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Menlo girls win Western States lacrosse title

Knights score 55 goals while going 4-0 to claim championship

The Menlo School girls' lacrosse team went 4-0 and captured its division in the annual Western States Tournament on Treasure Island on Saturday. The title was the Knights' second since 2008, the last time they competed in this event.

Menlo defeated Thacher School of Ojai, 14-3, and then topped Carlsbad, 15-5, in the opening matches in the morning. Menlo was the only team to go 2-0 in pool play and earned the No. 1 seed.

The Knights met No. 4 seed Carlsbad in the semifinal round after only a short rest for both teams. Carlsbad gave Menlo the most competitive half of the day, trailing just 7-5 at halftime. But Menlo, which is playing very cohesive lacrosse these days, simply rallied to allow just one goal in the second half and finished the game on top,15-6.

Meanwhile, Thacher had lost to Palo Alto in the morning, but then beat the Vikings in its thrilling semifinal to advance to the championship game. Menlo once more was ready and poised for the challenge, and led 7-1 at half. Menlo scored five more times to claim the title with a 11-2 victory. The sweetest goal of the day was the last, when senior attacker Annie Madding scored off a lefty challenge on the run, on her birthday.

Menlo scored 55 goals in the four wins, with 21 of them assisted. Menlo senior tri-captain middie Maggie Brown (Georgetown-bound) dominated the field with her presence, speed, purpose and tenacity. In the first game against Carlsbad, Brown and freshman middie Michaela Michael scored eight combined consecutive goals in the first half. Brown contributed a total of 22 points (17 goals, five assists) on the day, and right alongside of her, as usual, was Michael with 26 total points (18g, 8a). Five of Michael's assists were to Brown.

Brown and Michael had the power and precision shots, and extremely high-shooting percentages. (Brown barely missed as every shot was precise and on-target). They were ably joined by the rest of the shooting squad with multiple of goals by senior tri-captain middies Mila Sheeline and Natalie Williford, junior attackers Kyra Vargas and Taylor Jones, sophomores Sophie Sheeline and Kacie Madeira, and frosh Brooke Bullington.

The defense of seniors Emma Southgate and Katie Hopkins, junior Monica Rosenkranz, and frosh Ali Kim was solid, with help from juniors Sarah Graham-Helwig and Madeleina Halley. The goalie duo of junior Rachel Star and frosh rookie Hannah Rubin is proving to be a great combination for Menlo. Right now Menlo is playing at the top of its game, and is already focusing on what is surely to be its next challenge -- Sacred Heart Prep on April 23 at SHP in their second West Bay Athletic League meeting of the season.

Baseball

Palo Alto won its 13th straight game and its 15th in the past 16 outings with a 14-4 nonleague triumph over host Leland on Saturday. The Vikings pounded out 17 hits while improving to 18-3.

Wade Hauser, Drake Swezey and Joc Pederson all hit home runs. Hauser had two hits and four RBI while T.J. Braff had three hits and two RBI. Scott Witte (6-2) got the win, thanks to 12 runs from his teammates over the first four innings.

Palo Alto returns to SCVAL De Anza Division action on Wednesday against visiting Monta Vista at 3:30 p.m. The Vikings (10-0) have a two-game lead over second-place Los Gatos (8-2), which was beaten twice by Wilcox last week.

At Gunn, the Titans dropped a nonleague contest to visiting Carlmont on Saturday, 6-1. The Scots jumped to a three-run lead in the first on four hits, sparked by a two-out, two-run double by Colton Hicks. Gunn got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the first after Jon Rea hit a triple and then scored on a double by Travis Bowers.

Carlmont again scored three runs on four hits in the fifth inning. This time it was Christian Conte slamming a two-run double. Gunn had baserunners every inning, including the bases loaded with nobody out in the third, but couldn't put the hits together to score the runs. Gunn's Danny Luskin did a nice job pitching in relief as he retired all six batters that he faced in the sixth and seventh innings.

Host Sacred Heart Prep finished off a good week with a 3-2 nonleague victory over visiting Lowell of San Francisco in a nonleague game Saturday. The Gators (7-8-1) won three times this week. Ryan Lockareff had a pinch-hit two-run double with the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh a double for the deciding runs while Kevin Wilkins (6-0) picked up his second win in relief in as many days.

Boys' lacrosse

Palo Alto suffered a 13-5 nonleague loss to visitng Corona del Mar on Saturday. The Vikings (10-2) got a chance to test themselves against an elite team from Southern California and discovered that they have a ways to go yet before they can play with the state's best.

After an early 1-0 lead behind Kris Hoglund's dodge and goal, Paly watched Corona del Mar score 10 straight to take a commanding lead. The visitors dominated time of possession, face-offs (11 of 17), and shots (30 versus 11). Corona's Ryan Mix showed why he is a D-1 recruit headed for Notre Dame as he tallied four goals for the Sea Kings.

Palo Alto was paced by senior middie Kevin Proceviat with three goals. Goalie Josh Chin recorded an impressive 16 saves for the Vikings. Corona scored six man-up goals as Paly had 10 personal fouls; Palo Alto notched one man-up goal after four man-up opportunities.

Track and field

Catherine Carpenter of Menlo-Atherton and Rachel Skokowski of Castilleja each won a pair of event to highlight local efforts at the Serra Top 7 Invitational on Saturday.

Carpenter, a sophomore, won the girls' 200 (26.50) and 400 (59.14) while Skokowski took the 800 (2:25.16) and 1,600 (5:16.93).

In the boys' events, M-A junior Jason McGhee won the 800 in a fast 1:55.4 while teammate Adrian Carpenter won the 300 intermediate hurdles (40.93). Carpenter also took second in the 110 high hurdles in 15.78.

-- Palo Alto Online Sports/Jen Lee of Menlo and Tom Hoglund of Palo Alto contributing.

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