The Menlo School girls' soccer team survived a one-game playoff in the West Bay Athletic League and earned an automatic berth into the Central Coast Section playoffs with a 3-0 victory over King's Academy on Friday.
The Knights (13-2-4) were the No. 3 seed in the Foothill Division while King's (12-5-2) had won the Skyline Division. This was the second season in a row that Menlo had finished third in the regular season and advanced to CCS via a playoff victory.
The Knights will join WBAL champion Sacred Heart Prep and runnerup Priory in the CCS Division III playofs that begin Feb. 25. The section pairings and seedings will come out Feb. 22.
Menlo's top three scorers led the attack in the playoff win – Nicole Fasola, Katie Baum and Mila Sheeline. All are seniors . Fasola now has 15 goals and seven assists; Baum has 12 goals and two assists, and Sheeline has five goals and 14 assists.
Menlo jumped on top early, scoring in the third minute as Fasola scored from 12 yards out on an assist from sophomore Sophie Sheeline. Fasola drilled in a 20-yard direct free kick in the 20-minute to push the lead to 2-0. In the 33rd minute, Baum redirected a pass from Mila Sheeline that resulted in a 3-0 halftime lead.
The Menlo defense limited its opponent's opportunities and freshman keeper Julia Dressel and the team recorded another shutout. Menlo maintained that lead the rest of the way and won its hird straight match and now stands 5-0-2 in its past seven matches.
Palo Alto freshman Trent Marshall won the lightest weight division and Gunn's Jake Cherry took the heaviest. In between, Palo Alto sophomore Kalen Gans won at 162 to highlight local efforts at the SCVAL Championships on Saturday at the old Blackford High.
Despite being unseeded Marshall captured the 105-pound title while Cherry too the 287-pound division. Gans, the top seed in his division, defended that lofty spot by providing the third individual crown as all advanced to the Central Coast Section championships this coming weekend.
Marshall, Gans and Cherry were among a combined 15 Palo Alto and Gunn wrestlers qho qualified for CCS by finishing in the top five on Saturday. Other top qualifiers included Paly's Nick Ortiz (second at 114), Paly's Jack Sakai (second at 132), Gunn's Stefan Weidemann (second at 142), and Gunn's Spencer Jones (second at 191).
Palo Alto finished third in the team standings on Saturday with 174 points while Gunn was fifth with 136.5.
Palo Alto lost sophomore Ryan Oshima to a knee injury, which defaulted him to sixth place at 145 pounds. He'll miss the CCS meet at Independence High in San Jose.