Varsity Boys Soccer

Palo Alto 1, Los Gatos 0

Date of competition: Wednesday, January 28, 2009

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The Palo Alto boys’ soccer team moved to within one victory of clinching the SCVAL De Anza Division championship by holding off two-time defending champ Los Gatos, 1-0, on Wednesday on the Vikings’ field. Palo Alto improved to 8-0-1 in league (16-1-2 overall) for 25 points while the second-place Wildcats fell to 5-3 in league (15 points).
The Vikings have the luxury of a 10-point lead with three matches remaining, while Los Gatos has four still to play. Should Los Gatos win all four, it will finish with 27 points. One more win by the Vikings will give them 28 points.
“I told the guys that if we get past these guys we’re in good shape,” said Paly coach Don Briggs. Well, the Vikings are in good shape with arguably the best start in school history.
Paly got the only goal it needed in the first half when Paly’s Adam Zernik sent a corner kick into a crowd of players. Fellow senior Kevin Ashworth raced into the middle and headed the ball into the net.
Paly came out strong and had five near scores, but unfortunately squandered the opportunities until Ashworth finally scored. The second half was more evenly played as Los Gatos turned up the pressure. Both teams had a few close scoring opportunities, but again both defenses played tough.
Paly senior keeper Peter Johnson had another nice game directing the defense. He has given up one goal in league play. His best save came late in the game where he had to go high to pull down a shot headed for the corner of the cage. John Christopherson, Ryan Holland, Mark Raftrey and Riley Smith were the key defensive players in the back for Paly. Smith had a couple of key steals when Los Gatos appeared to have numbers up in the Vikings’ third of the field late in the contest.
Next up for Palo Alto will be a road game at Santa Clara on Friday. The Bruins held Paly to a scoreless deadlock in their previous meeting.

SCVAL De Anza Division
Los Gatos 0 0 -- 0
Palo Alto 1 0 -- 1
PA – Ashworth (Zernik).
Records: Los Gatos 5-3 league; Palo Alto 8-0-1 (16-1-2)

posted by Palo Alto Online on Jan 28, 2009 at 8:52 pm

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posted by Keith Peters on Jan 29, 2009 at 5:18 pm

Palo Alto senior Eric Stewart (white) battles a Los Gatos defender for possession during first-half action Wednesday. Paly posted a 1-0 victory while moving closer to the SCVAL DeAnza Division title. Photo by Keith Peters/Palo Alto Online.

Palo Alto's Kevin Ashworth (fourth from left) is congratulated by Mark Raftrey (12) and his teammates after scoring the game's only goal on Wednesday. Photo by Keith Peters/Palo Alto Online.

Palo Alto junior Ryan Holland (left) breaks up a Los Gatos offensive attack during the Vikings' 1-0 SCVAL De Anza Division victory on Wednesday. Photo by Keith Peters/Palo Alto Online.

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