Menlo School saw its record-breaking girls' volleyball season come to an end in a 21-25, 30-28, 25-15, 25-16 loss to San Diego champion Francis Parker (29-5) in the CIF Division IV state championship match on Saturday at Santiago Canyon College in Orange County.
The NorCal champion Knights (32-6) finished the season with the most single-season wins in school history while reaching the state finals for a fifth time -- but dropping to 0-5 in those title matches.
Francis Parker finished with its second straight Division IV state title -- the Lancers beat Sacred Heart Prep last year -- and the eighth overall in school history.
Menlo looked in good shape early on as it used a 7-2 run to take a 16-12 lead in the first set. The Lancers got to within 23-21 before kills by seniors Maddy Frappier and Maddie Huber put Menlo into the lead.
The Knights took a 5-1 lead in the second set behind three kills by senior Morgan Dressel and eventually held a 24-18 lead on an ace by Huber.
Menlo, however, could not close out the match as Francis Parker went on a 6-0 run to tie the match at 24. After five more ties, the Lancers pulled out a 30-28 win and grabbed momentum for the remainder of the match.
Menlo was never the same after that, falling behind by 20-7 in the third set and 10-1 in the fourth before rallying in both to avoid a rout.
Menlo was led by Lida Vandermeer's 15 kills and 10 by Maddie Stewart. Elisa Merten had 37 assists and libero Melissa Cairo received the Sportsmanship Award. Among the many standouts for Francis Parker was senior libero Sarah Benjamin, who is headed for Stanford next fall.