The Palo Alto boys and girls are off to a near-perfect start to the 2015-16 soccer season with the teams combining for 16 victories and just one tie following another pair of victories on Wednesday.
The Paly girls scored six times in the first half on the way to an 8-0 romp over visiting Milpitas as senior Alison Lu scored three goals and assisted once. The Vikings improved to 3-0 in the SCVAL De Anza Division (8-0 overall) heading into Friday's showdown at co-leader Mountain View at 3:30 p.m.
The game is a rematch of last season's Central Coast Section Division I title match that was won by the Spartans, 3-2.
Palo Alto will bring a high-scoring offense into the match, one that has outscored the opposition by 34-2 this season. In addition to Lu's standout effort against last-place Milpitas, Paly got single goals from Ansley Queen, Tess Preising, Claire Moley, Jacey Pederson and Emily Tomz. Queen got the winner, off an assist from Preising.
The Paly boys, meanwhile, remained in sole possession of first place in the SCVAL De Anza Division following a 3-1 win over host Gunn in a night match. The Vikings moved to 3-0 in league (8-0-1 overall), the lone tie coming in the championship match of the Oak Grove Tournament that Paly won in penalty kicks.
Against the Titans, senior Dami Bolarinwa got Paly on board first after he picked up a deflection off a shot by junior Jack Stoksik that had hit the post.
In the second half, junior Michel-Ange Siaba took a pass from Stoksik and placed it past a diving Gunn keeper. Momentum then swung in Gunn's favor after a Paly defender and Gunn forward got tangled up just outside the penalty box. The referee gave Gunn a direct kick and the Paly player a red card. Jacob Steinman took the direct kick for Gunn and placed a nice cross to Aymon Klem, who headed it past Paly keeper Eli Friedlander.
With Paly a man down, Gunn temporarily grabbed the momentum and pushed hard for the equalizer. Paly regrouped and took the attack to the Titans once again. Max Hallberg took a shot by Bolarinwa that was deflected and found the back of the net for a 3-1 lead.
Paly had a number of other scoring opportunities, including one after Siddharth Srinivasan was taken down in the box. Another Paly player took the PK, which was blocked by Gunn keeper Dennis Vachenko.
"This was a good, overall effort and we played much better, and with more intensity, in the second half," said Paly coach Don Briggs.
In the West Bay Athletic League, the Menlo School boys charged into the second half and rolled past visiting Harker, 3-0.
The Knights (1-1-1, 5-3-1) broke a 0-0 halftime tie when senior striker Will Chisholm took a feed from junior Daniel Hausen six minutes into the second half to give the Knights all the scoring they would need. Chisholm scored his second goal six minutes later on a beautiful pass from the left side from Will Bleicher.
Sophomore Dylan Williams posted his third goal of the week when he sent a pass from Chisholm into the net with 19 minutes left in the game. Williams scored twice against Terra Nova on Monday. Menlo got outstanding performances from junior goalie Nolan Peterson, senior defenders Michael Quezada and Tyler McGraw and senior midfielder Matt Joss, who helped Menlo to the shutout.
Also in Atherton, the Sacred Heart Prep boys remained in the thick of the WBAL race following a 1-0 victory over visiting Eastside Prep. The Gators (1-1-1, 4-4-3) to the winning goal in the first half from Josh Lin, following an assist from Connor Johnston.
In the PAL Bay Division, the Menlo-Atherton boys remained tied atop the standings following a 3-1 victory over host Sequoia. The Bears (3-0, 7-1) grabbed a 1-0 halftime lead on a goal by Ethan Oro, with Kyle Smith assisting. Smith made it 2-0 on an assist from Quinn Rowland before Jean Claverie tallied M-A's final goal with Oro assisting. The victory was the sixth straight for the Bears.
In other girls' soccer action, Gunn fell further back in the SCVAL El Camino Division soccer race following a 1-0 loss to host Lynbrook on Wednesday. The Titans dropped to 1-2 in league (3-5 overall).
The Priory at King's Academy match was not reported.