The Palo Alto boys and girls remain in first place in their respective SCVAL De Anza Division soccer races following solid victories over Homestead on Thursday.
The Paly girls (4-1, 10-1) stayed tied with Mountain View following a 4-0 road victory while the Viking boys (5-0, 9-1-2) gained sole possession of the top spot by knocking the visiting Mustangs out of the co-lead.
Homestead came into the match with a 4-0 league record after winning the El Camino Division title last season. The Vikings ruined their perfect league mark as junior Michel Siaba scored in the first half off an assist from senior Wesley Woo.
Palo Alto came out strong and had several chances to score during the first half, but could not convert until Woo lifted a ball over the Homestead defenders to Siaba. The talented junior out- finessed a Homestead defender, placing the ball off the left post. Paly continued to push hard up until halftime while Homestead had no shots on goal.
In almost a replay of Paly's game against Mountain View on Tuesday, Homestead started attacking quickly in the second half with three forwards and put Paly on the defensive. Paly's offensive attack came mainly from counter-attacks, but the Vikings did not hold on to the ball long enough.
Homestead stepped up the attack during the last 20 minutes, having several chances around the goal mouth that were cleared away by the Paly defense. A near-pivotal point came under 10 minutes in the game when a Homestead forward went down on the edge of the box. Eli Friedlander, Paly's keeper in the second half, read the Hometead penalty shot shot perfectly and deflected it away.
Homestead continued to push for the equalizer and had one more chance when a Mustang player went down again, right at the edge of the box. This time, Homestead was awarded a direct kick at the edge of the box. The shot sailed just wide of the post as the match ended.
Paly junior keepers Alex Bomoni and Friedlander combined for the team's sixth shutout in a row. Left back Steve Blatman, right back Declan Cassini, along with center backs Preston Kuppe and Rueben Kramer plus midfielders Derrick Schoenberger and Dami Bolarinwa had nice defensive games.
In the SCVAL El Camino Division, seniors Sean MacPherson and Dmitriy Timokhin teamed up to give Gunn a 1-1 tie with host Fremont. The Firebirds took a 1-0 lead at the half, but MacPherson scored after intermission with Timokhin providing the assist. Gunn is 4-0-1 in league (7-4-2 overall).
Palo Alto grabbed the lead against Homestead in the 22nd minute when junior Jacey Pederson intercepted a weak Homestead clearance and drove to the end line to the left of the goal. She drove a low cross into the box, the keeper missed deflecting the ball and Ansley Queen turned the cross into the net for a 1-0 lead.
Two minutes later, Katie Foug's short corner to Pederson allowed her to fake right and get by her marker to the left, opening up the whole goal. Pederson powered her shot in at the upper near corner for a 2-0 advantage.
In the second half, Foug found Pederson in space and Jacey manuvered to find an opening before driving the ball past the keeper for a 3-0 lead. Paly scored their final goal after Alison Lu stole the ball and dribbled upfield. She worked a give-and-go with Tess Preising before Lu slotted the returned ball home for Paly's fourth goal.
In the SCVAL El Camino Division, Gunn grabbed an early lead in the first half and held on for a 2-1 victory over host Fremont in Sunnyvale. Inger Smuts gave the Titans (3-2, 6-4-1) a lead in the first half off an assist from Megan Kuhnle. In the second half, Natalie Hill provided the winning goal with Kirsten Butner assisting.
In the West Bay Athletic League (Skyline Division), host Castilleja rolled to a 6-0 victory over Mercy-San Francisco at Cubberley Community Center. The Gators improved to 3-0-1 in league and 6-3-2 overall.
Anais Sarrazin scored two goals in the first half with Julie Lodoen and Natalie Sands adding solo tallies for a 4-0 lead. In the second half, Amanda McMaster scored off a corner kick by Sarah Abramowitz, who also scored for the Gators.
In Hillsborough, Pinewood dropped a 4-1 WBAL Skyline Division match to first-place Crystal Springs (4-0). The Panthers dropped to 3-1-1 in league (6-5-2 overall) with Olivia Biggs providing the lone goal.
In the PAL Bay Division, Allison Galbraith scored a second-half goal to help Menlo-Atherton deadlock host Hillsdale, 1-1. The Bears moved to 3-1-2 in league (6-2-3 overall) and moved into a third-place tie with Burlingame, a 1-0 loser to first-place Woodside (6-0, 10-1) on Thursday.