The Menlo School girls' soccer team wrapped up its second West Bay Athletic League (Foothill Division) title in two years with a dominating 7-0 victory over host Notre Dame-San Jose at Watson Park on Thursday.
The Knights improved to 8-0 in league (10-2-4 overall) and clinched the crown with 24 points and four matches remaining. Second-place Sacred Heart Prep (3-2-4) suffered a 3-0 loss to Priory (3-2-4), with neither team able to catch Menlo with 22 points their best possible finish.
King's Academy, meanwhile, took over second place following a 6-0 victory over Crystal Springs. The Knights (3-1-5) have 14 points, but at best can only finish with 23 points by winning its final three matches.
Junior Sienna Stritter tallied three times for Menlo, giving her 13 goals for the season as the Knights won their 18th straight division match over two years. Junior Chandler Wickers added a pair of goals.
"As I just heard the news, it seems hard to believe," said Menlo coach Donoson Fitzgerald, now in his 24th season with the Knights. "I just focus on the task at hand, which was today's game. Keep winning and the league title will come soon. I am really happy (!!!) to be the champions. I am happy for the girls. They are talented and determined; a special group. They are a TEAM! I am proud of them!
Menlo got on the board 10 minutes into the match wen junior Amanda McFarland found Wickers, who scored from 15 yards out. Sophomore Amber Mallett then set up Stritter, who dribbled around the goalkeeper and scored from close range in the 25th minute.
Wickers struck again off a long pass from senior Hannah Rubin, pushing the ball past the keeper at 32 minutes. After Stritter was taken down in the box, Rubin successfully converted the penalty kick at 35 minutes for 4-0 lead. Stritter finished the first half with an accurate 15-yard shot off a nice feed from McFarland to push the lead to 5-0.
Stritter notched her hat trick on a 12-yard shot off an assist from freshman Elena Gray at the 22 minute mark. Gray then tallied Menlo's final goal from 16 yards out off an assist from sophomore Jamie Corley. Menlo's keepers -- freshman Schulyler Tilney-Volk and senior Julia Dressel -- each played a half and earned the shutout. Menlo outshot NDSJ, 15-6.
In Atherton, visiting Priory needed a victory to keep its CCS hopes alive and got it with a shutout of Sacred Heart Prep. The Panthers got the eventual winning goal in the first eight minutes when Mariana Galvan flicked the ball to Erin Simpson, who hit a half-volley into the net.
In the 27th minute, Ashely Jones took a free kick just past half field and bounced it between the penalty spot and the six-yard box. There was some miscommunication between the SHP back line and keeper -- allowing Priory junior Caitlin Teoman to head the ball into the cage.
Just three minutes later, Simpson hit a through ball to Galvan, who dribbled into the box and was forced to the edge of the 18 and
endline. With three defenders on her back, she did a pull back, juke, beat all three and then, with a very narrow angle, hit it past the keeper.
In the PAL Bay Division, host Menlo-Atherton moved into a tie for third place following a 3-1 victory over last-place Hillsdale. The Bears (5-3-1, 7-5-3) have 16 points, joining Burlingame in the third spot. Woodside (8-0-1) remains atop the standings with Carlmont (6-2-1) still in second.
Menlo-Atherton and Hillsdale battled to a scoreless first half before Elizabeth Cruz scored off an assist from Carolyn Hunt-Gonzalez. The winning goal came from freshman Sarah McLeod off an assist from Gabriella Zanutta. Cassie Stansberry provided an insurance goal with fellow senior Monika Richardson assisting.
In the WBAL Skyline Division, host Pinewood rolled to a 6-0 victory over Eastside Prep. Gabrielle Amos-Grosser and Kelly Branson each scored twice for the Panthers (8-0-1, 9-3-2), who will play Mercy-Burlingame for the division title on Tuesday at Skyline College.
In a battle of undefeated teams in the SCVAL De Anza Division, host Gunn prevailed over Wilcox, 50-22, to win the first-ever league dual-match title in program history.
Gunn improved to 5-0 while Wilcox fell to 4-1. Even if the Titans suffer an upset loss to Fremont next Thursday, they'll hold a tiebreaker over Wilcox. The Titans tied with Palo Alto last season but lost the crown in similar fashion. Gunn can win the title outright, however, by beating Fremont.
Wilcox came into Thursday's match with a lineup weakened by the flu and the Chargers were unable to field four of the 14 weight classes. That helped make Gunn's final home meet a good one as 11 seniors were honored before the match. Eight of the seniors competed.
At Palo Alto, the host Vikings (1-4) suffered a tough 39-35 loss to Fremont.
Gunn junior Cadence Lee will go after a third straight title at the girls' CCS championships this weekend at Oak Grove High in San Jose. Lee will be seeded No. 1 in her division for the two-day event, which begins Friday.
Gunn's Jessica Sun was fifth last year and could be seeded again. Teammate Grace Robinson, meanwhile, has the next best shot (after Lee) to place high.
Palo Alto will be represented by Alexa Austin.