Sports

SHP seniors go out in style with their first WBAL soccer title

 

It was Senior Day for the Sacred Heart Prep girls soccer team and its four eldest players went out in style in the final regular-season home match of the campaign.

While there were the requisite photos by their parents and flowers from the coaches, those were just a lead up to the real celebration as the seniors won their first West Bay Athletic League (Foothill Division) crown.

SHP ended rival Menlo School's three-year run as division champion with a 4-1 victory over the visiting Knights on Tuesday. Sacred Heart Prep (9-0, 15-2-1) needed only a tie to win its first division crown since 2011, which capped a three-run title run by the Gators.

"This was one of our goals at the beginning of the season," said SHP coach Ramiro Arredondo. "We wanted to win league and then see how far we could go in CCS."

The Gators also want to finish unbeaten for the first time ever in league, which can be achieved by beating host Notre Dame-San Jose on Thursday.

"This is the way want to send off our seniors," Arredondo said.

SHP appropriately celebrated Senior Day as its four seniors -- Mamie Caruso, Nicola Wheeler, Brigid White and Emma Markey -- had never won a division title. White made it a double celebration by scoring the Gators' third goal.

After SHP sophomore Olivia Athens had a goal waived off by an offsides call, the Gators took a 1-0 lead when junior Tierna Davidson sent a cross to freshman Mia Shenk that was deflected by a Menlo defender past keeper Schuyler Tilney-Volk for an own goal.

SHP sophomore Lindsay Johnson made it 2-0 with under 11 minutes remaining before halftime when Tilney-Volk came too far out of the cage, allowing Johnson to side-step her and roll a shot some 35 yards into an open net.

Menlo senior Leah Swig kept the Knights (6-2-1, 9-4-4) in the match by scoring with under eight minutes left before intermission on an assist from Emily Demmon.

That goal charged up Menlo, which came out in the second half with renewed aggression and purpose. White ruined the Knights' hopes, however, when she took a pass from Davidson and fired a shot at Tilney-Volk, who made a diving stop but wound up having the ball just inside the goal line.

Holding a 3-1 lead, SHP kept up its attack, with Shenk tallying a goal with under 11 minutes to play off Davidson's second assist.

Davidson was a standout in the midfield as she directed the offense and provided numerous scoring opportunities for her teammates. She missed a match last week while attending a US Soccer U-18 national team training camp in Chula Vista.

The Gators now lead in the series, 5-4-7, since the teams began playing in the WBAL in 2009. This was the first time in seven years that SHP swept Menlo in their two regular-season matches.

Sacred Heart Prep will be in line for a possible No. 1 seed in the CCS Division III playoffs while Menlo School also should be playing in the postseason. The neighborhood rivals met in the section finals last season and battled to a 1-1 stalemate.

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