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WBAL boys soccer: Three teams stake a claim to the title

Rick Eymer/Palo Alto Online Sports
The West Bay Athletic League boys soccer race won't be decided any time soon and there's only two or three matches left to play. The top three teams all won Tuesday and even though Harker is the third place team in the equation behind Sacred Heart and Menlo, the Eagles are going to have a say in the championship race.

Liam Johnson scored three times and Alexi Stavropoulos scored twice in Sacred Heart Prep's 5-0 victory over visiting Eastside College Prep.
 
Ben Lasky and Trevor Perez each scored twice and Menlo topped visiting Priory, 7-0. Harker took care of host Crystal Springs Uplands, 4-1.
 
The Gators (14-0-2, 8-0-1) can clinch the title by winning their three remaining games, beginning with Thursday's match against visiting The King's Academy.

Harker (12-3, 7-2) can also earn the title by winning out. After hosting Eastside Prep (3-10-2, 2-7) on Thursday, the Eagles throw out the welcome mat for Sacred Heart Prep on Monday and then take a trip to Menlo in next Wednesday's regular-season finale.

Menlo (14-2-2, 8-1-1) has two games remaining and is off until Monday's home match against Eastside Prep.

Sacred Heart Prep has outscored WBAL opponents by a 34-4 margin while Harker has a 31-9 scoring edge. Menlo's scoring edge is 36-6. 

The Eagles managed to score twice against the Gators and their goalkeeper Jacob Anderson, who has been playing at a high level all season.

SHP presents a tough front, with Billy Barnds, Sam Shepard, Brian Tinsley, Tommy Hogan, Victor Micha, Chase Dolinko, Ethan Veghte, Antonio Clegg, Kevin Box and Matthew Kirkham among those who stand together in front of Anderson.

While Johnson and Stavropoulos took care of the scoring, Hogan recorded a hat trick in assists while Shepard and Tinsley each added one.

"It's everybody. We trust each other," Johnson said earlier this season. "I can't do it alone, no one can. We really work together."

That showed during the second half. Eastside played well in the first half, allowing a single goal. The dam burst in the second half as the SHP defense continually gained possession and made precision passes to their teammates, who were able to break down the Panthers' defense. The whole thing flowed seamlessly.

Menlo, which tied the Gators the last they met, has been virtually unstoppable since losing to SHP, 2-1, on Jan. 11. The Knights, who are playing like a team that gave itself a challenge, beat Harker on the road, 2-1, at the end of January. 

Jony Ebrahimian, Aaron Cheng and Aaron Morgan also scored against Priory while junior Adam Kasser collected the shutout.

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Founded by the Society of the Sacred Heart, SHS is a Catholic, independent, co-ed day school for students in preschool through grade 12