by Craig Wentz
Saratoga, CA – Menlo School is getting closer to its first-ever CCS title. After losing to Palo Alto by five goals in 1997, the Knights fell by two (10-8) in overtime to St. Francis last Saturday at West Valley College. Maybe next season will bring the Knights (25-11) that elusive title.
“We have a good group coming back,” said Menlo coach Keith Wilbur, who has watched his team come up just short two years running. “But we graduate a strong senior class.”
Menlo will lose starters Zac Selmon, Matt Bjorner, Sean Leow and goalie Joe Merlone, plus reserve Mihran Yenikomishian. All played key roles in sparking the Knights after they trailed by 8-5 in the fourth quarter.
“We never thought we were out of this game,” said Wilbur, whose team finally caught the Lancers on goals by Selmon and Parker Emmott to send the match into a mandatory two overtime periods.
Menlo went into overtime, however, without junior John Briscoe, who had three ejections in the fourth quarter and had to sit out the remainder of the contest.
“That really hurt us,” Wilbur said of losing Briscoe, who had scored two goals against the Lancers and produced five in a 14-5 semifinal win over Santa Cruz. “Not having Briscoe in there took someone out who we could go to.”
Brian Avon gave St. Francis the lead (9-8) with 30 seconds left in the first overtime and Rob Morris sank Menlo for good with a goal in the second OT.
Count on Menlo being back next year, however. The Knights had three juniors (Briscoe, Emmott and David Arscott) plus three sophomores (John Fogelson, John Blanchette and Jeff Swyrin) gain plenty of experience in the semifinals and final. Eric Schaefer, a junior, will take over in goal for Merlone, who had 14 fine saves against the Lancers.
From Palo Alto Weekly