Five ties would preclude most soccer teams from finishing first in league. But the Mountain View High girls overcame that by winning the rest of their games in the tight race for the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League De Anza Division title.
It took a win in their final regular-season game and a loss by rival Los Altos for the Spartans to claim the crown last week. Host Mountain View edged Saratoga 1-0 Feb. 19, while Los Altos fell 3-0 at Los Gatos.
The Spartans finished 7-0-5 in league (26 points) and the Eagles went 7-2-3 (24), edging Los Gatos (7-3-2) by a point for second place.
“To start the season with three ties and still win league is a huge testament to the girls’ belief in each other,” Mountain View coach Ivan Bandov said. “They are a great group of girls who are just tremendous to work with.”
And it’s a young group as well. The Spartans – who haven’t lost a game since Dec. 14 – have just five seniors and three juniors on the team. The rest of the roster consists of nine sophomores and two freshmen.
But last week’s league finale was all about the seniors. Midfielders Erica Higa and Danna Weintraub, defender Neha Cheemalavagu and goalies Sophie Brotzel and Amanda Tomasetti were honored before the game.
“It was very exciting to win the league title on Senior Day at home. This is a special group of seniors who gave their all for the MVHS program the last four years and deserve this moment,” Bandov said. “Erica, Neha and Danna have been with me since I started at Mountain View three years ago, so they hold a special place in my heart. I really wanted to send them off with a league title more than anything.”
Weintraub assisted on the game-winning goal, scored by sophomore striker Ysabel Baluyot in the 33rd minute. Brotzel earned the shutout – her eighth of the year – making three saves against Saratoga.
Winning league helped the Spartans land the top seed in this week’s Central Coast Section Division I playoffs. Mountain View (10-2-6 overall) received a first-round bye and is scheduled to face the winner of today’s game between No. 8 Santa Teresa (9-6-5) and No. 9 Menlo-Atherton (10-5-5) in Saturday’s quarterfinals at a time and place to be announced.
“CCS is a brand-new season and anything is possible,” Bandov said. “Our motto the whole second half of the season has been to just focus on the next game – and that won’t change for CCS.”
Los Altos, reigning CCS Division II champion, has been seeded seventh in that division. The Eagles (9-4-4) were slated to host No. 10 Mitty – a team they upset in last year’s semifinals – Tuesday. The winner takes on No. 2 Valley Christian (16-3-0) in the quarterfinals Saturday at a time and place to be determined.
“People are expecting good things from us, and we’re up for the challenge,” Los Altos midfielder Allie Crum said. “It’ll be tough, but do not count us out of the running for the title.”
St. Francis, coming off a 2-1 loss to Mitty in the West Catholic Athletic League semifinals, is the top seed in CCS Division II.
The Lancers (14-5-1) meet No. 8 St. Ignatius (11-5-5) or No. 9 Leland (8-6-4) in Saturday’s quarterfinals at a time and place to be announced.
The Mountain View boys weren’t able to repeat as De Anza Division champs – finishing second to Los Gatos – but the Spartans are returning to the CCS Division I playoffs. No. 5 Mountain View (16-3-1) is scheduled to host No. 12 Andrew Hill (11-2-6) 3 p.m. today in first-round action.
The Spartans (10-2 division) capped league play with a 6-0 win at Saratoga last week behind five goals from forward Brad Bumgarner, who finished the regular season with a team-record 24 goals.
St. Francis (7-4-6) is the 13th seed in the CCS Division II playoffs. The Lancers are slated to open at No. 4 Mt. Pleasant (12-3-5) 6 p.m. today.
2013 girls soccer: Los Altos High School vs. Mountain View High School - Photos by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier