Menlo-Atherton senior Will Demirkol won’t get too far ahead of himself.
After all, there’s a Peninsula Athletic League boys soccer match coming up Wednesday and he’d rather focus on it.
But if the Central Coast Section really does hold playoffs for sports like soccer, his season just got more interesting.
“If we’re able to play in the CCS, I know we will start to play even better,” Demirkol said after the Bears rallied past visiting Carlmont, 2-1, Friday. “There’s eight seniors on this team and we’ll definitely talk about it. It’s uplifting.”
In a statement released by the CCS Executive Committee on Monday, “CCS will move forward with Section Playoffs in all team sports for Season 2.
“Those sports include Boys and Girls Soccer, Team Tennis, Boys Volleyball, Boys and Girls Basketball, Boys and Girls Lacrosse, Baseball, and Softball.
“Furthermore, the CCS has been granted permission at the county level to move forward with Boys and Girls Golf Championships.”
Great news for the section’s high schools (except for the two prominent leagues which have chosen not to participate) and even better news for the seniors.
At Menlo-Atherton, the seniors were disappointed in how things turned out in last year’s CCS playoffs and they’d love the chance for redemption.
“That’s just more motivation,” Demirkol said. “In the beginning we didn’t have much going for us. It was a downer. We decided we were going to play for each other and coach Leo (Krupnik) has been motivating us.”
M-A once again rose to the top of the Peninsula Athletic League Bay Division standings. The Bears (4-0-1) gained a little bit of leverage on Aragon (3-0-3), which recorded its third straight tie Friday, 1-1, with Sequoia. And yes, M-A and Aragon tied last week.
The Bears played on its synthetic grass field for the first time due to the flood of sports currently being played. The field is fenced and feels small.
Krupnik figured it was a reason M-A rushed things in the beginning and allowed the Scots to tie after Demirkol scored the first goal of the contest, with an assist from Toma Frank.
After the Scots tied it with a penalty kick, the Bears went back to work. M-A sustained pressure and finally broke free in the closing minutes.
Demirkol took advantage of a loose ball to nail the game-winner. Hewitt Stevenson’s shot bounced off the goalie and Demirkol jumped at the rebound.
“These are good kids,” Krupnik said. “They listen. This year, they’ve clicked.”
And should the Bears advance into the postseason, Demirkol, Frank and fellow seniors Sameer Dewan, Cole Trigg, Yahir Ambriz, Shane Dunlevie, Nikan Danaei and Mateo Weiner have a chance to finish their high school careers on a high note.
In a West Bay Athletic League match Thursday, Sacred Heart Prep beat visiting Crystal Springs Uplands, 10-0, as Kyle Nilsson recorded four goals and had an assist.
Ethan Veghte added a goal and four assists, and Chase Dolinko recorded a goal and assist. Thomas Sullivan, Zach Freire, Colin Johnson and Matthew Kirkham each added a goal.
Ritter Amsbaugh and Ryan Harvey combined to pitch a three-hitter in Palo Alto’s 10-0 victory over host Los Altos in a SCVAL De Anza Division game Friday.
Amsbaugh allowed two hits in his four innings, earning the victory. He struck out seven and walked two. Harvey earned a three-inning save, giving up a hit and walking one, which was intentional. He retired the final eight hitters he faced.
Zander Darby’s first-inning home run gave the Vikings (8-2, 2-0) all the offense they would need. Henry Bolte collected three hits and drove in three runs for Paly, which hosts Homestead Monday afternoon.
In the PAL Bay Division, Enzo Pollioni and Tyler Wong each drove in two runs and Sacred Heart Prep earned its first win of the season, 8-5, over visiting Aragon on Friday.
Alex Nissenberg and three relievers, including Wong and Pollioni, combined for the win. Nissenberg did not allow a run in his 3 2/3 innings. He allowed one hit but also walked five. Pollioni recorded the final out of the fourth.
Andrew Rocha, Conrad Wilbur, Teddy Purcell, and Peter Desler each drove in a run for the Gators (1-4, 1-3), who were scheduled to play at Menlo-Atherton in a nonleague game Saturday morning.
In the PAL Ocean Division, Menlo lost at The King’s Academy, 11-1.
Menlo-Atherton opened its season losing to host Serra, 53-51, in a nonleague contest Friday.
Serra's Luke Bidinost scored with just under four seconds remaining for the final score.
M-A had a chance at the buzzer but the ball rolled out.
Spencer Lin scored 15 points to lead M-A, which was scheduled to play at Menlo School on Saturday afternoon. Lin added eight rebounds.
Ricky Martin added 13 points and Jeremiah Earby, who had eight points, generated a highlight-reel block.
Gunn, down 11 at the half, rallied in the second half but fell short, 53-50, at Saratoga.
Gavin Kitch scored 29 points for the Titans, who play again Saturday at Lynbrook.
Woodside fell to host Sequoia, 55-49, two days after the Wildcats ended a nine-game losing streak to Sequoia.
Calvin Kapral and Timmy Yee each scored 16 points to lead Woodside. Luke Buddie added 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting. He added six rebounds and five steals.
Carly Martin scored 13 of her 15 points in the first half to help host Palo Alto beat Saratoga in a SCVAL contest Friday.
Annika Shah took over later, scoring all 14 of her points in the fourth quarter, including hitting four consecutive 3-pointers.
Martin and Kaella Peters each hit a trio of 3-pointers and recorded five assists.
Jessica Fiske grabbed 14 rebounds for Paly, which travels to Homestead for a league match Tuesday.
Gunn lost a competitive SCVAL game to host Santa Clara, 48-42. Zara Wang led Gunn with 18 points and Mollie Kuelker added 15.
Kylie Liu went 3-for-3 and drove in two runs as Gunn beat Lynbrook, 12-1, in a SCVAL contest.
Lauren Li and Emily Lee each had two hits and Brenna Birnbaum drove in two runs.
Menlo-Atherton lost its PAL game, 16-5, to visiting Terra Nova.
Freshman Dani Koo and junior Ate Tovo each tripled for the Bears (2-8, 0-4). Emily Travers, DB Gaetano and Jules Nava each drove in runs.
Ava Shenk, Genna Gibbons and Kat Showalter each scored three goals to lead Sacred Heart Prep past Mitty, 13-1, in a battle of WBAL unbeatens.
Menlo fell to St. Francis, 16-5, in another WBAL match. Senior Lindsey Ball and freshman Brooke Stroh each scored twice.
Junior Ella Hartmanis added a goal for the Knights (0-3), who play at Menlo-Atherton (0-3) on Wednesday.
At the Pan Am Individual Championships in Guatemala City on Friday, Gunn sophomore Allison Lee and Hillsdale sophomore Frankie Corbett earned a victory in women’s doubles, beating Colombia’s Juliana Giraldo and Maria Julieth, 21-9, 21-6.
The duo advance to Saturday’s semifinal against hometown favorites Alejandra Jose Paiz Quan and Mariana Isabel Paiz Quan.
Menlo beat Sacred Heart Cathedral, 12-4, in its West Catholic Athletic League opener at Margaret Hayward Park in San Francisco on Friday.
Menlo junior Carter Jung and freshman Bradford Tudor each had three goals and an assist. Juniors Sam Scola added a hat trick and Ben Banatao scored twice.
Sophomore Bax Barlow recorded eight saves for Menlo, which meets Serra in its home opener Monday afternoon.
In another WCAL match, Sacred Heart Prep knocked off Serra, 20-2.
Sacred Heart Prep beat visiting The King’s Academy on Thursday, getting singles wins from Conor Burns, Aarav Chandrasekar, Neil Chopra and Tristan Zerber. They won by a combined score of 28-8.
Track and field
Menlo sophomore Justin Pretre was a double-winner at the WBAL meet Wednesday at Sacred Heart. He won the 400 in 54.09 and the 800 in 2:02.21.
Junior Vikram Seshradi placed first in the 110 hurdles in 18.85, sophomore Ralston Raphael won the shot put with a mark of 29-8 and took second in discus with a 70-4. Artin Saffarnia won discus with a heave of 83-6.
Other winners included SHP’s Brandon Hsing (12.16 in the 100 and 25.44 in the 200).
Taking first and second in girls' discus, Menlo juniors Alli McKenney threw 79-6 and Mira Devgan 60-1.
Also on the girls side, SHP’s Keegan Shaw won the 100 in 13.35, the long jump with a mark of 16-6 1/2 and the triple jump in 33-9. Castilleja’s Daniella Henderson was second in the 200 and long jump.
Castilleja sophomore Samira Kennedy raced 59.62 to win the 400 and came back to finish second in the 3,200 (12:44.36), behind freshman teammate Perry McElhinney’s 12:09.0.
SHP’s Janie Morganroth and Lucy Paynter went 1-2 in the 800 in 2:25.92 and 2:35.60, respectively.
Sacred Heart Prep Luci Lambert won the 1,600 in 5:01.546. Teammate Julia Soderberry was second in 5:17.13.