Varsity Girls Soccer

Monta Vista 2, Palo Alto 1

Date of competition: Saturday, February 28, 2009

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The seniors on this season's Palo Alto girls' soccer team have a lot to be proud of while leaving their names in the program's history book after reaching the Central Coast Section Division I championship match. That group, however, wanted just one more victory.

It was a victory that didn't come, however, as No. 6-seeded Palo Alto fell to No. 1 Monta Vista in the section finals on Saturday at Valley Christian in San Jose. The Vikings finished 12-8-4 while the Matadors walked off the field 17-3-3 and with that coveted CCS first-place trophy.

Despite not winning the SCVAL De Anza Division title, Palo Alto caught fire late in the season and carried momentum into the postseason -- reaching a CCS finale for the first time in 20 years. Trying to capture their first CCS crown in 29 years (Paly shared the title in 1982), however, came up short.

"Nobody expected this group of girls to be here," said Paly coach Ernesto Cruz. "I'm very proud of them. You have to fight until the end, and we did. I'm very pleased."

Cruz wasn't real pleased with his team's performance in the first half, which saw Monta Vista dominate early and grab a 1-0 lead before halftime.

"We didn't play our game in the first half," he said. "We did have the same, consistent pace. We weren't connecting with our midfielders. Maybe we were a little intimidated."

The Vikings played better in the second half, despite giving up a second header goal in the 53rd minute. Moments later, it appeared the Matadors had scored again, but it was waived off due to an offsides call. Trailing by 2-0 instead of three goals, Palo Alto still had hope with nearly 20 minutes remaining. Junior Kelly Jenks finally broke through the Matadors' defense in the 65th minute when she took a high bouncing ball, from senior Sammi Bengston, that had cleared a Monta Vista defender and fired it in for a 2-1 match.

The Vikings had a few more good chances, including a nice run by senior Jessie Duller with 7:50 left. Her shot, however, went wide. With 5:40 to play, Duller's corner kick was too strong the the Vikings couldn't connect. Paly sent a flurry of shots at the Monta Vista keeper in the final moments, but just couldn't get a solid foot or good angle before the final whistle.

CCS Division II championship
At Valley Christian, San Jose
Palo Alto 0 1 -- 1
Monta Vista 1 1 -- 2
Paly -- Jenks (Bengston).
MVista -- Ley (Rovetta), Daley (Root).
Records: Palo Alto finishes season 12-8-4; Monta Vista 17-3-3

posted by Palo Alto Online on Feb 28, 2009 at 11:45 am

Comments: 0

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