The Sacred Heart Prep girls' soccer team said goodbye this week to junior midfielder Abby Dahlkemper, who caught a plane for Florida midweek to train with the U.S. National 17-Under Team. While Dahlkemper will be missed until she returns, the Gators certainly aren't at a loss for offensive talent.
That talent showed up in a 4-0 victory over visiting Notre Dame-San Jose on Thursday, allowing the Gators to strengthen their grip on first place in the West Bay Athletic League (Foothill Division) race.
The Gators improved to 6-0 in league (11-3-2 overall) and now have 18 points. Second-place Menlo and Priory battled to a scoreless tie on Thursday, leaving both with 11 points.
Sacred Heart Prep senior Lizzy Weisman stepped it up and had a hand (or foot) in all four goals. She scored three times, twice in the first half on assists from Caroline Moe and Geena Graumann. Weisman made it 3-0 in the second half off an assist from Kendall Cody and finally provided an assist on a final goal by Sophia Abuel-Saud.
The Menlo and Priory teams, meanwhile, needed to make a move on Thursday in order to gain some ground on first-place Sacred Heart Prep. But, for the second time this season, neither team did as they battled to a scoreless deadlock in another WBAL (Foothill Division) match on the Knights' field.
Three weeks ago, Menlo and Priory battled to the same result. On Thursday, the match was filled with scoring opportunities and exciting play but, ultimately, no goals, as both goalkeepers and defenses rose up with big plays. Menlo (3-1-2, 9-2-3) had three early opportunities from close range in the first half, which the Knights failed to capitalize on. Midway through the second half, Menlo senior Nicole Fasola hit each post in a 10-minute span on two head balls off crosses from senior Mila Sheeline and senior Elitah Petty.
Priory (3-1-2, 5-5-6) pressured the Menlo goal repeatedly late in the game and freshman keeper Julia Dressel and her backline of Shannon Lacy, Elle Laub, Frannie McCarthy and Dana Gornick all made big plays. The Menlo midfield of Sarah Swig, Kelly Cavan, Petty and Maya Norman were solid throughout the game. Priory freshman keeper Elizabeth Oliphant had 11 saves. Menlo took 10 of its 14 shots in the first half.
Priory, which had only three shots in the first half, stepped up its attack after intermission with Massiel Castellanos and Adriana Cortes just missing on attempts. With the result, the two teams remained tied for second place in the WBAL. That likely will change next week when Priory (Tuesday) and Menlo (Thursday) both host Sacred Heart Prep.
In San Bruno, Castilleja needed a victory on Thursday to stay close to the leaders in the WBAL (Foothill Division) race. The Gators, however, didn't get one. Instead, they had to settle for a 1-1 deadlock with winless Mercy-Burlingame at Skyline College in San Brunco. In the 28th minute, Mercy scored on a free kick that was headed over the Castilleja keeper Allie May. Castilleja (2-3-1 , 5-4-1) answered in the 36th minute when Emily Colvin sent a crossing pass to Amy Toig's feet on a perfectly timed run. Tog calmly placed it in the net.
In the PAL Bay Division, Menlo-Atherton pounded visiting Sequoia, 8-2. Gilliam Collom scored four goals with one assist for the Bears (4-3-1, 8-4-2), who remained in fourth place in the standings behind Woodside (6-0-1), Aragon (5-0-3) and Burlingame (5-1-1). Meryssa Thompson added two goals for M-A while Vanessa Renkel had a goal plus two assists. Cat Carragee also scored for the Bears.
In the SCVAL De Anza Division, injury-depleted Gunn dropped a 1-0 decision to host Mountain View on Thursday. The Titans fell to 0-5-1 in league (2-8-2 overall). Mountain View moved into a tie for first place with Monta Vista, both at 5-1.
If there is an immediate goal for Castilleja, it's finding a way to win close games. The Gators recently lost a nine-point lead against Eastside Prep and fell by three. On Thursday night, Castilleja saw its lead disappear in the fourth quarter and suffered a 51-49 nonleague loss in overtime to visiting St. Francis. The game featured six ties and 14 lead changes.
The Lancers (9-9) trailed for much of the game and as many as seven, but battled back to erase a three-point fourth-quarter deficit to force overtime. The Gators, who led after each of the first three quarters, did their best to limit the St. Francis' fastbreak, but could not escape the Lancers' outside shooting as they connected on five treys throughout the contest in addition to controlling the offensive glass.
Heading into the fourth, St. Francis quickly erased Castilleja's four-point lead and appeared to be in full control. After a defensive stop, Castilleja called time out with 15 seconds remaining and trailing by two. After inbounding the ball, Natasha von Kaeppler caught a pass on the low block and laid in the game-tying basket with eight seconds left. St. Francis inbounded and pushed the ball up the court but could not get a final shot to fall as von Kaeppler came up with the block to force overtime.
In the extra frame, St. Francis took a quick three-point advantage on a trey off the opening tip. Castilleja responded with two straight buckets to take a one-point advantage, but did not score again as St. Francis hit a layup and a free throw to take the lead for good. Castilleja had two cracks at the game-winner, but could not get either three-point bucket to fall.
Leading the way for the Gators was von Kaeppler, who had 22 points, 14 rebounds, five steals and a career-high tying seven blocks. Eve Zelinger also had five steals and added eight rebounds with 11 points. Freshman Lauren Rantz dished out a career high four assists along with Tayo Amos.
St. Francis grabbed a Castilleja opponent season high 21 offensive rebounds and 42 rebounds allowing them to attempt 66 shots. St. Francis outscored Castilleja 18-4 on 2nd chance points. Castilleja had won its previous 113 games when leading at the end of each of the first three quarters, having last suffered such a loss in February 2002. Castilleja fell to 7-5 all-time in overtime games.
After taking over first place in the SCVAL De Anza Division on Tuesday, Gunn fell out of first place on Thursday following a 2-1 loss to visiting Mountain View. The Titans (4-3, 5-8-1) dropped to second place while the Spartans (5-2, 10-3-2) moved into first with 15 points.
Gunn opened the scoring on senior Paul Morimoto's left-footed shot after gathering a pass from junior Andrew Wohl. Shortly before halftime, Mountain View countered with a goal from senior Akash Nigam. After the break, Mountain View's Gustavao Arredondo countered with a long run off a Gunn attack. From the left side of goal, Arredondo's right footed shot deflected off a Gunn defender into goal for the winner.
Menlo-Atherton wrapped up the PAL Ocean Division regular-season title with a 48-30 victory over visiting Mills.
In the SCVAL De Anza Division, Palo Alto pinned a 39-25 loss on host Fremont. The Vikings dominated the upper weights with Ryan Oshima (154), Max Simon (162), Michael Cullen (173), and AJ Castillo (285) all winning on the mat. Castillo and Cullen both won by pin. Jack Sakai (137) also pinned his opponent for the Vikings.