The Bears got their first win in their fifth preseason game against Menlo School on January 6 at home, making their current record 1-3-1. Before the game started, Coach Jason Luce hoped the players would “perform well and play strong, and try and get back in the swing of things after break.”
M-A kicked off and immediately received pressure from Menlo’s offense. In the sixth minute, M-A had a chance to score when midfielder Alissa McNerney played the ball to left wing Mara Cavallaro; Cavallaro passed to Diana Morales who crossed the ball to center forward Katie Guenin, allowing for a shot that barely missed.
The Bears scored the first goal of the game with a shot by Guenin which slipped past the Menlo goalkeeper 16 minutes into the first half.
Forward Josephine Cotto attempted a goal in the 30th minute, which was picked up with relative ease by the Menlo keeper. In the 33rd minute, Cavallaro was fouled, giving the Bears a free kick outside the box which was taken by center-mid Yara Gomez Zavala. The shot went just over the crossbar.
A shot by Cavallaro in the 43rd was tipped over the crossbar by the Menlo goalie. Menlo responded with an attack that M-A goalkeeper Breanna Sandoval saved. The first half ended with the Bears in the lead 1-0.
Menlo kicked off to start the second half. Eight minutes into the second half, Sandoval made a great save, jumping to the left side of the goal to stop a tough shot by Menlo’s offense. Menlo took another shot in the 57th minute which narrowly missed the goal. The Bears fired back with Cotto assisting Guenin’s second goal: a placement shot to the left corner, increasing the Bears’ lead to 2-0.
Menlo responded with a breakaway, passing all of M-A’s defenders, but Sandoval dove and forced Menlo’s shot wide right. Guenin cleared the resulting corner kick by Menlo with a header.
The Bears continued their strong offense with a shot by center-defender Ali Sivilotti off defender Grace Brieger’s corner. Menlo then pressured M-A’s defense and attempted a goal that hit the right post with 15 minutes left on the clock.
In the 76th minute, Brieger dribbled around three opponents and scored M-A’s third goal. Then, with five minutes remaining, Nicole Salz scored off a corner kick. In the final two minutes, McNerney scored by shooting over the Menlo defenders and the Menlo goalkeeper, finishing off the scrimmage for a Bears victory.
The team’s 5-0 shutout ended the preseason on a high note, and the Bears are looking forward to a great Peninsula Athletic League season.