Marco Tan wasted no time in giving the host Palo Alto boys soccer team a lead it would never relinquish in a nonleague match Monday, a 1-0 victory over Sequoia.
"We got the ball quick and ran up the field," Tan said of his goal in the first minute of play. "I kicked it as soon as I could."
Tan, who took a pass from Isaiah Schoenberger that set up the score, wanted to credit someone whose name sounded like "Wayne-uh" but the team was celebrating so much the name was drowned out.
You never know where your inspiration is going to come from, though thus far, the Vikings (5-1) having been trying to play together and build team chemistry at the same time. Perhaps "Wayne-uh" is the battle cry.
Palo Alto lost several key seniors from a team that finished 14-6-2 last year and outscored opponents 54-10. The Vikings allowed four goals in one game and lost five 1-0 matches. They were edged, in penalty kicks, by Menlo-Atherton in last year's first round of the CCS Division I playoffs
"We're a pretty young team but we're learning," Paly coach Don Briggs said.
Senior Kiran Misner and sophomore Jackson Drucker each played a half in goal and both were up to the task. Drucker made one difficult stop to keep it 1-0.
The play of seniors Xander Sherer and Matt Knowles made a big difference in the match, as both seemed to be at the point of attack every time and helped the Vikings maintain possession most of the match.
Palo Alto had numerous chances to lengthen its lead but a ball off the crossbar and one that went wide left by a few inches served only to frustrate the Vikings offense.
"We'll be fine," Tan said reassuringly. "We're getting better and we're working better together."
Palo Alto hosts Serra (3-0) at 3:30 p.m. Thursday.
Elsewhere, Menlo staged a late rally but dropped a 5-3 decision to visiting Overfelt in a nonleague game Monday.
The Knights (1-2-1) found themselves down, 4-0, early in the second half. Menlo scored the next three goals to inch within 4-3 with 10 minutes remaining to play.
Jonny Ebrahmian scored his first goal of the season in the 54th minute, getting a pass from senior Marc-Velten Lomelin.
Junior captain Ben Lasky scored on a feed from sophomore Trevor Perez in the 65th minute.
Lasky fed sophomore Andres Simbeck for a score in the 70th minute but Overfelt scored an insurance goal off a corner kick in the 75th minute.
Menlo takes a break until a noon match Dec. 29 at Scotts Valley.
Gunn fell, 8-0, to host Mountain View, the defending CCS Open Division champion, in a nonleague game Monday. The Titans (0-2-3) travel to Sacred Heart Prep (1-3) for a 3:15 p.m. Wednesday.
Menlo dropped a 2-1 nonleague decision to Mitty (4-0), the CCS Open Division runner-up last year, at Kelly Field in Menlo Park.
The Knights (1-5-1) play San Benito on Saturday at the Fremont Firebird Classic at 5:30 p.m.