The Menlo-Atherton girls took a very big step toward solidifying a berth into the Central Coast Section soccer playoffs by handing long-time nemesis Carlmont a 3-2 loss on Tuesday in Atherton.
The victory moved the Bears to 6-2-1 in the PAL Bay Division and 8-4-1 overall and into a tie for second place with the Scots (6-2-1, 7-6-2) with five matches remaining, including one at home against first-place Woodside (9-0 (11-0-1) to close the regular season on Feb. 18.
Menlo-Atherton avenged an earlier loss to Carlmont by pulling away in the second half following a 1-1 deadlock at intermission.
Senior Sarah McLeod provided the first-half goal following a cross from junior Katie Guenin. It was Guenin who gave the Bears the lead early in the second half. She took a long-ball pass from sophomore Josephine Cotto, dribbled up the field and scored.
After a foul of McLeod, she rebounded on a beautiful direct kick to put the Bears on top by 3-1. An unfortunate hand ball in the box resulted in a penalty kick for the Scots, but M-A held on. Senior Molly Briggs, juniors Alissa McNerneyn Nicole Salz and Margaret Child plus senior defender Kasey Love, junior defender defenders Allison Galbraith and Ally Sivilotti plus sophomore Grace Brieger helped keeper Breanna Sandoval preserve the victory.
In the West Bay Athletic League (Foothill Division), co-leaders Sacred Heart Prep and Menlo School set up their Thursday showdown for the league title with close victories.
In Sunnyvale, Sacred Heart Prep got a goal from Cameron Gordon in the sixth minute (assisted by Ingrid Corrigan) and again in the 81st minute (assisted by Lindsey Johnson) to escape with a 2-1 triumph over King's Academy. The Gators improved to 6-0-1 in league (10-4-1 overall).
At Watson Park in San Jose, Menlo School got unassisted goals from Cleo King and Julia Wang in the first half as the Knights held on for a 2-1 win over Notre Dame-San Jose. Menlo improved to 5-0-1 in league (7-2-4 overall) and will host SHP on Thursday at 2:45 p.m.
In San Jose, Castilleja moved into third place in the WBAL Foothill Division race following a 4-0 victory over host Harker. Grace Fenwick, Kate Sands, Ella Nudell and Julia Lodoen scored goals for the Gators (3-3-1, 4-7-3).
In the WBAL Skyline Division, junior Zarin Mohsenin scored two goals and Amrita Mecker tallied once with two assists to carry Pinewood to a 5-1 victory over Mercy-San Francisco at Crocker/Amazon Park in San Francisco. The Panthers (4-2, 8-6-1) fielded only 10 players to start the match, but grabbed a 4-0 halftime lead.
Just before intermission, Pinewood lost a player to injury and had to finish the match with just nine players. Sophomore Nicole Saltzman and senior Laine Corfield provided the other goals.