Menlo heads into the match with a record of 0-9-2 against SHP since the teams began playing each other in the WBAL in 2009. The Gators, meanwhile, haven't lost a league match since Feb. 16, 2011 when King's Academy came up with the upset. Since 2010, SHP is a remarkable 56-1-5 in WBAL matches.
Menlo takes some momentum into the showdown following its win on Wednesday. The Knights started strongly and were ahead in the opening minutes. Sophomore Keaton Shiveley took a pass from Justin Wang and and found fellow sophomore Tyler McGraw in the middle of the box. McGraw settled the ball with his first touch and calmly slotted it into the side netting for a 1-0 lead.
In the second half, Shiveley again turned provider as he found junior forward Jackson Wagner in the front of the box for the goal. Junior goalie Alex Moore notched his third straight shutout and sixth in league.
In Hillsborough, Sacred Heart Prep maintained its hold on first place in with a 4-2 win over host Crystal Springs. The Gators, who are seeking their sixth straight league title, put up three goals in the first half to secure the win.
Junior Philip Petrakian scored the first goal with senior Frankie Hattler assisting. Senior Will Mishra and senior Andrew Segre followed with goals, Hattler assisting on Segre's. Sacred Heart Prep made it 4-0 in the second half when Hattler got his third assist as Mishra converted.
In Portola Valley, host Priory pinned a 5-0 loss on Pinewood. Priory (2-6-1, 4-8-2) got three goals from Austin Mirabella with assists from Max Reines, Ben Clock and Alex Oberman. Clock also scored on an assist from Sergio Lopez while David Casente added to the shutout with Mirabella getting an assist.
In the SCVAL De Anza Division, Palo Alto won for the first time in seven matches and woke up offensively with a 4-0 victory over visiting Saratoga.
The Vikings (2-3-4, 6-6-5) got the winning goal in the first half when Roberto Sotelo made a nice through pass to Ed Chen, who placed it into the lower left corner. The Vikings controlled the second half and scored three more goals between the 10- and 22-minute marks.
Cole Tierney scored on an assist by Preston Kuppe, Dami Bolarinwa made it 3-0 with Tierney assisting and Bolarinwa finished the scoring four minutes later off another assist from Kuppe.
In the PAL Bay Division, Menlo-Atherton pulled away from a tie at halftime and remained in the hunt for the division title with a 4-2 victory over host San Mateo.
The Bears (6-1-2, 9-2-2), who are just one point behind first-place Woodside, found themselves in a 2-2 halftime deficit despite goals from Jorge Lopez and Kyle Smith with assists from Santos Valle and Carlos Mangandi Macario. Lopez, a sophomore, added two more goals in the second half with Mario Rodriguez and Ethan Oro providing the assists. Lopez now has scored 12 goals in league play.
Sacred Heart Prep maintained its hold on second place in the WBAL Foothill Division with a closely contested 3-2 victory over host Priory on Tuesday in Portola Valley.
The match was tied at halftime after junior Nicola Wheeler scored for the Gators (7-1-1, 13-2-2) in the 19th minute off an assist from senior Meagan Terpening. Junior Christine Callinan scored the second goal in the second half with freshman Katie Harrison assisting. In the 55th minute, SHP freshman Olivia Athens tallied the winning goal, unassisted.
Sacred Heart Prep has 22 points with three matches remaining. Should the Gators win all three, they'll finish with 31 points.
First-place Menlo, meanwhile is 9-0-1 (13-3-2 overall) following a forfeit win over Pinewood on Tuesday. The Knights took 28 points into Thursday's match at Castilleja and likely will have to wait until Tuesday's match at Priory to win a third straight league title.
Castilleja, meanwhile, played to a 1-1 draw with visiting Notre Dame-San Jose on Tuesday at the Mayfield Soccer Complex. A late goal by the Regents was cancelled out by Castilleja's Victoria Pu's equalizer with two minutes remaining in the match.
In the PAL Bay Division, Menlo-Atherton kept its slim title hopes alive with a 4-0 victory over visiting Sequoia on Tuesday.
The Bears (5-2-2, 9-2-4) scored in the 10th minute when freshman forward Katie Guenin passed to to senior Marilena McCarty, who finished for a 1-0 lead. The Bears scored again in the 25th minute when junior Annie Harrier fed sophomore Miranda Simes for a 2-0 half-time lead.
In the second half, McCarty found Guenin, who scored to put M-A ahead 3-0. After a nice give-and-go series with sophomore Talia Missan, Guenin crossed the ball to the middle where it was finished by junior Amanda Wiseman for the fourth goal.
In the SCVAL El Camino Division, Gunn won its fourth straight and sixth in the past seven matches with a 2-0 victory over visiting Milpitas on Wednesday night.
The Titans (6-2-1, 9-3-2) got the eventual winning goal from Ming-Ming Liu, assisted by Caroline Anderson, in the first half. Liu made it 2-0 in the second half off an assist from Kirsten Butner.
In SCVAL De Anza Division play, Palo Alto remained among the league leaders with a 2-0 victory over host Saratoga. The Vikings improved to 5-1-3 in league (8-3-4 overall) while winning their second straight. Paly has lost only once in its past 13 matches.
The Vikings got their second shutout win over the Falcons with both goals coming in the first half. At 10 minutes in, Heidi Moeser centered a ball that Saratoga couldn't clear and Katie Foug one-touched it for a 1-0 lead.
With 11 minutes remaining in the half, Jacey Pederson stole the ball at midfield and drove down to within 18 yards before getting her shot blocked. Saratoga, however, couldn't clear the ball fast enough and Paly's Julia Kwasnick came all the way up from the back line to take control and fire in the second goal.
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