Paly girls bounce back from first loss, earn co-lead in soccer


The Palo Alto girls defeated Mountain View for the first time since 2007 on Tuesday and the victory couldn't have come at a better time as the Vikings' 2-0 triumph moved them into a tie for first place in the SCVAL De Anza Division soccer race.

Tess Preising scored both goals for Paly (3-1, 9-1), which was coming off its first loss of the season last week against Santa Clara and needed a victory Tuesday to stay in the race.

The two teams played a very even first half with very few opportunities for either state-ranked squad. The Spartans (3-1, 8-3) had three corners to none for the Vikings in the first half.

Mountain View applied pressure early and took several shots -- after their first corner -- that were blocked by the Palo Alto defense. On a Palo Alto free kick, Mt. View keeper Natalie Brehaut smothered the ball just ahead of a Palo Alto player.

In the second half, Palo Alto started well. Nika Woodfill beat a defender and keeper, who had come out, to a long kick off. Her cross was just put out by the Mt. View defense before Emily Tomz got to the ball -- giving Paly its first corner. Mt. View created a few scrambling efforts by the Palo Alto back line with balls over the top.

Mt. View's pressure resulted in a free kick in the 52nd minute from about 20 yards out. The ball was struck well and seemed to be heading inside the far post, but keeper Dhara Yu got a hand to the ball and pushed it wide. Palo Alto continued to play the ball on the ground to feet.

In the 62nd minute, Paly worked the ball across the top of the box with a series of one touch passes; Alison Lu found Ansley Queen who with one touch slotted the ball through for Preising to run onto and she buried the ball in the far corner of the net for a 1-0 Paly lead.

Mt. View immediately began pushing numbers forward, but Paly stayed strong on defense. In the 71st minute after breaking up a Mt. View attack, Palo Alto cleared the ball to the feet of Tomz, who then turned and played Preising through on goal. The Mt. View keeper came out and dived for the ball. Preising, however, made the keeper miss and put the ball into the goal for a 2-0 lead.

In the West Bay Athletic League (Foothill Division), Menlo School remained tied for first place following a 1-0 win over host Notre Dame-San Jose at Watson Park on Tuesday.

Sophomore Cleo King scored the winning goal nine minutes into the second half. Sophomore Montera Espinosa's long cross into the box created the goal and King connected from seven yards out.

Senior Leah Swig had a strong offensive game for the Knights (3-0, 6-2-3) while senior midfielder Lizzie Lacy, senior defender Jamie Corley, and sophomore defender Claire McFarland led the Knights' defensive effort, which limited NDSJ to just two shots on goal.

Menlo next hosts WBAL co-leader Sacred Heart Prep on Thursday at 2:45 p.m.

Sacred Heart Prep kept pace with a 6-1 romp over host King's Academy in Sunnyvale. The Gators (3-0, 9-2-1) got two goals from Mia Shenk, the first and last tallies of the contest. SHP put up three goals in the first half with Lauren Von Thaden and Olivia Athens following Shenk's tally. In the second half, the Gators got an own goal before senior Emma Markey scored in the 69th minute, eight minutes before Shenk wrapped things up.

In another WBAL Foothill match, host Priory was routed by Harker, 8-3.

In the SCVAL El Camino Division, Gunn rolled to a 5-0 victory over visiting Wilcox. The Titans (2-2, 5-4-1) got the eventual winning goal in the first half from Inger Smuts, following an assist from Natalie Hill.

Smuts and Hill took care of the scoring in the second half with each tallying twice and assisting once. Each also scored on a penalty kick.

In the WBAL Skyline Division, Rachel Gropper and Amanda McMaster provided second-half goals to pace Castilleja to a 2-0 victory over visiting Mercy-Burlingame at Cubberley Community Center. Natalie Sands and Victoria Pu provided the assists as the Gators improved to 2-0-1 in league (5-3-2 overall).

In San Francisco, Pinewood got three goals from Olivia Biggs in a 6-1 win over Mercy-San Francisco. The Panthers (3-0-1, 6-4-2) also got solo goals from Jordan Berke, Caleigh Page and Monica Burgos.

In the PAL Bay Division, host Menlo-Atherton battled for 80 minutes against a strong Carlmont squad on Tuesday afternoon, but the game ended knotted at 0-0. The Bears dominated the stats in the first half, out-shooting the Scots 6-0 with several scoring opportunities that forced the Scots goalkeeper to come up with a few key saves.

In the second half, the Bears again starting out by controlling possession of the ball and keeping the Carlmont squad on the its heels. The cross bar aided the Scots by saving shots from M-A junior Sarah McLeod in the 44th minute and another from sophomore Nicole Salz in the 65th minute.

M-A junior Kelsey Reed took four corner kicks in the second half -- the best opportunity forcing another save from the Carlmont keeper in the 68th minute. The Scots were kept from getting off a shot until the 60th minute and then managed to fire off a total of seven in the last 20 minutes of the game -- forcing four saves from M-A's senior keeper Jacqueline Foody.

For the match, the Bears out-shot the Scots, 10-7. With the tie, the Bears move to 3-1-1 (6-2-2 overall) and into third place behind Woodside (5-0) and Burlingame (3-0-1). Carlmont is now 3-2-1 and drops to fourth.

— Palo Alto Online Sports/Robert Bell on Palo Alto soccer

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