Palo Alto can take a step closer to winning its fifth straight SCVAL De Anza Division girls' volleyball title when the Vikings visit Homestead on Tuesday night at 6:45 p.m. A victory will clinch no worse than a tie for the division crown with Los Gatos (9-2), which closes its regular season on Thursday against Monta Vista.
Should Palo Alto (9-1, 32-1) win on Tuesday, it can wrap up the outright title on Thursday against visiting Los Altos on Senior Night.
Palo Alto begins the week ranked No. 67 in the nation, No. 17 in the state and No. 13 in the state among Division I schools, according to MaxPreps.com. Presentation (San Jose) is the No. 1 team in the country.
The Vikings made their final tuneup for their championship drive by going 5-0 and winning the Milpitas Spikefest II tournament on Saturday. It was Paly's sixth straight tourney crown, dating to last season.
Palo Alto defeated St. Ignatius, 25-20, 25-23, in the Gold Division finale after battling for a 19-25, 25-17, 15-13 triumph over Burlingame in the semifinals. Paly also swept Cupertino (25-7, 25-13), Valley Christian (25-22, 25-17) and Aptos (25-23, 25-17) in pool play.
Junior Melanie Wade led Paly with 58 kills (.466 hitting), 12 blocks, 13 digs and two aces. Senior Trina Ohms added 37 kills, 21 digs and two aces while Shelby Knowles contributed nine kills, nine aces and 23 digs. Junior setting Kim Whitson provided 86 assists, 13 digs, 12 kills, eight blocks and six aces to the weekend sweep while Caroline Martin had 20 kills, 10 digs and three blocks with Megan Coleman finishing with 54 digs, six assists and three aces.
Gunn (25-6) also had a busy time at the Spikefest II, going 3-2 while finishing 11th out of 32 teams. The Titans opened with a loss to Sacred Heart Cathedral (25-17, 25-21) before beating Lincoln (SF), 25-18, 23-25, 15-9. The Titans downed Harbor (25-11, 20-25, 17-15) before losing to Notre Dame-Belmont (25-12, 25-12) and then topping Menlo School (25-21, 22-25, 15-11).
Gunn (10-0), which already has wrapped up the SCVAL El Camino Division title, will close its regular season this week at Wilcox on Tuesday and at home against Fremont on Thursday, both at 6:45 p.m.
Menlo School finished 2-3 in the tournament at Independence High in San Jose, finishing 12th. The Knights opened with a 25-12, 25-21 win over Gilroy, lost to Carlmont (27-25, 27-29, 15-13), defeated Carmel (25-12, 20-25, 15-9), lost to Gunn and lost to Valley Christian (25-22, 25-18).
Menlo (19-13) will return to West Bay Athletic League (Foothill Division) action on Tuesday at 6:15 p.m., hosting co-leader Sacred Heart Prep (7-1, 17-9) on Senior Night. Menlo will recognize Molly Crowe, Anelise Hohl, Jazmin Moledine and Emily Ryles in their final regular-season home match.