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Menlo edges Paly in battle of league champs

 

The last time the Menlo School and Palo Alto girls' lacrosse teams competed on the Vikings' home field, both teams were playing for league championships.

The Knights wound up winning the West Bay Athletic League title while the Vikings captured the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League crown.

Both teams were back on the same field on Wednesday, but with a lot less at stake. Nonetheless, the top local teams from 2010 battled it out as if a championship was at stake with Menlo holding on for a 9-8 nonleague triumph.

"It was a great game," said veteran Menlo coach Jen Lee. "The goaltending overall, very competitive. Offenses both had strategies which were executed, and defenses were tenacious for both teams."

Lee said it was a match that either team could have won and that could have come down to whichever squad had the final possession.

"That team certainly could have been Paly, today," Lee said, "but for one definite factor of (Menlo goalie) Hannah Rubin with her final three massive saves in the final minutes of frenzied play."

Menlo (1-1) didn't take control until junior Savannah McKinnon scored off an assist from Michaela Michael with 7:49 left to play and Michael followed with what proved to be the game-winner at the 6:36 mark. That gave the Knights a 9-7 lead before Paly's Jordan Smith closed the gap with a goal with 4:35 remaining.

Both teams battled for control off the ensuing draw, and possession changed hands with a few fouls and turnovers. Paly kept firing away at Rubin, who repelled the final threats.

Michael, a sophomore, led Menlo with four goals while Nina Kelty and Kimmie Flather scored twice for Palo Alto.

In other girls' lacrosse action on Wednesday:

Sacred Heart Prep remained perfect on the season with a 16-4 romp over visiting Christian Brothers of Sacramento in nonleague action.

Freshman Caroline Cummings and Kendall Cody each scored four goals for the Gators (4-0) while Michelle Gonia and Isabelle Thompson added two each. Liz Eder and Blair Hamilton had their first goals of the season, as well.

Menlo-Atherton registered a forfeit win over Woodside, which didn't have enough players.

Meanwhile, the much-improved Sacred Heart Prep boys' team continued its perfect home streak with an 11-5 nonleague triumph over Los Altos on Wednesday.

Duncan Hoskinson scored three goals for the Gators (5-2), who improved to 5-0 at home. Frankie Hattler scored two goals and dished out six assists while Andrew Eifert, Trevor Ruegg and Brian White all scored twice.

Also in Atherton, host Menlo fell behind by three goals in the opening quarter and was unable to overcome the deficit and dropped an 8-5 to visiting Mountain View in a SCVAL match. Ryan Grzejka and Nick Schultz each scored twice for Menlo (2-1, 2-2) with Pete Foster adding a solo goal and Wiley Osborne contributing three assists.

Menlo next will play at Menlo-Atherton on Friday at 7 p.m.

The Bears got goals from Ryan Johnston, Kotaro Kihira, Nick Mullen and Drew Uphoff but still dropped a 5-4 nonleague decision to host Novato on Wednesday. Goalie Chase Connell had 13 saves for the Bears.

-- Keith Peters

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