Christmas Cup on Saturday.

The Titans (2-0-2) got off to a good start when Johnny Sun scored off an assist from Ben Sampson. Sun then got the game-winner on an assist from David Koo. Mario Victor Tapia provided a big insurance goal with Elyas Daadi assisting before Kevin Macario finished the scoring with Tapia providing the assist.

In Atherton, Isaac Polkinhorne rallied Sacred Heart Prep to a 1-1 deadlock with visiting Mountain View on Saturday in nonleague action.

After the Spartans had taken the lead less than six minutes into the second half, Polkinhorne scored in the 76th minute to keep the Gators (2-0-2) unbeaten this season. Goalie Max Polkinhorne had 10 saves for SHP.

— Palo Alto Online Sports

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