Uploaded: Friday, September 14, 2012, 10:15 AM
Prep water polo kicks it into high gear with tourneys
|By Keith Peters
Palo Alto Online Sports
Sacred Heart Prep water polo coaches Jon Burke and Brian Kreutzkamp probably won't be worried all that much about results from their respective tournament play this weekend.
Burke has his SHP girls competing in the St. Francis Invitational while Kreutzkamp has his boys in a tourney in Santa Barbara. Burke's squad went 2-2 last year while Kreuztkamp's team was 1-3 in 2011. Neither performance hurt.
The SHP girls went on to win a fifth straight Central Coast Section Division II title while the boys captured their fifth section crown while making a ninth straight appearance in the CCS finals.
The Menlo School boys, meanwhile, captured last year's Scott Roche Invitational but wound up falling in the CCS Division II semifinals.
All three perennial CCS powers will be busy this weekend in their respective 16-team, two-day tournaments that kick off the high school water polo season.
While the SHP boys will be facing many of the top SoCal teams, the SHP girls will be limited to facing some of the top NorCal squads like St. Francis (Mt. View and Sacramento), Clovis West, Leland, Davis and Menlo-Atherton.
Sacred Heart Prep and Menlo-Atherton will meet in the first round on Friday in the Gators' pool at 3:30 p.m. Palo Alto will face St. Francis (Sacramento) at the same time in the host Lancers' pool.
In the Roche Invitational, La Jolla is traveling from Southern California but the remainder of the entrants hail from the north including De La Salle, Rio Americano, San Ramon Valley, Palo Alto and Menlo-Atherton.
Menlo (1-0) will host Mt. Carmel on Friday at noon while Palo Alto will host De La Salle at 1 p.m. Menlo-Atherton will play St. Mary's in the Vikings' pool at 3:45 p.m.
The Roche championship will be held Saturday at Menlo at 4:35 p.m., with the St. Francis title being decided in the Lancers' pool at 4 p.m.
In boys' water polo action Thursday:
Palo Alto got five goals for the second straight match from Bret Pinsker and Nolan Perla-Ward added three as the Vikings (2-0) held off visiting Los Altos, 12-7, in SCVAL De Anza Division action. Quinn Rockwell, Brian Berry, Scott Powell and Michael Kori added goals while goalies Brent Schroeder and Jake Weinstein combined for 11 saves.
In Millbrae, Kyle Walden unofficially set a Priory record with 11 goals in a 27-16 loss to host Mills on Thursday. Conor Bonfiglio tallied two scores in his first varsity match, while seniors Mike Schembri and Will Xu scored one a piece.
In girls' water polo Thursday:
Seniors Alyssa Meyer and Kaelen Dunn each scored four goals to pace visiting Menlo School to an 11-4 nonleague season-opening victory over host Mills. Five freshmen -- Lucy Henegan, Anna MIller, Michelle Meyer, Leslie Akin, and Esmee Morris -- made their prep debuts while senior goalie Lindsay Montgomery was solid in the cage.
At Palo Alto, the Vikings rallied from a 5-0 halftime deficit and made a game of it in the second half before dropping a 5-4 decision in SCVAL De Anza Division action.
Abbey Kinnaman and Martine LeClerc scored quickly in the third quarter to help the Vikings (1-1) get back into the game. In the fourth quarter, Paly made a strong comeback.Tess Van Hulsen scored with 2:15 left in the game, and Emma Wolfe made it a one-goal game with 57 seconds remaining. Palo Alto's defense shut down Los Gatos' attempt at another goal, but the Vikings' attempt at a counterattack ended as the buzzer rang.
In a good early season competitive match, Castilleja held off first-year Gunn, 219-228, in nonleague action at the par-37 Palo Alto Municipal Golf Course on Thursday.
"Both teams played really solid golf and, ultimately, Castilleja prevailed thanks to their top to bottom consistency," said Gunn coach Chris Redfield.
Castilleja (1-0) was led by Taylor Wilkerson's 3-over-par 40 and Dani Mitchell's 41. All six Castilleja players scored in the 40s, showing the Gators' depth. Gunn (2-1) was led by junior Jayshree Sarathy with an even-ar 37 and sophomore Anna Zhou with a 39. Freshman Tiffany Yang also posted a 44.
Menlo-Atherton (3-0, 5-2) remained perfect in the PAL Bay Division with a 5-2 victory over visiting Aragon on Thursday. A sweep in the doubles proved to be crucial for the Bears. Senior Valerie Giordano clinched the match with a 7-6, 6-0 victory at the No. 4 singles position.
Jenna Scandalios and Sara Vitale led the doubles at No. 1 while Caroline Kelley and Amelia Tiemann won at No. 2. Leila Volpe and Erin Perrine won at No. 3. Sophomores make up the No. 2 and 3 teams for the Bears.
In SCVAL El Camino Division action, host Gunn posted a 6-1 victory over Los Gatos at Cubberley Community Center. Alice Li, Lucy Oyeer and Stephanie Zhang swept the top three singles spots for the Titans (2-0, 4-4).
In SCVAL De Anza Division action, visiting Palo Alto defeated Mountain View, 6-1.
In a battle between two of the better teams in the Central Coast Section, Division IV power Menlo School toppled Division I contender Menlo-Atherton, 25-22, 25-20, 28-30, 25-14 in nonleague action in the Bears' gym on Thursday.
"The team played at a very high level tonight," said Menlo coach Atlee Hubbard, a former standout player at M-A. "What I really liked about our play tonight was our ability to stay in control of our side and not allow M-A's long rallies or loud cheering section wear us down. Once our passers and defense found a rhythm, it was hard for M-A to stop our front-row attack."
Elisa Merten spread the offense well, finishing with 36 assists while allowing the Menlo hitters to be successful a high percentage of the time. Maddie Huber led the Knights (5-3) team in offense and defense with 13 kills and 24 digs. Emma Thygesen added 10 kills, and Morgan Dressel and Sarah Bruml each added eight apiece. Melissa Cairo finished with 17 digs.
Ali Spindt led the Bears (0-3) with 38 digs and 21 assists. Alyssa Ostrow added 11 kills, Katelyn Doherty finished with eight kills and Virginia Lane had seven kills for M-A, which is still dealing with some injuries.
In Atherton, Sacred Heart Prep tuned up for a big weekend at the Harbor Invitational in Santa Cruz by topping visiting Los Altos, 25-15, 20-25, 25-17, 25-20 in nonleague action Thursday night. Senior Sonia Abuel-Saud led the Gators (9-1) with 14 kills and 21 digs with sophomore Victoria Garrick providing a solid performance with 12 kills and 12 digs.
Senior Payton Smith added 12 kills and six blocks for SHP with senior Ellie Shannon finishing with eight kills and three blocks. Senior Helen Gannon helped lead the defense with 25 digs while Natalie Marshall and Cammie Merten each had 23 assists.
In Sunnyvale, Palo Alto also tuned up for Saturday's annual Harbor Invitational by sweeping host King's Academy, 25-17, 25-13, 25-22 in nonleague action on Thursday night. Senior Shelby Knowles had 19 kills to lead the Vikings (7-2), while junior Becca Raffel added eight kills and eight digs. Senior Sophia Bono provided 37 assists and six digs while junior Keri Gee finished with 11 digs and three aces. Sophomore Jade Schoenberger added seven kills as coach Dave Winn continues to use the preseason to get a lot of his young players into matches.
In Portola Valley, Priory continued its recent success by defeating visiting Woodside, 25-15, 25-19, 25-19 in nonleague action on Thursday night. The Panthers, who won a tournament on Saturday and now are 4-2, had a good night in the serve-and-pass game with nine aces. Stephanie Brugger and Marine Hall-Poirier led the team offensively by hitting .330 and .300, respectively. Stephanie Swan added 26 assists.
In San Mateo, senior Lucy Tashman came up big with 20 kills and 20 digs, but it still wasn't enough as Castilleja fell to host Mercy-Burlingame, 25-14, 25-19, 21-25, 23-25, 13-15, in nonleague action at Serra High. Jessica Norum contributed 25 digs for the Gators (4-4).
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