Photo By: Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
There are eight girls soccer teams in the West Bay Athletic League Skyline Division, but only two of them are contending for the championship – Pinewood School and Mercy-Burlingame.
Ten games into the league season, the Panthers and Crusaders had decisively won every match except the one against each other – a 1-all tie Jan. 15 in Los Altos Hills.
So the winner of Tuesday’s rematch at Skyline College (played after the Town Crier’s press deadline) takes firm control of the division with one week left in the regular season.
Co-head coach Michael Tetzlaff expects that team to be Pinewood.
“I am confident that we will win against Mercy-Burlingame, based on how we played them the first time around and how we have progressed,” he said last week. “Our team this season is determined, skilled, and we’ll cherish the opportunity to play Mercy-Burlingame Tuesday for what very likely will be the league championship.”
But even if the Panthers prevail – and win their two remaining league games, as expected – it doesn’t guarantee them a berth in the Central Coast Section playoffs.
“As league champion, we would have a game against the fourth-place finisher in the (WBAL) Foothill Division on Feb. 14, and the winner of that game will have a berth in CCS,” said Tetzlaff, who coaches Pinewood with Whitney Wood.
If the Panthers (10-3-2 overall) can get to and win that game, they will be in the playoffs for the first time in six years. That would be quite an accomplishment for a squad with only five seniors.
Three of these seniors – Gabrielle Amos-Grosser, Gretchen Olsen and Emma Grillo – serve as team tri-captains.
Amos-Grosser and fellow fullbacks Maddy Augustine and Sarah Cilker – both juniors – are key members of a defense that Tetzlaff described as “rock solid.” Pinewood has surrendered just seven goals, only one in league. The Panthers have 10 shutouts, most of them with freshman Hannah Ditzler in goal. The coach called Ditzler’s performance “impressive.”
She’s not the only ninth-grader to impress Tetzlaff. Forward Olivia Biggs leads the Panthers in scoring (39 points), while midfielders Kelly Branson (19) and Amrita Mecker (13) rank second and fourth, respectively.
“Our freshman class contributes well to our team’s success,” Tetzlaff said, “but it’s also the veteran players like Gabrielle and Courtney (Copriviza) who put their stamp on our game.”
Although she’s primarily responsible for preventing goals, senior defender Amos-Grosser has also scored six. Copriviza, a junior, is part of a solid midfield that includes sophomores Leah Hess and Nicole Colonna.
The Panthers – who last week blanked Eastside Prep (6-0 score) and Summit Prep (5-0) – are scheduled to visit Mercy-San Francisco 3:30 p.m. Thursday.
In other girls soccer action:
• Los Altos edged Mountain View 2-1 Jan. 30 on a pair of second-half goals by Allie Crum (assisted by Sophia Hyver and Katie Winters). Coupled with Friday’s scoreless tie with Monta Vista, the Eagles went to 6-1-1 in the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League De Anza Division, 9-2-2 overall.
• Bouncing back from a 3-2 loss to Mitty, St. Francis skunked Sacred Heart Cathedral 6-0 Saturday. Delaney Pridham scored three goals for the Lancers, Cristina Polini tallied two and Megan Keeth had the other. Annie Kingman notched three assists for St. Francis (8-2-1 West Catholic Athletic League, 14-2-1 overall).