After 10 soccer matches in the West Bay Athletic League (Foothill Division) by the Menlo School and Sacred Heart Prep girls, nothing separates the local rivals.
Both teams finished 8-0-2 in league and as co-champions after the Knights routed visiting Harker, 6-0, and the Gators topped Castilleja, 4-1, in regular-season finales on Thursday.
Menlo and SHP played each other twice, tying both times -- 3-3 and 2-2 -- thus finishing with identical head-to-head scores. Both teams also gave up the same amount of goals during league (eight).
Thus, when it comes to the Central Coast Section playoffs, the squads will go in dead even -- making the selection process all the more difficult.
"Both teams seem to step up to the challenge and play at a high level when we face each other," said SHP coach Ramiro Arredondo. "If all goes well for both teams, it would be fun to play each other in the final of CCS."
While there is a new Open Division for soccer this season, it's likely both Menlo (10-2-5 overall) and SHP (12-5-2) will be seeded in Division II. One projection has the rivals facing each other in the quarterfinals. If so, that might not be good news for the Gators.
"We are getting all our player healthy, slowly but surely," said Arredondo, whose team has been battling injuries all season long. "Tierna (Davidson) is still a couple weeks away, so not sure if we will have her back for CCS."
The Stanford-bound Davidson has missed the past eight matches after suffering a leg injury in the first meeting with Menlo. The Gators went 6-0-2 during that time, including Thursday's win over Castilleja.
Carey Bradley scored an unassisted goal in the 26th minute and Mia Shenk got the game-winner four minutes later, with Bradley assisting. In the second half, Ingrid Corrigan scored in the 70th minute with Shenk assisting before Shenk scored a minute later, assisted by Corrigan.
Menlo also has been dealing with injuries, recently losing Cleo King. Top defender Claire McFarland, meanwhile, is preparing to return after being sidelined.
"It's been a weird season for both teams," Menlo assistant Jorge Chen said of the Knights and Gators. "But, we both managed to get it done."
Menlo earned a title tie with an easy victory over last-place Harker.
The Knights scored early and often "thanks to a comfortable and impressive performance with excellent passing and movement" Menlo coach Ross Ireland said.
Menlo senior Zoe Enright scored twice and added an assist as the Knights got goals from five players and assists from four.
"We had several outstanding performances, including Zoe Enright with her dynamic, energetic technical and powerful overall style, Ashley Pimlott's deceptive technical moves and set-up play, Eliza Crowder's intelligent and explosive runs up and down the wing, and Mikayla Stabile's subtle creative passing," Ireland said.
In the WBAL Skyline Division, Pinewood wrapped up its season with a 2-1 victory over host Priory. The teams were tied at halftime, 1-1, after Pinewood sophomore Nicole Saltzman scored off an assist from junior Caleigh Page only to see Priory equalize on a penalty kick after a handball from a Pinewood defender. In the second half, Pinewood got the game-winner with about eight minutes remaining when sophomore Emma Doettling scored off an assist by Page. Pinewood finished 6-4 in league and 10-8-1 overall.
In the PAL Bay Division, Menlo-Atherton held on to second place with a 5-0 victory over host Hillsdale. The Bears improved to 8-2-2 in league (26 points) and 10-4-2 overall with two matches remaining. M-A needs a tie or a victory to clinch one of the three available automatic CCS playoff berths.
Menlo-Atherton dominated against Hillsdale, scoring three goals in the first half with strong contributions from the entire team. Junior Ally Sivilotti sent a direct kick to senior Sarah McLeod in the early first half, followed by a score by senior Julia Moreton off a great assist from senior Zoe Ford. Junior Katie Guenin made the third goal off an assist from sophomore Josephine Cotto.
Consistent defense by Sivilotti, junior Allison Galbraith, sophomore Grace Brieger, and freshman Elizabeth Young, led to few shots on sophomore goalie Breanna Sandoval. Key midfield play by McLeod, juniors Alissa McNerney and Nicole Salz, senior Molly Briggs, and freshmen Yara Gomez and Olivia Shane thwarted the Knights' offensive attempts.
In the second half, senior Talia Missan scored off another assist from Cotto, with Moreton contributing the fifth goal from an assist by freshman Lauren Collinsworth.
Menlo-Atherton wrapped up the PAL South Division regular-season championship by defeating host Woodside, 53-30. The Bears concluded a 12-0 campaign (22-2 overall) while winning all their division games by 20 or more points.
The Bears successfully defended their PAL crown by jumping out to a 24-5 first-quarter lead against the last-place Wildcats (2-10, 6-14) and never looked back. Greer Hoyem scored nine first-quarter points and finished the night with 14 points and eight rebounds. Ofa Sili added eight first-quarter points and had 14 for the game including two 3-pointers The Wildcats were lead by LeAndra Quijano, who scored 10.
The Bears will be back in action on Wednesday (7 p.m.), hosting the No. 4 seed from the PAL North in the PAL Tournament.
Regular-season champ Menlo-Atherton put the finishing touches on a 12-0 season in the PAL South Division with an 82-38 romp over host Woodside.
M-A (22-2 overall) started quickly and raced to a 25-8 first- quarter lead, paced by Christian Fioretti, Lucas Fioretti and Blake Henry. The Bears extended the lead to 51-22 in their biggest first-half scoring output of the year. Lucas Fioretti hit four straight 3's in the first half for the Bears. M-A continued to push the pace in the second half and led 68-30 after three and won going away.
Christian Fioretti led the Bears with 19 points and 10 assists. Twin brother Lucas Fioretti had 18 points on six 3-pointers and added four steals and four rebounds. Fellow senior Blake Henry had 10 points and five rebounds. Bob Macdonald, Kai Winterling, Bradley Stillman and Eric Norton all had six points and Joe Tripaldi had five points in a balanced scoring effort. Norton had eight rebound and Macdonald had six boards. Gabe DeVitis led Woodside (4-8, 10-10) with 12 points.