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SHP girls win key WCAL water polo showdown

 

For those who thought that Sacred Heart Prep's victory over St. Francis in last weekend's Amanda MacDonald Invitational water polo tournament was a fluke, the Gators proved that it wasn't by beating the Lancers again in a West Catholic Athletic League showdown.

The latest meeting was a little closer -- Sacred Heart Prep won, 8-6 -- but the Gators demonstrated once again how dominant they can be on defense as they improved to 10-1 (2-0 in the WCAL). SHP beat St. Francis on Saturday, 8-4, in the championship match of the MacDonald with another stellar defensive effort.

"We beat them on Saturday in the finals of the Amanda Mac tournament and knew that last night's match was going to be much different," said SHP coach Jon Burke. "It is hard to beat a good team twice in a three-day span and we were able to rise to the occasion. I thought that are center play from Sarah Westcott was outstanding. She drew four exclusions and earned two penalty shots over the course of the game. She also scored a goal."

Pippa Temple scored four goals for SHP on Tuesday evening, matching her total from Saturday's title match. Senior goalie Catherine Donahoe needed only eight saves as the Gators' defense did another standout job of helping protect the cage.

As was the case Saturday, SHP jumped out to an early lead and took a 3-1 lead into halftime. That proved huge as the teams played evenly in the second half with five goals apiece. Erin Sheridan added two goals for the Gators.

By getting past the Lancers, Sacred Heart Prep effectively clinched no worse than a tie for the WCAL regular season title with still four matches to play. The only league opponent with a real chance to upset the Gators is St. Ignatius, which hosts SHP on Thursday at 3:30 p.m.

"We have S.I. tomorrow. It is at their pool, which is always a bit of a wild card," Burke said. "This is an important week for us, with two WCAL games against two of the top teams in CCS. We are happy with last night's win, but now have to get ready to play S.I."

The Sacred Heart Prep boys weren't as fortunate in their WCAL showdown with St. Francis, dropping an 11-6 decision. The Lancers (2-0, 10-0), who won the 32-team CCS-NCS Challenge last weekend and now have won two tournaments this season, scored five times in the second period to take a 6-5 halftime lead. A 4-0 blowout in the third quarter made the difference.

Palo Alto resident Peter Simon led St. Francis with four goals. Andrew Savage tallied three goals for SHP (1-1, 5-2) but scoring leader Philip Bamberg was held to just a single goal. Bamberg scored 17 goals in the CCS-NCS tourney. Sophomore goalie Will Runkel had 15 saves for the Gators.

In the PAL Ocean Division, the Priory boys bounced back from a disappointing loss last week to hand visiting Hillsdale a 10-7 loss on Tuesday.

The Panthers trailed 6-5 heading into the fourth quarter before scoring four unanswered goals from Kyle Walden, Matthew Putnam and John Jernick, who tallied twice. Goalie Daniel Warner made two big penalty-shot blocks in the fourth period to help stave off any potential Hillsdale comeback. Jernick finished with four goals while Putnam scored three goals for the Panthers (2-2).

In a SCVAL De Anza Division girls' match, Gunn (3-1, 6-1) remained a game back of first-place Los Altos following a 7-4 victory over visiting Los Gatos on Tuesday.

The Los Gatos-Gunn boys' match was not reported.

Girls tennis

Sacred Heart Prep opened its West Bay Athletic League (Foothill Division) season with a 5-2 victory at Notre Dame-San Jose on Tuesday.

The Gators (1-0, 7-2) swept the singles while losing only 10 games. Elysa Kohrs led the way at No. 1 with a 6-1, 6-0 triumph that helped clinched things before doubles finished up.

In the SCVAL De Anza Division, Gunn (1-3, 6-6) took on unbeaten and CCS favorite Saratoga and managed to win one match before dropping a 6-1 decision to the visiting Falcons. Cara Lai and Angela Juang registered a 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-5) win at No. 1 doubles for the Titans.

In the WBAL (Skyline Division), host Priory battled for three hours in hot conditions before finally pulling out a hard-earned 4-3 victory over visiting Mercy-San Francisco to open the division season.

The Panthers' No. 1 doubles team of Rachel Lazarus and Lizzie Somers rallied from a 4-1 deficit in the first set to win five straight games and take the first set, 6-4. The tandem easily won the second set, 6-1, to clinch the match.

Kimberly Carlisle won at No. 1 singles, 6-2, 6-3, for Priory while Raiyah Panchal took care of No. 2 singles and Emma Beriker did likewise at No. 4 singles to set up the deciding doubles match.

-- Keith Peters

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