With standout Jacey Pederson participating in a U.S. Soccer U-19 camp in Florida, the Palo Alto girls faced a tough test of three soccer matches during the week without their senior leader.
The Vikings, however, passed that test with three triumphs. The last one came Friday as Paly scored five goals in the first 30 minutes and cruised to a 5-0 victory over visiting Homestead in SCVAL De Anza Division action.
Nika Woodfill tallied two goals for the Vikings (7-0-1, 12-0-1) to help her team stay tied for first place with Mountain View. Woodfill scored five goals with one assist in two wins over the Mustangs (2-6, 6-8) this season.
Emily Tomz got the winning goal off an assist from Woodfill. Talia Malchin followed with an unassisted goal, Woodfill scored with Malchin assisting before Ansley Queen assisted on another goal by Woodfill. Alison Lu finished the scoring with the assist coming from Queen. Paly now has outscored the opposition this season by 45-2.
In the SCVAL El Camino Division, Gunn took over sole possession of first place with a 1-0 victory over previous leader Fremont in Sunnyvale. The Titans improved to 6-2 in league and 8-5 overall and now have a half-game lead over the Firebirds after stretching their win streak to five matches.
After battling to a scoreless first half, the Titans scored in the 65th minute on a beautiful cross from freshman center midfielder Hailey Leclerc to junior forward Lucy Augustine, who first-timed the ball out of the air with her chest past the Fremont keeper. Fremont pushed hard to get back into the game, but ultimately was unable to find the equalizer as Gunn's division-leading defense prevented Fremont from scoring.
In the West Bay Athletic League (Foothill Division), sophomore Mia Shenk scored six goals and added one assist as Sacred Heart Prep rolled to an 8-1 victory over host Harker.
The Gators (5-0-1, 9-4-1) essentially remained tied with idle Menlo School (4-0-1). The local rivals will meet Thursday in a battle for first place.
After Brooke Whitcomb scored off an assist from Ingrid Corrigan in the third minute, Shenk got the winning goal in the seventh minute with Cameron Gordon assisting. The same duo teamed again in the 10th minute. Shenk then scored two more goals in the next five minutes before Whitcomb got her second goal in the 25th minute. Shenk scored twice more in the second half.
SHP once again played without senior standout Tierna Davidson, who was injured in the first match with Menlo and has been sidelined for the past three matches.
Palo Alto rallied from a two-goal deficit in the first half to tie host Homestead, 2-2, in a showdown between the top two teams in the SCVAL De Anza Division.
The tie was Paly's second of the week, but the Vikings remained in first place at 6-0-2 (20 points) and 12-0-3 while the Mustangs are 3-1-4 (13 points) in league.
This was wild game that was closely played with neither team having many chances until the 33-minute when Homestead's right midfielder hit a long cross to an unmarked Homestead forward that brought it down quickly and hit a perfect shot into the right-hand corner.
Homestead's second goal took place minutes later when a ball rattle around in the box and a Paly defender trying to clear it away from a Homestead forward turned it into the goal. Paly had a few chances against a strong south wind but looked forward to halftime to regroup.
Paly came out strong in the second half when senior Reuben Kramer, coming back from a season-long injury, helped set up the offensive push. The Vikings' first goal came just minutes after the half when Cameron Huard mad a long cross to the awaiting Michel-Ange Siaba. Paly continued the pressure when Kramer moved past a few Homestead defenders and found senior Allesandro Reale, who put a nice move and then slammed a shot past the Homestead keeper.
Unfortunately for Paly, Reale was hurt on the play and the delay took some of the pressure off Homestead. The very competitive and intense game continued with the Mustangs having one shot on goal in the second half but several threatening situations. Paly, meanwhile, had several chances in including a 1 on 1 with the Homestead keeper in the final 10 minutes that was blocked away.
In the WBAL, Menlo School hosted first-place King's Academy and dropped a 2-1 decision. Menlo remains in second place, tied with Sacred Heart Prep with 4-2-1 records. Those teams will meet Wednesday at SHP. The two sit six points behind TKA (6-0-1).
Menlo (8-4-1 overall) trailed 1-0 at the half after King's scored in the fifth minute and had several other chances. Menlo responded well in the second half with increased energy, but King's Academy scored a second on the counter in the 55th. Menlo got on the board when senior striker Will Chisholm pulled one back in the 60th on a pass from Daniel Hausen.
In San Jose, Sacred Heart Prep moved back into a tie for second place following a 2-1 victory over host Harker. The Gators (4-2-1, 7-5-3) grabbed a 1-0 lead when Sasha Novitsky scored off an assist from Juan Rascon. Harker tied the match in the first half before Rascon got the game-winner after intermission on an assist from Trevor Peay.
In the PAL Bay Division, first-place Menlo-Atherton suffered a 2-0 upset loss to host Half Moon Bay, but the Bears didn't lose any ground despite falling to 6-2 in league (18 points) and 10-3 overall. Second-place Sequoia (5-2-1) was held to a 3-3 deadlock by Hillsdale and now shares that position with Aragon (5-2-1). The Cherokees and Dons both have 16 points.