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M-A and SHP girls pull shockers in tennis

 

On paper, the Menlo-Atherton and Sacred Heart Prep girls' tennis teams were expected to be done for the season following the second round of the Central Coast Section Team Tournament. Fortunately for the Bears and Gators, they made the most of their opportunity to prove the seedings wrong.

The unseeded Bears shocked No. 6 seed St. Ignatius, 4-3, in Golden Gate Park while the unseeded Gators upended West Bay Athletic League rival Harker, 4-2, in San Jose.

The victories moved both teams into Friday's quarterfinals, where they will face even more difficult opposition. Menlo-Atherton (15-5) will make the short trip to Menlo School to take on the No. 3-seeded Knights (18-5) at 2:30 p.m. Sacred Heart Prep (17-6) gets the unenviable task of facing top seed Saratoga (19-0) on the Falcons' court, also at 2:30 p.m.

On paper, neither the Bears nor the Gators have a chance on Friday. Then again, that was supposed to be the case Wednesday.

On a cold and clear afternoon in San Francisco, M-A used its depth in doubles and at the bottom of the singles lineup to shock the favored Wildcats. The match was tied at 3 before M-A's No. 1 doubles team of Chloe Rehlaender and Jordyn Fantuzzi rallied from a 6-4 loss in the first set and won the next two, 6-2, 6-1, to clinch the thrilling victory.

St. Ignatius grabbed a quick lead when nationally ranked Caroline Doyle dispatched M-A's Paige Keating at No. 1 singles, 6-1, 6-0. The Bears notted things when Erin LaPorte won her No. 3 singles match, 6-1, 6-0. The Wildcats regained the lead when the Bears' Julia Sommer fell at No. 2 singles, 6-1, 6-1, before M-A's Lauren Diller made it 2-2 with a 7-6 (7-1, 6-2 triumph at No. 4 singles.

All three doubles matches were still in progress at that point, with M-A's No. 2 tandem of Siena Roat-Shumway and Lindy LaPlante giving their team a 3-2 lead with a 7-5, 6-3 win. The No. 1 and 3 doubles matches then went to a third set, with Rehaender and Fantuzzi clinching the team triumph before the No. 3 doubles finished.

Sacred Heart Prep's upset win wasn't as dramatic, but nonetheless effective. The teams had split their WBAL regular-season matches, with the Gators winning their second meeting, 4-3. In that match, the teams split the singles. This time, Harker held a 2-1 lead (with No. 2 singles halted due to darkness. Thus, just like in the previous match, doubles decided it.

Kelsey Hemm and Alexa Bokman posted a 6-2, 6-4 victory at No. 1 doubles (Hemm and Isabelle Thompson had won previously) while Ceci Marshall and Danni Struck registered a 6-2, 4-6, 7-5 victory at No. 2 (they also had won in three sets in the prior match). The difference turned out to be at No. 3 doubles, where Nicole Schulz and Ruthy Sarwal scored a 6-2, 7-5 win. In the previous match, Schulz and Sarwal had lost in three sets.

In the only second-round match that went true to form on Wednesday, No. 3 Menlo ended Palo Alto's season with a 6-1 victory. The Vikings finished 12-8 after being the last team to squeeze into the tournament.

Girls' volleyball

Fifth-seeded Menlo School went on the road to beat No. 12 Half Moon Bay in the first round of the CCS Division IV playoffs, 20-25, 25-21, 25-14, 25-18. Getting 16 kills from senior Jazmin Moledina, the Knights improved to 21-15 overall, and the 12th-seeded Cougars finished the year at 25-6.

We really struggled at the start, but the girls fought hard to come back in the second set and turn the match around," said Menlo coach Chris Crader. "Jazmin played as well as she ever has, and we slowly pieced our game back together as the match went on. We know we really have our hands full with Sacred Heart Prep Saturday, but we look forward to the challenge."

Menlo will face No. 4 SHP (18-10) on Saturday in a quarterfinal match at Valley Christian in San Jose at 11 a.m. The Gators defeated the Knights twice during the WBAL regular season.

Against HMB, Menlo got a huge night from Moledina, who hit .481 with 16 kills, 10 blocks and an ace. Junior Natalie Roy added 10 kills and 13 digs, and freshman Maddie Huber had six kills, 15 digs and two aces. Senior Anelise Hohl and sophomore Drew Edelman had five kills each, and freshmen Maddy Frappier recorded 33 assists, eight digs, four kills, three aces and five blocks.

After losing the first set, the Knights fell behind 13-19 in set two. But Menlo finally found its rhythm, and an 8-0 run on sophomore Kendyl Denenberg's serve sparked a comeback. By that point, Moledina had also heated up (15 kills eight blocks, an ace and a .619 hitting percentage over the last three games, accounting for 24 of Menlo's 75 points), and the Knights were able to advance to the quarterfinals.

In CCS Division I first-round action, Julia Maggioncalda had 18 kills as Gunn won its first playoff match in three years with a 25-14, 25-23, 20-25, 25-22 win over Homestead in front of a raucous crowd on Wednesday night.

The No. 7-seeded Titans (28-6) will visit No. 2 North Salinas (27-4) in a quarterfinal match Saturday at 3 p.m. North Salinas is the defending CCS Division I champion.

Against Homestead, from the SCVAL De Anza Division, the El Camino Division champion Titans got seven kills from sophomore Molly McAdam had six from senior Kiana Choroski. Adrienne Thom had 23 digs and Julia Li had 18. Maggioncalda and Nicole Grimwood both had 11 digs while setter Alyn Shen had 32 assists.

The Titans took control early in Game 1 and never looked back, with serving runs from several players as they surged out to a comfortable lead.

Games 2, 3, and 4 were far different, as Homestead began to exploit certain areas of the Gunn defense and began playing more consistently. The Titans were behind late in each game, and thanks to the clutch serving of Li and hitting of Maggioncalda, were able to come from behind in Games 2 and 4 to earn the victory.

Girls' water polo

Seventh-seeded Menlo School controlled the match from the outset, grabbing a 5-2 first-quarter lead on the way to a 13-9 triumph over No. 10 Live Oak on Wednesday at Palo Alto High.

The Knights (9-12) took advantage of their strong 2-meter play by freshman Averi Westerman and senior Morgan Cundiff, who finished with four and three goals, respectively. Senior Hailey Smith contributed three goals, six steals and four assists.

Menlo advances to face No. 2 seed Los Altos (18-6) on Saturday in the quarterfinals at Sacred Heart Prep at 2 p.m.

Also at Palo Alto, the host Vikings (16-13) held up their No. 5 seed with a 10-2 victory over No. 12 Santa Teresa as junior Skylar Dorosin tallied six goals. Paly will face No. 4 seed Gunn (21-5) in the quarterfinals on Saturday at Lynbrook at 5:50 p.m. The teams have met three times previously this season with Gunn holding a 2-1 edge.

GIRLS TENNIS

First round (Tuesday)

Menlo-Atherton 7, Scotts Valley 0

Palo Alto 7, Los Gatos 0

R.L. Stevenson 6, Monterey 1

Mountain View 4, Carmel 3

Notre Dame-Belmont 4, Carlmont 3

Aragon 4, Sobrato 3

Sacred Heart Prep 4, Evergreen Valley 2

Leland 6, Salinas 1

Second round (Wednesday)

Menlo-Atherton 4, St. Ignatius 3

Menlo 6, Palo Alto 1

Burlingame 6, R.L. Stevenson 1

Monta Vista 7, Mountain View 0

St. Francis 5, ND-Belmont 2

Mitty 7, Aragon 0

Sacred Heart Prep 4, Harker 2

Saratoga 7, Leland 0

Quarterfinals (Friday), 2:30 p.m.

Menlo-Atherton at Menlo

Burlingame at Monta Vista

St. Francis vs. Mitty at Decathlon Club

Sacred Heart Prep at Saratoga

Semifinals on Monday at Courtside Tennis Club

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

DIVISION I

First round (Wednesday)

San Benito d. Silver Creek, 25-21, 25-18, 25-21

Gunn d. Homestead, 25-14, 25-23, 20-25, 25-22

Carlmont d. Gilroy, 25-16, 25-8, 25-13

Monta Vista d. Watsonville, 25-10, 25-20, 25-21

Quarterfinals (Saturday)

No. 1 Palo Alto (34-1) vs. No. 8 Monta Vista (16-13) at Valley Christian, 1 p.m.

No. 7 Gunn (28-6) at No. 2 North Salinas (27-4), 3 p.m.

No. 5 Carlmont (20-13) vs. No. 4 Salinas (23-8) at North Salinas High, 11 a.m.

No. 3 Menlo-Atherton (20-7) vs. No. 6 San Benito (18-18) at North Salinas, 1 p.m.

DIVISION IV

First round (Wednesday)

Mercy-San Francisco d. Carmel, 25-16, 25-18, 25-22

King City d. Harbor, 25-9, 25-20, 25-21

Menlo School d. Half Moon Bay, 20-25, 25-21, 25-14, 25-18

Notre Dame-Salinas d. Harker, 25-22, 25-15, 15-25, 18-25, 15-12

Quarterfinals (Saturday)

No. 5 Menlo (21-15) vs. No. 4 Sacred Heart Prep (18-10) at Valley Christian, 11 a.m.

No. 11 Mercy-SF (23-9) vs. No. 3 Mercy-Burlingame (24-10) at Sacred Heart Cathedral, 3 p.m.

No. 7 King City (19-9) vs. No. 2 Notre Dame-Belmont (24-11) at Watsonville, 1 p.m.

No. 9 Notre Dame-Salinas (21-13) vs. No. 1 Soquel (26-6) at Aptos, 11 a.m.

DIVISION V

Quarterfinals (Saturday)

No. 1 Castilleja (25-8) vs. No. 9 Alma Heights (13-8) at Sacred Heart Cathedral, 1 p.m.

No. 3 Crystal Springs (19-9) vs. No. 6 St. Thomas More (21-12) at Harker, 3 p.m.

No. 2 Mt. Madonna (23-8) vs. No. 7 Pacific Collegiate (15-6) at Watsonville, 11 a.m.

No. 4 Santa Catalina (16-10) vs. No. 5 Anzar (16-9) at Watsonville, 3 p.m.

BOYS' WATER POLO

DIVISION I

First round (Tuesday)

Leland 11, Woodside 7

Palo Alto 17, Wilcox 8

Gunn 16, Salinas 11

Monta Vista 14, San Benito 9

Quarterfinals (Saturday)

No. 1 St. Francis (17-6) vs. No. 8 Gunn (13-11) at Lynbrook, 4:30 p.m.

No. 2 Bellarmine (14-11) vs. No. 7 Palo Alto (13-15) at Monta Vista, 2:30 p.m.

No. 3 Menlo-Atherton (16-7) vs. No. 6 Leland at Lynbrook, 12:20 p.m.

No. 4 Serra (14-11) vs. No. 5 Monta Vista at Monta Vista, 11:30 a.m.

DIVISION II

First round (Tuesday)

Live Oak 16, Half Moon Bay 9

Willow Glen 10, Carmel 8

Quarterfinals (Saturday)

No. 8 Willow Glen (12-8) at No. 1 Sacred Heart Prep; (17-9), 10 a.m.

No. 2 Menlo (15-9) vs. No. 7 Live Oak (14-9) at Sacred Heart Prep, 12:40 p.m.

No. 3 Los Altos (20-6) vs. No. 6 Pioneer (15-12) at Sacred Heart Prep, 3:20 p.m.

No. 4 Soquel (17-6) vs. No. 5 Valley Christian at Monta Vista, 1 p.m.

GIRLS DIVISION I

First round (Wednesday)

Mitty 19, Lynbrook 1

Los Gatos 6, San Benito 5

Palo Alto 10, Santa Teresa 2

Sequoia 10, Gilroy 4

Quarterfinals (Saturday)

No. 1 Menlo-Atherton (15-9) vs. No. 9 Sequoia (11-5) at Lynbrook, 11 a.m.

No. 2 Leland (22-4) vs. No. 7 Los Gatos (14-11) at Lynbrook, 1:40 p.m.

No. 3 St. Francis (16-8) vs. No. 6 Mitty (14-9) at Lynbrook, 3 p.m.

No. 4 Gunn (21-5) vs. No. 5 Palo Alto (16-13) at Lynbrook, 5:50 p.m.

GIRLS DIVISION II

First round (Wednesday)

Pioneer 14, Santa Cruz 5

Menlo School 13, Live Oak 9

Presentation 14, R.L. Stevenson 3

Aragon 13, San Lorenzo Valley 8

Quarterfinals (Saturday)

No. 8 Aragon (11-11) at No. 1 Sacred Heart Prep (23-3), 11:20 a.m.

No. 2 Los Altos (18-6) vs. No. 7 Menlo (9-12) at Sacred Heart Prep, 2 p.m.

No. 3 Castilleja (15-9) vs. No. 6 Pioneer (17-6) at Sacred Heart Prep, 4:40 p.m.

-- Palo Alto Online Sports/Tom Jacoubowsky of gunntitans.com contributing

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