Sports

A second tie leaves Menlo, SHP girls still fighting for first

 

Although the Menlo School and Sacred Heart Prep girls soccer teams have combined for10 goals in over 180 minutes of heated action against each other in 2016, there remains no separation between the neighboring rivals on the scoreboard.

For the second time this season the Gators and Knights played to a draw, finishing Thursday afternoon's match at Menlo in a 2-2 tie.

Sacred Heart (6-0-2, 10-4-2) remains a half-game above Menlo (5-0-2, 7-2-5) in the WBAL Foothill Division standings, with three league games left for the Knights and two league game left for the Gators.

The Gators played their fifth game without Stanford-bound senior midfielder Tienra Davidson, but still managed to overcome two one-goal deficits in the second-half without their injured captain on the field. Davidson was sidelined following the teams' previous meeting.

Senior Carey Bradley had her foot in both Sacred Heart goals, scoring the Gators' first goal on a free kick just outside the box and assisting on the game-tying goal with 10 minutes remaining.

"We were definitely fired up after we tied against Menlo on our home field," Bradley said. "It would have been great to win but I'm satisfied with a tie."

Junior Cleo King provided the same type of contribution for the Knights, scoring Menlo's first goal at the end of the first half, and assisting on its second goal midway through the second.

"This has been the game in the back of our minds as we've been training and I'm really impressed with how we played," King said. "They have a lot of great players, so we were really excited to play as well as we did and come away with a tie."

Both teams appeared tentative at the start of the contest, as the ball hovered around midfield for much of the first half.

Menlo began to maintain possession of the ball as the half wore on, and finally broke through with under two minutes remaining.

Junior forward Eliza Crowder started the scoring play by avoiding two Gators defenders down the left sideline, and struck a beautiful cross into the box where Julia Wang set up King for the game's first goal.

Moments later, it appeared as if Sacred Heart would answer right back, as the Gators were awarded a penalty kick after Mia Shenk was pushed down in the box. But, Menlo goalkeeper Schuyler Tilney-Volk used her length to make a sprawling save on Cameron Gordon's kick, and the Knights remained up one goal at the half.

"I told the girls we've been here before," Gators head coach Ramiro Arredondo said of the message to his team. "We were down 2-0 at home (against Menlo) and we were able to come back."

After another shot by Gordon was denied by Tilney-Volk early in the second half, the junior was fouled just outside the penalty box to give her team another scoring chance with 28 minutes remaining.

Bradley took the free kick and struck the ball hard, placing it perfectly into the upper left corner of the goal to tie the game.

"Carey's got a great shot and we're always telling her to shoot it," Arredondo said. "For us I would say definitely our best goal of the season."

"I tried to aim low because (Tilney-Volk) is a really tall person, but obviously it still went high," Bradley added. "It hit right in the corner, and it was kind of just a blur after that."

Menlo answered with 13 minutes remaining, as King found Emily Demmon on a counter-attack, and the junior forward's strike once again gave the Knights a one-goal lead.

The lead would not last long, as the Gators responded three minutes later. Bradley took a free kick just short of midfield and struck it into the box. The ball landed near sophomore Wiebke Frauke, who chipped the ball high into the air for the game-tying goal.

Neither team truly threatened to score again in the final minutes of the match, ending the game and the season series in a tie. The top two teams in the division automatically qualify for the CCS playoffs.

In other WBAL Foothill Division action, Castilleja (3-4-1, 4-8-3) dropped a 1-0 decision to visiting King's Academy.

In the WBAL Skyline Division, Pinewood saw its title hopes disappear in a 4-0 loss to host Crystal Springs. The Panthers fell to 4-3 (8-7-1 overall) while Crystal Springs and Mercy-Burlingame have only one loss each with three matches remaining.

In the PAL Bay Division, Menlo-Atherton played to a 3-3 stalemate with visiting Burlingame but didn't lose any ground as Carlmont and Hillsdale also played to a tie. The Bears (6-2-2 and 8-4-2 overall) and Scots (6-2-2) remained tied for second place behind unbeaten Woodside.

Menlo-Atherton spent most of the first half on defense with sophomore goalkeeper Breanna Sandoval deflecting several corners and shots on goal with the help of strong defense by Kasey Love (senior), juniors Allison Galbraith and Ally Sivilotti and sophomore Grace Brieger.

The Bears turned it on in the second half after junior Katie Guenin broke away and tore up the field to pass to junior Josephine Cotto, who crossed to senior Talia Missan for the goal. Cotto returned the favor, sending the ball to junior Margaret Child for the assist to Guenin, who scored the second goal, tying the score at 2.

A corner kick by the Panthers was converted into a goal late in the second half, but the Bears kept pressing. With a minute to go, Guenin drilled a cross from the deep right field to Cotto, who headed it into the net for a thrilling tie.

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