With seconds left on the clock, Palo Alto High School girls’ soccer team member senior defender Talia Malchin attempted one last desperate shot on goal off of a corner kick in an effort to break the tie with the Los Gatos Wildcats (8-3-1, 2-1-1), but the ball hit the crossbar of the goal. Despite high pressure from the Paly team’s (8-0-3, 2-0-3) offense, the team was unable to capitalize on key moments in its scoreless draw, 0-0, against the Wildcats on Thursday at Paly.
Paly remains undefeated in its De Anza league and overall season, a notable feat for the Vikings, but tonight’s performance did not showcase a composed, dominant team.
The Vikings and the Wildcats fought for possession of the ball throughout the game. Paly players continued to pressure the Los Gatos offense with notable efforts from senior defenders Malchin and Lauola Amanoni and junior midfielder Emily Tomz.
In the second half, Paly had several shots on goal, with a few that even hit the crossbar. With ten minutes left in the game, a shot on goal by Paly fell into the hands of the Wildcats’ goalkeeper. Two close shots by Malchin and freshman midfielder Chloe Japić followed right behind.
With victories against Los Gatos in recent years, tying the Wildcats was not a favorable outcome, according to senior captain and midfielder Natalie Maloney.
“We were definitely expecting to win this one [game], especially with all of the shots that we had,” Maloney said. “I’m actually surprised that none of them went in, but Talia is cursed by the crossbar now.”
According to Maloney, the Vikings need to focus on getting shots on frame and capitalizing on scoring opportunities. Settling the ball down, connecting to one another on the field and simply putting balls in the net are essential to the Vikings’ success in coming games.
“We have hit the crossbar and shot it [the ball] wide way too many times,” Maloney said. “We get really frantic when we don’t score in the first half because it doesn’t feel like we have a ton of time. We really need to calm the game down.”
According head coach Kurt Devlin, the team’s performance was “lackluster.”
“It hurts because we weren’t able to score, and we had so many chances,” Devlin said. “That definitely would have changed the complexion of the match.”
According to Devlin, Malchin and Japić were sidelined for the latter part of the first half after suffering from a cramp and a “blow to the head,” respectively. Both players returned to the game in the second half.
Up next, the Vikings are set to take on Fremont High School (5-6-2, 0-4-0) at 3:30 p.m. next Tuesday in Fremont.