Senior midfielder Tess Preising broke out in cold sweat as she sprinted down the middle of the pitch, her exhalation visible in the 48-degree weather on Thursday night. She dribbled deftly past multiple Gunn High School defenders, using her foot skills to advance towards the goal. Preising looked up just in time to see freshman Chloe Japic making a cut and passed a leading ball to her. Japic took a few small touches and wound up a shot at the goal. Needless to say, she took care of the rest.
Japic’s goal asserted the Palo Alto High School (4-0, 0-0) girls’ soccer team’s dominance in the first half, giving the Vikings a 1-0 lead against the Titans (1-2-1, 0-0) at the Gunn field last Thursday night. Preising later scored a goal off a header from a corner kick by junior Emily Tomz in the second half, extending Paly’s lead to 2-0. Gunn made a late goal, but it was not enough to make a comeback, and the game ended with a score of 2-1.
According to Preising, playing against Gunn was an exciting matchup, despite the game being part of the preseason schedule.
“Playing Gunn is always fun and it’s always been a good experience,” Preising said. “I love playing them [Titans], and I am definitely glad to take part in this rivalry.”
Paly girls’ soccer coach Jon Seedman expressed his opinion on the competition between Paly and Gunn.
“Gunn always gives us their best shot,” Seedman said. “I think if Gunn goes through its season and loses every game but beats Paly, that is a successful season for them. You can definitely see it in their [Gunn players’] eyes and with the way they played. They were extremely pumped up. If you looked at the faces of the winning team and losing team and didn’t know who won, you would’ve thought the opposite way. They were so happy that they had given us a battle. It’s not that much of a rivalry for us as much as it is for them.”
Preising said while playing the game, she observed what the team needs to work on for the future.
“I thought we would score more goals because we kept possession in their attacking third quite often and we took a lot of shots,” Preising said. “The team dynamic isn’t as great as it needs to be but I think the team looks forward to improving that. We definitely need to work on shooting. We had multiple opportunities for easy shots but we chose to pass instead. We don’t have many players who like to shoot so that is something we need to work on as a team.”
However, Preising believes that the struggles will sort itself out through practice and as the season develops.
Seedman also commented that the team can work to build its chemistry with the younger players on the team.
“They are great socially but when we’re playing, we’ve got a long way to go,” Seedman said. “Chloe [Japic] really played well and scored our first goal. She made a lot of other good plays but she needs to figure out the way we play as a team, but that will come.”