Sports

Palo Alto, Sacred Heart Prep, Castilleja on to the semifinals

M-A, Menlo lose in Open Division; will play in NorCals

The Menlo-Atherton girls' volleyball team saw its 25-match winning streak come to an end Saturday but not its season.

Jacqueline DiSanto recorded 23 kills, 11 digs and was flawless on 24 serves as the Bears (26-5) dropped an instant classic, 20-25, 25-21, 19-25, 25-21, 15-13, to Notre Dame-Belmont in the opening round of the Central Coast Section inaugural Open Division, at Santa Clara High.

Eliza Grover and Kiana Sales combined for another 23 kills and 24 digs. Erica Fischer added 15 digs. Kirby Knapp had 56 assists and 19 digs.

M-A, which reached the state Division I finals last season, will still get a chance to defend its Northern California title as the Bears get reseeded into the Northern California playoffs.

The Tigers (32-9), defending state Division II champions, advance to meet St. Ignatius in Tuesday's semifinal round at Santa Clara.

Eighth-seeded Menlo School, which finished second to Notre Dame-Belmont in the West Bay Athletic League Foothill Division, fell to the nation's top-ranked team Mitty, 25-19, 25-23, 25-17, in another Open Division Saturday at Santa Clara High.

The eighth-seeded Knights (20-8) also advance into the NorCal tournament.

Knights junior Ashley Dreyer recorded eight kills and hit .444 while sophomore Selina Xu posted seven kills, eight digs and 16 assists.

Outside hitter Grace King added six kills, junior Kristin Sellers had 14 assists and senior Jessica Houghton posted nine digs.

Mitty meets No. 5 Sacred Heart Cathedral on Tuesday.

In Division IV, top-seeded Sacred Heart Prep beat visiting Terra Nova, 25-21, 25-12, 25-19, to reach the semifinal round that will be played at Notre Dame-Belmont on Wednesday.

The Gators (23-10) will meet Half Moon Bay (18-14), which finished fifth in the PAL Bay Division, at 7:30 p.m.

WBAL Skyline Division champion Mercy-Burlingame (24-3) and Monterey Bay Gabilian third-place finisher Monte Vista Christian (28-5) meet in the other semifinal at 5:30 p.m.

Sacred Heart Prep, which beat Menlo in two of their three meetings this year, was led by Cate Desler with 15 kills and Ally Polverari with 13. Natalie Zimits added nine kills and three blocks.

Caroline Caruso recorded 15 digs and added seven aces for the Gators. Rachael Cheung added 16 digs and Haley Martella had 25 assists.

In Division V, sixth-seeded Castilleja (20-13) earned a 25-21, 25-14, 25-17 victory over host St. Francis SCP to reach Wednesday's semifinal.

The Gators, third in the WBAL Skyline Division, meets Notre Dame-Salinas (19-11) at 5:30 p.m. at Thomas More. The Spirits were fourth in the MBL Gabilan standings.

Top-seeded Palo Alto (22-9) beat Alisal, 25-15, 27-25, 25-17, to advance in Division I play. The Vikings meet No. 5 Los Altos at 5:30 p.m. at Los Gatos High on Wednesday in one semifinal. The host Wildcats, seeded seventh, plays Carlmont in the late game.

Palo Alto, which won the SCVAL De Anza Division, split two league matches with the Eagles (22-14) during the regular season.

In Division II, Gunn (17-14) dropped a 25-9, 25-14, 25-23 decision to host and third-seeded Presentation (21-13) on Saturday.

First-year coach Praneet Nanda established a healthy environment in his first year as a varsity coach. Nanda came over from Santa Teresa, where he coached the junior varsity and considers himself more of a teacher.

The Titans lose five seniors, all major contributors, in Amy Wang, Emma Munch, Tara Tracy, Iris Huang and Lynette Xu, but returns six juniors, three sophomores and a freshman.

Also in Division II, Woodside (24-12) lost to top-seeded Valley Christian, 25-16, 25-12, 25-10.

— Palo Alto Online Sports

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