While the Vikings will face stiffer competition in the De Anza Division, both are off to a good start. The boys posted a 3-1 win over host Los Altos on Wednesday and the girls battled the Eagles to a 2-2 standoff on Tuesday.
"Los Gatos is apparently the 'team to beat' followed by Mountain View," said Paly boys' coach Don Briggs. "Fremont and Santa Clara lost several players from last year, as did we. I think we will be competitive with most teams. Our lack of age/size and experience is my concern. I think we have a good upside as these players grow for the next few years.
Palo Alto, with only three seniors, was the only winner on Wednesday as the other two matches ended in ties. Thus, the Vikings (1-0, 5-3-1) sit atop the division standings — for now.
Against Los Altos, the Eagles went on a strong offensive push early on but had one shot on goal. The game begin to turn Paly's way after about 15 minutes. The Vikings had several attempts before Dami Bolarinwa took a ball down the left flank and crossed it to Fernando Rodriguez, who quickly made a give-and-go pass to Roberto Sotelo and placed the ball into the lower left corner.
Paly kept on the attack the rest of the first half and came up with a second goal when Cina Vazir hit a 25-yard shot off the cross bar that bounced toward Rodriguez, who beat one defender then placed a nice touch shot into the upper left corner.
Los Altos came out strong and scored early into the second half. Paly's final goal came unexpectedly when midfielder Sid Srinivas placed a long arching ball over the Los Altos keeper, who was caught off his line.
The Palo Alto girls, meanwhile, also showed that they belong in the De Anza Division following their tie with visiting Los Altos, the defending CCS Division II champion.
Sophomore Heidi Moeser scored both goals for the Vikings (0-0-1, 3-2-2), the first coming just five minutes in off an assist from junior Katie Foug.
Los Altos tightened up its defense for the next 15minutes, but still did not have a shot on frame. At 23 minutes in, Paly strung together a drive that ended with sophomore Jacey Pederson taking a heel pass from Sunny Lyu and, finding herself surrounded by three defenders at the 18-yard penalty box, passing to Moeser for the easy goal.
The second half was uneventful for 15 minutes until Paly was called for a handball in the box, leading to a red card, an ejection, and a penalty kick for Los Altos that Katie Winters converted. With five minutes left and Paly playing with only 10, the Eagles' Rebecca Andrews lobbed a shot cross frame over the head of Paly's keeper that hit the far post and just bounced in to deadlock the match.
In other girls' action this week:
Gunn grabbed a 1-0 lead in the second half, but couldn't hold on and had to settle for a 1-1 deadlock with host Fremont in a SCVAL El Camino Division soccer opener on Wednesday. Caroline Anderson gave the Titans (0-0-1 (3-1-2) the lead off an assist from Kastania Dahlen before the Firebirds got the equalizer.
In Atherton, Menlo-Atherton opened its PAL Bay Division season with a 3-0 win over visiting Aragon on Tuesday. M-A dominated the first half, out-shooting the Dons by 9-0. The Bears (5-0-2) got on the scoreboard when senior Sabiha Viswanathan collected a ball from sophomore Sarah McLeod and beat a couple of defenders. McLeod followed with her own goal minutes later on an assist from freshman Katie Guenin for a 2-0 halftime lead. Guenin helped make it 3-0 when she found junior forward Annie Harrier open in front of the net to convert. The tough defense from M-A preserved the shutout victory.
Also in Atherton, senior Alex Bourdillion scored two goals as Sacred Heart Prep opened its West Bay Athletic League (Foothill Division) season with a 4-0 victory over visiting Pinewood (0-1, 1-8), which was making its first appearance in the upper division.
The Gators (1-0, 6-1-1) got the winning goal in the 22nd minute of the first half from sophomore Carey Bradley, who assisted on Bourdillion's first goal in the 48th minute. Tierna Davidson made it 3-0 in the 58th minute before Bourdillion finished things off in the 80th minute.
In nonleague action, Castilleja lost a close game to host Monta Vista in Cupertino, 2-1. The match was tied, 1-1, at the half with Castilleja's equalizer coming from sophomore Anais Sarrazin on an assist from Kathleen Mhatre. Castilleja (2-2) is still playing with a depleted roster.
Menlo-Atherton opened its PAL Bay Division with a 2-1 victory over host Carlmont on Wednesday. The Bears (1-0, 4-1) grabbed a 1-0 lead when Efrain Garcia-Lopez headed a corner kick in front of the goal and Kori Smith controlled the ball and finished. In the second half, it was Garcia-Lopez getting the goal in the 47th minute. Carlmont just missed getting a goal in the 66th minute but finally converted in the 80th minute just before the final whistle.
In Atherton, Isaac Polkinhorne had a hand in three goals and teammate Andrew Segre scored twice to pace Sacred Heart Prep to a 4-1 victory over visiting Harker in a WBAL opener on Wednesday. Polkinhorne provided the first goal and assisted on both of Segre's goals in the second half as the Gators moved to 2-4-1 overall. Segre is one of a handful of SHP players who missed the start of the season while playing on the Gators' football team that reached the CIF Division III state finals.
Just down the street from SHP, host Menlo School emerged from halftime firing with sophomore Will Chisholm scoring the first of his three second-half goals, and the Knights wrapped up a 4-0 victory over Pinewood in a WBAL opener. The Knights (3-2-2) also got a penalty kick from senior Justin Wang.
Elsewhere, Gunn (0-1, 3-4-1) dropped a 4-1 match to visiting Homestead to open SCVAL El Camino Division play.
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