The Score: Mountain View 2, M-A 0.
The Star: Menlo-Atherton High junior co-captain Aaron Oro adapted the best to the physical play in the middle from the Mountain View midfielders in the Central Coast Section Division I semifinal at Piedmont Hills High. Oro won several battles and set up Bears leading scorer Edgardo Molina twice in the second half with some rare space for a shot on net on Tuesday night.
The Turning Point: Ahead by one at the break, No. 2 seed Mountain View (16-1-4) didn’t sit on its lead. Instead, the Spartans’ aggression level ramped up a few notches, putting even more heat on the M-A midfield and back end. Third-seeded M-A (14-4-2) survived several near misses by Mountain View in the first 20 minutes of the half, but then the Spartans got an insurance goal in the 76th minute on a beautiful back touch from Zack Wilson to Riley Hanley.
The Quote: “Our midfield played great tonight. (Molina) was so fast. All of our guys in the back played a great game. We didn’t let them get many shots off.” – Mountain View head coach Jim McGuirk, whose team advanced to within one win of the program’s first CCS title.
The Quote #2: “They have a pretty good team. We came out and did our best.” – M-A’s Edgardo Molina, who had trouble finding room to operate all evening long. His best chance came in the 61st minute off a quick feed into the middle from Oro. Molina spun around before the second Spartan defender could reach him, but the hurried shot was off target keeping the score at 1-0.
What's Next? M-A’s season is finished.
The Bottom Line: M-A’s fantastic season came to an end against an elite opponent in Mountain View, the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League De Anza Division champion and the No. 1 team in . … Fourth-ranked M-A fell short of securing its first berth in a CCS title game since 1994. … Nonetheless, the Bears had a major breakthrough this season, winning a share of their first Peninsula Athletic League Bay Division championship in fifth-year coach Jacob Pickard’s tenure, and followed up with a 2-0 quarterfinal win over sixth-ranked Palo Alto that marked the first CCS triumph in the Pickard era. … M-A will graduate some key contributors, including forward Philip Witham and midfielder Gerry Cruz. But the program’s prospects look very strong for next season with Molina, the PAL Bay forward of the year, Oro, junior sweeper William Cabral and sophomore defender Alexei Lopez all set to return.
Mountain View 2, Menlo-Atherton 0.
At Piedmont Hills
Scoring: MV: Mohageg (Hanley) 8:00, MV: Hanley (Wilson) 76:00
Records: Mountain View 16-1-4. Menlo-Atherton: 14-4-2.