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Volleyball trio moves closer to clinching league titles

The Sacred Heart Prep, Palo Alto and Menlo-Atherton girls' volleyball teams moved a step closer to securing their respective league titles with solid victories on Tuesday night.

Sacred Heart Prep remained atop the West Bay Athletic League (Foothill Division) standings by one game with a 25-21, 9-25, 25-17, 25-21 victory over host Castilleja.

Senior Ellie Shannon continued her standout season with 16 kills for the visiting Gators (8-0, 25-4) while fellow seniors Payton Smith (13 kills, three blocks) and Cammie Merten (32 assists, 12 digs) also contributed in a big way.

Castilleja (2-6, 14-14) was led by senior Lucy Tashman, who produced 20 kills, 17 digs and three blocks. Madeline Johnson added seven kills and Hannah Hsieh dished out 38 assists and had 17 digs.

Remaining just a game back of SHP in the WBAL Foothill Division was Menlo School, which rolled to a 25-11, 25-23, 25-13 victory over visiting Priory. The Knights moved to 6-1 in league (19-10 overall) with three matches remaining -- the final one against visiting SHP on Nov. 1.

Junior outside hitter Maddie Huber led Menlo with 12 kills and 10 digs. Sarah Bruml and Emma Thygesen each added nine kills with middle blocker Morgan Dressel finishing with six kills while hitting .500. Elisa Merten had 37 assists as the Knights hit .318 as a team.

Briana Willhite led Priory (3-5, 16-8) with 11 kills.

In the SCVAL De Anza Division, Palo Alto moved closer to securing the crown with a 25-10, 25-15, 25-20 victory over visiting Lynbrook. The Vikings improved to 10-1 in the division (21-4 overall) and continues to maintain a one-game lead over second-place Homestead.

The Mustangs (9-2 league) are the last remaining threat to overcoming Palo Alto after they knocked off Los Gatos (8-3) in four sets on Tuesday. Paly has three matches left, including a home date with Los Gatos on Tuesday that should decide the division title.

Becca Raffel had 12 kills and Shelby Knowles finished with 11 in the win over Lynbrook. Raffel had only one hitting error in 21 swings. She also served three aces and had four digs. Sophia Bono (18 assists) and Sarah Limb (13 assists) led the ball-handling department while Keri Gee and Knowles each added 10 digs.

In the PAL Bay Division, Menlo-Atherton had to battle for a 25-17, 21-25, 25-23, 25-21 victory over host Burlingame to maintain its one-game lead over Carlmont. The Bears (11-0, 21-7) were led by senior Katelyn Doherty's 15 digs, 15 kills and 18 assists.

Junior Pauli King added 21 digs and 15 kills, Eliza Guiterrez-Dewar served five aces, Kaitlin Tavarez finished with 22 assists and Ally Ostrow added five kills and 17 digs for the Bears, who have three matches remaining -- including a title-decider at Carlmont on Nov. 1.

In other matches, Gunn (3-8, 11-13) dropped a 25-17, 22-25, 25-11, 25-19 decision to host Mountain View in SCVAL De Anza Division play. Lena Latour paced the Titans, who can all but hand Paly the division title by beating visiting Homestead on Thursday.

Girls' water polo

Gunn clinched the SCVAL De Anza Division title with a 14-5 victory over host Lynbrook on Tuesday. The Titans (10-1, 14-5) also earned the No. 1 seed for the upcoming league tournament and a first-round bye.

Senior Lauren Lesyna paced the Titans with five goals with junior Caroline Anderson adding four and Rachel Wong three.

Elsewhere in the division, host Palo Alto celebrated Senior Day with a 7-5 victory over Los Altos. The Vikings (7-3, 11-8) will close the regular season at Gunn on Thursday at 6:45 p.m.

In the PAL Ocean Division, host Menlo School won its sixth straight with a 17-3 dunking of San Mateo. Kaelen Dunn scored three goals to pace the Knights (10-2, 11-5) with Lindsay Montgomery, Audrey Flower, Esmee Morris and Yasmine El-Hage all scoring twice.

Boys' water polo

Host Palo Alto played second-place Los Altos tough throughout the match before finally dropping a 12-11 overtime decision on Tuesday. The Vikings (6-5, 12-7) rallied from two goals down entering the final period to tie and force the extra periods.

Bret Pinsker led Paly with four goals with Quinn Rockwell adding two.

The Gunn at Monta Vista match was not reported.

In the PAL Ocean Division, Priory remained winless following a 15-8 loss to San Mateo. Will Xu and Kyle Walden each scored twice for the Panthers (0-10, 1-12).

— Palo Alto Online Sports

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