It was three weeks ago that the Palo Alto girls saw their perfect soccer season come to an end in an upset loss to host Santa Clara. The Vikings haven't lost since, winning six straight.
Win No. 6 in the streak came on Thursday and it avenged that one loss in a very big way as Palo Alto steamrolled the visiting Bruins, 9-2.
The Vikings improved to 8-1 in league (14-1 overall) and remained tied for first place with Mountain View, which handed Los Gatos a 3-1 defeat on Thursday.
Palo Alto will visit Mountain View on Tuesday (3:30 p.m.) with the SCVAL De Anza Division championship most likely at stake.
Paly is off to its best start since going 18-0-2 in 1982.
The Vikings, who have outscored the opposition by 55-7 this season, settled the match with Santa Clara early with a 5-0 halftime lead with Nika Woodfill scoring twice, in the 11th and 16th minutes, on assists by Aoi Sugihara.
Sugihara also had a hand in the eventual winning goal as she was knocked down in the penalty area. Junior Jacey Pederson converted the first of her two penalty kicks for a 3-0 lead.
As the half was winding down, Paly kept up the pressure. In the 39th minute, Pederson weaved across the top of the penalty area and finally created room for a shot that fooled the keeper and went in at the left post. Then in the 40th minute, Natalie Maloney found Katie Foug's run and Foug avoided the keeper, who had come out and she passed the ball into the goal for a 5-0 lead at the half.
Palo Alto rested several starters starting the second half, during which Santa Clara scored twice on penalty kicks.
Palo Alto added four goals -- by Alison Lu, Maloney, Foug and Heidi Moeser (her first of the year).
In the West Bay Athletic League, first-place Sacred Heart Prep got a first-half goal from sophomore Olivia Athens and moved closer to wrapping up the Foothill Division title with a 1-0 triumph over visiting King's Academy on Thursday.
Lauren Von Thaden assisted on the lone goal in the 38th minute as the Gators improved to 8-0 in league (24 points) and 14-2-1 overall while remaining in control of the WBAL race. SHP stretched its unbeaten streak to 14 matches. The Gators haven't lost since Dec. 8.
Sacred Heart Prep played without junior standout Tierna Davidson, who was at an Under-18 training camp at the U.S. Olympic Center in Chula Vista.
Davidson is expected to be on hand for Tuesday's home showdown against second-place Menlo School. SHP holds a five-point lead over the Knights with two matches remaining and can win the title outright with one more victory. For Menlo (19 points) to take the title, the Knights have to win twice with SHP losing twice.
Menlo (6-1-1, 9-3-4) remained mathematically alive for a title shot with a 2-0 victory over visiting Notre Dame-San Jose as a pair of seniors scored on Senior Day.
Against the Regents, Menlo got on the scoreboard in the 35th minute when Leah Swig passed to Sasha Cassidy. Cassidy then found senior Alexandra Walker, who fired in a 10-yard shot.
Then, 4:32 into the second half, Zoe Enright delivered a cross and senior Tess Batchelder scored from 12 yards to give the Knights a 2-0 lead.
Menlo outshot Notre Dame, 14-3, while the Knights' Jamie Corley and Schuyler Tilney-Volk (six saves) paced the defense.
In the WBAL Skyline Division, Pinewood rolled to an 8-0 win over visiting Mercy-San Francisco. The Panthers improved to 5-2-2 in league (8-6-3 overall), but still trails first-place Crystal Springs (7-0-1) and second-place Castilleja (6-0-2) with no chance to reach the CCS playoffs.
Pinewood got three goals from Olivia Biggs and two goals from Nicole Saltzman.
In the PAL Bay Division, Menlo-Atherton won its second straight by posting a 3-0 triumph over host Half Moon Bay. The Bears improved to 5-3-2 in league (8-4-3 overall).
The Bears scored early when seniors Carolyn Hunt-Gonzalez and Annie Harrier teamed up for the first goal just minutes into the game. The Bears continued to play a possession game for the rest of the half, but it wasn't until the last five minutes that M-A earned its second goal. Kelsey Reed fed the ball to sophomore Katie Guenin, who then took the ball down the right wing and crossed to fellow sophomore Margaret Child, who finished.
Guenin has been sidelined since the opening game of league play when she suffered a broken collar bone and her return provided a spark for the Bears.
In the second half, freshman Josephine Cotto earned her team-leading seventh goal of the year when she netted a hard left-footed shot from the middle to put M-A up 3-0. For the game, the Bears out-shot the Cougars by, 18-4. M-A has tough matches next week against Aragon and Carlmont while continuing its push for a playoff berth.
In the SCVAL El Camino Division, Gunn (5-4, 8-6-1) dropped a 2-0 decision to visiting Milpitas.
Despite battling to a scoreless draw with host Santa Clara on Thursday, Palo Alto moved back into first place in the SCVAL De Anza Division race. The Vikings moved to 7-1-1 in league (11-2-3 overall), good for 22 points and a one-point lead over idle Homestead (7-2).
Conditions were difficult on a very windy day with gusts up to 25 mph. Both teams had a difficult time controlling the ball with the wind from the back and an even more difficult task moving the ball up field against the wind on a pretty bumpy grass field .
Paly had several opportunities on crosses and two shots from inside the box. A nice direct kick by Wesley Woo in the final 10 minutes appeared destined for the upper right corner. However, an acrobatic, diving save by the Santa Clara keeper deflected the ball just outside the upper corner.
In the SCVAL El Camino Division, Gunn remained in first place with a 4-0 victory over host Milpitas. The Titans improved to 8-0-1 in league (11-4-2 overall) with four different players scoring goals. Luis Jauregui got the eventual game-winner with assist from Dmitriy Timokhin, who added the second goal on an assist from Cristobal Gonzalez. Seena Huang made it 3-0 on an assist by Aditya Ganapathi and Guy Kasznik wrapped things up following an assist from Huang.
If there was any question to how good Gunn is this season, it might have been answered in a 71-62 nonleague victory over host Pinewood on Thursday night.
The Titans (14-2), who are co-leaders in the SCVAL El Camino Division, tallied 24 points in the second and fourth quarters to topple the No. 2 team in the West Bay Athletic League and a legitimate CCS Division IV title contender.
Gunn rallied from a 19-11 first-quarter deficit behind the solid play of Alex Gil-Fernandez, Jonathan Davis and brothers Jeffrey and David Lee-Heidenreich. Davis led all scorers with 18 points, Gil-Fernandez contributed 17 while the brothers combined for 25. Chris Russell finished with nine points to highlight arguably Gunn's best performance this season.
Ryan Brice led Pinewood (14-5) with 15 points with Jordan Riches adding 13 and Nathan Beak 12.
Castilleja played without senior standout Yasmeen Afifi and dropped a 62-38 decision to host Notre Dame-San Jose in WBAL Foothill Division action. The Gators (1-7, 9-11) trailed by only three after one period but fell behind by 35-21 at the half. A three-point third quarter by Castilleja put victory out of reach.
In the WBAL Skyline Division, host Priory played without standout freshman Tatiana Reese (injured) and suffered a 56-18 loss. The Panthers fell to 1-7 in league (6-7 overall).
Still recovering from injury and illness, Gunn was forced to forfeit five of the 14 weight divisions and dropped a 49-6 wrestling match to host Monta Vista to conclude the SCVAL De Anza Division regular season on Thursday in Cupertino.
Monta Vista had a strong lineup and is currently in first place in division at 5-0. The 145-pound division featured Gunn's No. 1-ranked Ian Cramer versus Monta Vista's No. 2-ranked Max McCann and provided a nice highlight for the Titan squad as Cramer prevailed, 12-5. Cramer is now 23-1 with 19 pins. Gunn junior Tanner Kerrins (140) also turned in a great bout, coming from behind to win 8-6.
The Palo Alto at Wilcox and Menlo-Atherton at Mills matches were not reported.