The Menlo-Atherton boys soccer team rallied with two minutes left in the game against visiting Woodside, but it wasn't enough for the win as the rivals ended in a 2-2 tie in a PAL Bay Division showdown on Wednesday.
The Bears went to 4-1-2 in league while the Wildcats moved to 5-0-2 (8-1-4). Woodside now has 17 points and remains in first place in the division while M-A remained in second with 14 points as the first half of league play ended.
"I definitely think a few more minutes and we would've been able to punch a game-winner in," said Bears' head coach Jacob Pickard. "I think a draw is certainly a fair result for both teams having good spells and bad spells."
The Bears (7-2-2 overall) started off on a strong note when sophomore Jorge Lopez scored a goal on a penalty kick 24 seconds into the game after senior Elvis Abarca was fouled in the box. Lopez wound up scoring both of Menlo-Atherton's goals.
"It's not a game about one person," said Lopez. "I just tried to do my best -- I got a lot of help from my team."
Menlo-Atherton lost Abarca for the game, and likely the season, when he was helped off the field in the first half due to a torn ACL.
In the second half, Woodside junior Eduardo Guerrero made a head shot goal with an assist from senior Salvador Herrera, tying the game at 1-1.
Seven minutes after the Wildcats' first goal, Herrera came through again for Woodside and scored on a penalty kick giving Woodside the 2-1 lead.
With 2:00 to go in the game, Woodside senior Kevin Amaya was charged with a tripping penalty on Lopez. The M-A sophomore was given a direct kick from about 25 yards out and nailed it into the upper right corner to tie the game at 2.
"He comes up when we need him," Pickard said of Lopez, who has scored eight goals in the past four matches. "It was really nice to have a person step up in place of Elvis (Abarca), who unfortunately tore his ACL. I'm glad the boys were able to get some sort of result for him."
In the SCVAL De Anza Division, Palo Alto saw its offensive struggles continue as the Vikings opened the second half of league play with a 1-1 deadlock with visiting Los Altos.
Palo Alto (1-3-3, 5-6-4) was in control for the first 20 minutes until Los Altos took a ball down the end line and made a nice cross that was nailed into the lower left corner for a 1-0 lead. Los Altos then picked up its game and had several more chances until Paly's Ed Chen beat Los Altos' left back and curved a cross the Sid Srinivasan, who then headed it up into the upper corner to deadlock the match. The rest of the half was well- played by Paly.
The second half went back and forth with both teams having chances. Los Altos continued to apply the pressure. Thanks to Paly keeper Tony Maharaj, no more scores took place. Los Altos hit the crossbar on a corner kick and the left post on a defensive miscue.
Palo Alto was in fifth place going into this game, one point behind fourth-place Los Altos.
In the West Bay Athletic League, Sacred Heart Prep got three goals in the first half and remained atop the league standings with a 4-2 victory over visiting King's Academy.
Isaac Polkinhorne, Cam Chapman and Will Mishra provided the goals before intermission with assists coming from Ricky Grau, Polkinhorne and Frankie Hattler as the Gators (7-0, 8-4-1) grabbed a 3-1 lead. The Knights closed to within 3-2 with a goal to open the second half before senior Andrew Segre scored off an assist from Polkinhorne to wrap things up.
In Portola Valley, Menlo School got a late goal from sophomore midfielder Matt Joss and made it stand up for a 1-0 WBAL victory over host Priory. The Knights improved to 5-1-1 in league and 7-3-3 overall, remaining in second place behind Sacred Heart Prep.
Menlo was under pressure from the opening whistle as Priory had a few early chances. A Panthers striker picked up the ball about 25 yards out and beat his defender before curling a shot off the Menlo post. A few minutes later, Priory struck a dipping free kick from 25 yards out but junior goalie Alex Moore was up to the task, punching the ball away strongly with both hands.
Menlo reacted well and controlled the rest of the half, creating a few good chances in the process. Junior forward Jackson Wagner had a strong header from 12 yards out after some good combination play with sophomore defender Andrew Arnold that the Priory goalie did well to save. A few minutes later some clever passing and movement in midfield led to sophomore striker Tyler McGraw getting open in the box for a shot but again the Panthers' goalie was up to the task.
The second half continued in the same vein with both teams creating chances in what was an entertaining, hard-fought and well-officiated game.
The Knights' perseverance ultimately paid off in the dying minutes. With Menlo pushing hard for a winner the ball fell outside the box to sophomore midfielder Keaton Shiveley, playing in his first game back after a three-week layoff due to injury. Shiveley served a dangerous ball into the box and Joss was first to react, rising high to head the ball into the side netting. The Knights saw out the remaining few minutes to claim the crucial victory.
In the SCVAL El Camino Division, Gunn (1-5-1, 4-8-2) dropped a 4-2 decision to host Homestead (6-0-1, 10-4-1).
Alex Gil-Fernandez scored a season-high 24 points and Chris Russell added 19, but host Gunn still came up short in a 59-57 loss to Monta Vista in SCVAL El Camino Division action Wednesday night.
The Titans fell to 2-4 in league (10-7 overall) after failing to hold on to a 13-point lead. The Matadors got the winning basket with just four seconds to play. Russell finished with a career-high 17 rebounds. His 3-pointer gave Gunn its biggest lead at 50-37. A follow shot off his own miss by Gil-Fernandez tied the game at 57.
In the SCVAL De Anza Division, Palo Alto got 21 points from junior Kevin Mullin and 17 from senior Noah Phillips in a 63-49 victory over visiting Homestead. The Vikings (4-2, 9-8) pulled away from a 11-11 first quarter by outscoring the Mustangs, 18-7, in the second period.
Keesean Johnson added nine points, 10 rebounds and four steals for Paly with Phillips contributing seven rebounds and five assists.
In the PAL South Division, visiting Menlo-Atherton dropped a 51-37 decision to Aragon as the Bears fell to 4-3 in league (11-7 overall). Oliver Bucka was the only M-A player in double figures with 16 points. The Bears shot only four free throws, making one.
Menlo-Atherton raced to an early lead on the way to a 61-42 victory over visiting Aragon in PAL South Division action Wednesday. The Bears (5-2, 13-6) started fast and led the entire game. Six girls scored in the first quarter to open a 21-6 lead during an evening that saw all nine of the M-A players on the scoreboard.
The Bears were led by senior Captain Emma Heath, who had 18 points -- including 10 for 10 from the free-throw line. M-A freshman Ofa Sili added 11 points.
Gunn raced to a big first-half lead and rolled to a 4-1 triumph over visiting Fremont in SCVAL El Camino Division action on Wednesday night.
The Titans (4-2-1, 7-3-2) grabbed an early lead when Natalie Perreault scored off an assist from Ming-Ming Liu. Lauren Johnston then provided the eventual winning goal with Megan Kuhnle assisting. Caroline Anderson assisted on Robin Waymouth's goal for a 3-0 lead before Perreault got her second goal with Anderson getting her second assist.
In the SCVAL De Anza Division, Palo Alto failed to gain ground in the race following a scoreless deadlock with host Los Altos. The teams also tied in their first meeting.
Los Altos came out strong and had the advantage for most of the half, playing very aggressive, but four offside calls kept them at bay. The Eagles best chance came off a corner kick, but Palo Alto keeper Dhara Yu made the save.
In the second half, it was Paly (3-1-3, 6-3-4) that came out strong and had advantage most of the half. At 11 minutes in, off a free kick, Jacey Pederson headed it on-frame but the Los Altos goalie reeled it in. Minutes later, Katie Foug placed a corner kick at Julia Kwasnick, but the LA keeper came out to intercept just in time. Both teams had several chances in the remaining minutes but neither team could score.
(Menlo School Athletics contributed)