Menlo School volleyball christens new facility

Knights officially open $18 million Athletic Center with triumph over San Mateo

In the first competition in Menlo School's new $18 million Athletic Center, the Knights' volleyball team gave the new facility a proper christening by defeating San Mateo, 25-13, 25-10, 13-25, 25-19, Thursday night.

"It was a really nice effort from each of the girls tonight," Menlo coach Chris Crader said. "They wanted to break in our new court with a victory. San Mateo played some amazing defense in the third and fourth games, so it was really nice to see our team respond to the challenge and play really well at the end."

In a new gym, Menlo (4-2) was led by a new face, as freshman Maddie Huber tallied career-bests of 14 kills and 19 digs to lead the way. Junior Natalie Roy added a career-high 12 kills and 10 digs, while sophomore Drew Edelman hit .462 with a career-best seven kills and two blocks

Menlo sophomore Kendyl Denenberg had a career-high 17 digs and sophomore Alexandra Ko added 38 assists and 11 digs. Seniors Anelise Hohl (five kills) and Emily Ryles (seven digs) helped steady the front and back rows, respectively, and freshman Maddy Frappier had career-bests of 10 digs and two aces to complement her five kills.

Also in Atherton, visiting Menlo-Atherton handed Sacred Heart Prep its first home loss of the season on Thursday night in nonleague action, 25-17, 21-25, 25-17, 19-25, 15-11. Sarah Daschbach led the Gators (5-3) with 14 kills and 21 digs while teammate Jesse Ebner had 15 kills and five block assists. The Bears improved to 3-3 after finishing 15th on the weekend at the Spikefest I tournament, where SHP took seventh.

In Campbell, Palo Alto (10-0) remained perfect with a 25-12, 25-12, 25-16 nonleague victory over host Westmont on Thursday. Senior Trina Ohms led the Vikings' offense with 10 kills while junior Melanie Wade added nine kills and four aces.

At Woodside, visiting Priory got its season off well with a big 19-25, 25-12, 25-19, 25-18 victory over the host Wildcats in a nonleague match. Priory next will play in a tournament in Santa Rosa this weekend.

Boys' water polo

Menlo-Atherton got its 2010 season off to a solid start at the John Schmitt Memorial Tournament on Thursday evening, defeating St. Mary's of Stockton 11-6 at Monta Vista High in Cupertino.

After a tentative first period that saw the score knotted at 2, first-year coach Marco Palazzo's Bears went on a 5-0 tear in the second quarter to break the game open. The third quarter saw lots of substitutions for M-A as it increased the lead to 11-5 before St. Mary's scored the lone goal in the final stanza.

Junior Max Wilder led the Bears with three goals and four steals that was almost matched by senior Graham McClelland's three goals and three steals. Nick Henze also rang up a hat trick for M-A. Rounding out the scoring were solo goals by Harrison Holland-McCowan and Hunter Carmichael. Standout junior goalie, Alex Gow recorded seven saves in the cage and also had an assist on one goal.

Menlo-Atherton returns to the Monta Vista pool on Friday at 1 p.m. to face the Campolindo-East Clovis first-round winner.

Girls' water polo

Facing one of the top teams in Northern California, Menlo School wasted no time bringing in tough competition by opening the season against visiting Davis. The Knights wound up dropping a 15-3 nonleague decision on Thursday evening as the Blue Devils scored 11 first-half goals.

Kaelan Dunn, Hailey Smith and freshman Averi Westerman scored for Menlo while Lindsay Montgomery and Donya Sheikhrezai made four saves each in goal.

"Throughout the game, they adjusted well," Menlo coach Sean Nolan said of his team. "Davis is a very physical team, a very fast team, and we protected ourselves better on defense and counter defense as the game went on."

Menlo will join Davis at the 16-team St. Francis Invitational in Mountain View on Friday and Saturday, facing the Blue Devils in the first round at Sacred Heart Prep.

"What's nice is that we play them (Friday)," Nolan said, "and hopefully we can carry some of those adjustments we made in the fourth quarter and start out with those in the next game."

-- Palo Alto Online Sports

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