Local resident scores winner for Menlo girls in soccer final

Courtesy of the El-Fishawy family
Menlo High sophomore Stella El-Fishawy, right, outruns two defenders for the ball.

Los Altos resident Stella El-Fishawy couldn’t have chosen a better game to score her lone goal of the postseason.

Three minutes into the Central Coast Section Division I girls soccer final, the sophomore made what proved to be the game-winning goal in Menlo School’s 1-0 victory over Christopher Feb. 23 at Fremont High.

Taking control of a loose ball created by teammate Siena Gavin’s tackle on a defender, El-Fishawy booted a shot from just inside the box that landed in the right-side of the net.

“I was really pumped,” the wing said. “I was so excited to score and take the lead.”

The Knights’ dominant defense took it from there.

“Our defense was really tough and tight that game,” El-Fishawy said.

Fourth-seeded Menlo (20-2-2 overall) didn’t surrender a goal in CCS. The Knights shut out No. 5 Live Oak 3-0 in the quarterfinals and blanked top-seed Soquel 2-0 in the semifinals.

Once the final whistle blew in the CCS championship game against No. 3 Christopher (13-5-1), the celebration ensued.

“We all rushed the field and poured water all over the coach,” El-Fishawy said.

That damp coach, Ross Ireland, said El-Fishawy “had a significant impact” on Menlo’s success this season, even though she was sidelined for the majority of it.

“Despite suffering an injury early in her first game versus Menlo-Atherton, then again in her second game back, Stella worked her way into form and was consistently impactful playing on the wing and up front,” he said. “She chipped in with goals and assists throughout league play, and her speed, vision and technique were best exemplified with the winning goal early in the D-I CCS final versus Christopher.”

El-Fishawy said it was tough missing most of the season due to a concussion and knee injury, but the positives in her first year on the team clearly outweighed the negatives.

“It was a really fun season,” she said. “The league championship was a goal and winning CCS was a goal, and we did both. It was the culmination of hard work throughout the year.”

Menlo captured the West Bay Athletic League Foothill Division with an 8-0-2 mark, with both ties coming against rival Sacred Heart Prep. The league’s coaches recognized El-Fishawy’s contributions, voting her to the All-WBAL Second Team.

The Knights lost just one regular-season game, a 1-0 decision at Westmont Dec. 6. Their other defeat came after CCS; Menlo fell 4-0 at Montgomery of Santa Rosa in the quarterfinals of the Northern California Division II playoffs Feb. 26. Seeded seventh, the Knights played the No. 2 Vikings close for most of the match.

“They ran away with it at the end,” El-Fishawy said. “I’m proud of how we played – they were strong – and it was pouring the entire game.”

Although Montgomery (19-4-3) denied Menlo a shot at winning another title, El-Fishawy still has two CCS crowns to cherish this school year. She was also a member of the Knights’ girls cross-country team that won Division IV last fall.

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