Castilleja soccer coach Andy Lichtblau had to do without a couple of his players on Saturday due to their response to receiving a vaccination shot, one of the most common “injuries” in high school sports these days.
Thank goodness for a stingy defense and an athletic goalie.
Castilleja scored midway through the first half and held on to beat host The King’s Academy, 1-0, to remain undefeated in the West Bay Athletic League Skyline Division. TKA started the day tied for second.
“This year it’s been like a wall,” Lichtblau said of his backfield of Lulu Gunadi, Mariel Gunadi, Liv Nickel/Kelly Yang. “They are incredibly organized, they read the play and are a unit. If one steps up, another drops back. It’s the best decision-making I’ve ever coached. They are in it for each other.”
Amanda Khu scored the game’s only goal after taking a pass from Anja Peterson. Castilleja (5-0, 4-0) continued to pressure TKA and just missed on a few shots.
Castilleja recorded its third consecutive shutout and has allowed two goals all season. Playing its third game in five days, Castilleja was up to the challenge with an inexperienced goalie in Riley Sterling.
“Riley has never played in the goal before,” Lichtblau said. “When our first goalie got hurt, Riley volunteered. She’s just an athlete and stepped up for us. She was always in the right spot.”
Soccer normally takes up the winter season and conflicts with other commitments are commonplace. It’s just something else to deal with in this odd year.
Finding the right balance is difficult but Castilleja seems to have resolved it. Just move one player from here to there, another from there to here and the Gators seamlessly keep things going.
Castilleja also has a varied attack, with Serra Tulu and Noa Goldstein also goal scorers, among other. Tulu and Goldstein each scored in a 2-0 win over Pinewood on Thursday. Tulu’s assist on Goldstein’s goal was a “really beautiful volley,” said Lichtblau.
Pip Carlson, Tatum Schultz, Natalie Wong, Ariana Kertsman, Grace Raymond, Jenny Karsner and Lauren Lin each made contributions to the shutout.
Castilleja hosts Nueva (San Mateo) on Tuesday at El Camino Park in Palo Alto.
“I see Pinewood is still Pinewood.”
A lot of observers would tend to agree.
Those words were overheard outside the gym at The King’s Academy on Saturday, about 20 hours after Pinewood wreaked havoc on host TKA, 80-17, in a WBAL contest.
Nine different players scored for the Panthers (2-0, 2-0) and six of those connected on at least one of the 15 3-pointers.
In addition to shooting 58 percent as a team, 52 percent from long range, Pinewood also had nearly a 2-to-1 assist to turnover ratio and made as many steals (9) as turnovers.
Chance Bucher and Emily Lee each scored 17 points to lead the Panthers. Una Jovanovic added 16.
All nine players recorded at least one of Pinewood’s 29 rebounds. Gabrielle Harris and Maia Garcia each grabbed seven to share the team lead. Guard Annika Decker had six boards to go with a team-best six assists.
Pinewood, which led 20-4 after the first quarter and 40-10 at halftime, remain on the road with a game at Notre Dame in Belmont on Tuesday.
Priory (2-1, 2-0) beat Notre Dame, 59-29, on Friday. Priory hosts Sacred Heart Prep on Tuesday.
In a Skyline Division contest, Castilleja opened its season with a 48-24 setback to host Notre Dame San Jose on Thursday. The Gators are scheduled to host Nueva on Tuesday.