While Saratoga and Monta Vista are the odds-on-favorites to reach the Central Coast Section girls' tennis finals this season, don't count out Menlo School just yet. The Knights threw their hat into the ring of contenders with a 6-1 nonleague win over St. Francis on Thursday at Cuesta Park in Mountain View.
"It was our best match of the year, I think," said Menlo coach Bill Shine. "It was pretty impressive."
Menlo (5-2) pretty much dominated as only one match went to a super tiebreaker. The Knights' lineup featured freshmen Kristy Jorgensen at No. 2 singles and Christine Eliazo at No. 3 and sophomore Angela Gradiska at No. 4. All three were victorious.
Shine also welcomed back sophomore Saga Shermis, who had missed the previous six matches. Shermis, who played No. 2 singles last season, teamed with Eliza Adams at No. 1 doubles and the duo won easily, 6-1, 6-0.
"That made a big difference in doubles," Shine said of Shermis's return.
In the SCVAL De Anza Division on Thursday, Palo Alto (1-2, 3-3) gained its first league win with a solid 6-1 triumph at Homestead. Mira Khanna, Chloe Lischinsky and Sammy Solomon all won in straight sets at the top three singles spots for the Vikings.
At Gunn, the Titans took on Monta Vista and suffered an expected 7-0 loss while winning just seven games in the four singles matches.
In the PAL Bay Division, Menlo-Atherton won its second straight 4-3 match, this time over host Mills on Thursday. The outcome wasn't as close at it appeared, however, as the Bears grabbed a 4-0 lead.
Erin LaPorte clinched the victory by registering a 3-6, 6-0, 6-3 victory at No. 3 singles. Sophomore Jordan Capelle made a successful varsity debut with a 6-3, 6-3 win at No. 4 singles for the Bears (3-1 in league). Paige Keating won her No. 1 singles match, 6-2, 6-1, to get the Bears off to a good start.
Menlo-Atherton will play host to Sacred Heart Prep on Friday at 3:45 p.m.
Palo Alto won its 20th straight match as senior Trina Ohms and junior Melanie Wade each had 16 kills to lead a 25-19, 25-10, 25-12 sweep of Monta Vista in SCVAL De Anza Division action on Thursday night.
Wade hit .625 and Ohms hit .400 to lead the way while junior Kimmy Whitson added 28 assists. Megan Coleman, one of only two seniors on the team, contributed 11 digs while junior Maddie Kuppe had six kills and five digs in the quick match.
Palo Alto will put its 2-0 league mark on the line Tuesday when the Vikings visit Mountain View in an early showdown. Paly has won 54 of its past 56 matches.
In SCVAL El Camino Division action, Gunn (2-0, 14-4) remained atop the standings with a 25-22, 26-24, 25-21 victory over visiting Milpitas on Thursday.
In the PAL Bay Division, Menlo-Atherton (2-0, 8-5) remained atop the standings with a 25-8, 25-11, 25-17 romp over host Hillsdale. Regina Mullen had 10 kills and five digs for the Bears while Sofi King added 10 assists and six digs while Diane Seely finished with eight blocks and six kills.
In nonleague action, Sacred Heart Prep (8-6) put up a fight before dropping a 25-20, 20-25, 25-23, 25-19 decision to host Notre Dame-Belmont. Jesse Ebner led the Gators with 17 kills while Amelia Alvarez had 41 assists.