A possible undefeated soccer season in the West Bay Athletic League was slipping away for the Sacred Heart Prep boys when they fell behind by two goals against host Crystal Springs on Wednesday.
SHP coach Armando Del Rio even admitted to being concerned as his team fell behind.
"Honestly, I was frustrated at times but pretty calm and confident because this year's team has tied and won late a couple of times. (They) compete excellently every day as if it's a championship day and are composed in managing games.
"I also feel that Seattle's comeback over the weekend (in the NFC finale) added to our confidence, since we discussed it. With all that said, we need to be better in the first half, moving forward."
So, despite trailing 2-0 in the second half, the Gators roared back and escaped with a 3-2 triumph. The stirring victory keeps SHP alone in first place at 4-0 (8-1-2 overall) heading into Friday's home showdown with King's Academy, the team that ended the Gators' perfect WBAL season last year.
"I think Crystal is a tough place to play, with the small field," Del Rio said. "Two years ago we tied 0-0 there."
SHP was staring at a defeat this time before battling back with Danny Sanchez scoring off an assist from Riley Tinsley and then Tinsley tying the match with an assist from Cam Chapman. SHP finally put the match away when Oscar Delgado scored off a corner kick by Josh Lin in the 73rd minute.
In PAL Bay Division action, Menlo-Atherton improved to 3-1 in league (6-2 overall) with a 4-1 win over visiting South San Francisco.
Menlo-Atherton probably didn't realize at the time how important its 60-55 victory over host Aragon was, until learning of a Mills victory over Hillsdale at the same time.
M-A's win, coupled with the Mills triumph (33-29), threw the PAL South Division race into a three-way tie -- with Capuchino joining the top spot, as well.
The Bears (4-1, 12-5) started fast and opened a 19-8 lead midway through the first quarter on seven points from sophomore Megan Sparrow. However, the Dons chipped away at the lead to pull within two points at the half.
Midway through the third, Aragon opened a seven-point lead with junior Briana Reynolds scoring five of her team-high 13 points. The Bears' Sarah Howell hit a pair of 3-pointers to close the gap.
Down by two, at the start of the fourth quarter, the Bears' Ilana Baer and Greer Hoyem each scored a pair of baskets to push the M-A lead to six points. Aragon closed the gap to three points, but M-A protected the ball and got a final score from Carly McLanahan to put the game away.
Hoyem, a freshman, continued to fill in for the injured Ofa Sili and contributed a team-team 16 points. Howell finished with 12, all on treys.
In the SCVAL De Anza Division, Gunn remained in the thick of the race with a 62-41 win over visiting Wilcox. The Titans (2-2, 5-6) were led by Olivia Tapia's 14 points while Georgia Hake added 11 points, two rounds and two assists. Archer Olson contributed nine points and five rebounds for Gunn, which pulled away in the second half by outscoring the Chargers, 30-17.
Menlo-Atherton remained tied for third place in the PAL South Division following a 48-32 victory over visiting Aragon on Wednesday. The Bears (3-2, 9-8) raced to a 17-3 lead after one quarter and remained in front the rest of the game. Ryan Cole led nine players in the scoring column with 10 points.
Gunn won its first SCVAL De Anza Division dual match of the season by pinning down a 41-27 victory over visiting Los Gatos on Wednesday.
The Titans won eight of the first nine matches and never looked back while improving to 1-2 in league (4-2 overall). The Wildcats won at 120 pounds and then took the last five matches to score their 27 points.
Gunn senior team captain Ian Cramer (145) continued his undefeated season (16-0) with another pin, his 14th of the season. Other Titans registering wins included Tyler Greene (106), David Abramovitch (126), Shelby Oyung (132) and Tanner Kerrins (138). Travis Haro (113) and Ebrahim Feghhi (152) won by forfeit.
Gunn will travel to Gilroy High for the always-tough Mid Cal Invitational on Friday and Saturday. Also competing will be wrestlers from Menlo-Atherton and Palo Alto.