Menlo School and Bellarmine will compete for the Central Coast Section boys team tennis championship for the third straight season.
The top-seeded Knights advanced with a 7-0 semifinal victory over Saratoga, highlighted by a terrific match at No. 1 singles between Menlo's Alex Volgin and Saratoga's Anthony Zheng, with Volgin recording a 6-7 (5), 6-4, (7) victory.
No. 2 Bellarmine, which advanced with a 4-3 victory over Cupertino, travels to play at Menlo Thursday, May 27.
Menlo (12-0) and Bellarmine (13-1) have faced each other for the CCS championship in six of the past 11 seasons. Menlo handed Bellarmine its only loss of the season.
The Knights will be making their 19th championship appearance in program history, 18 with coach Bill Shine.
"They really came to play today," Shine said. "We knew it was going to be tough, but the boys made it look easier than it was. Hopefully, we can carry it into the finals against a great Bellarmine team. We'll need all the boys to be on."
In other singles matches, junior Mick Tamas, freshman Evan Burnett and junior Rishi Jain all won in straight sets.
In doubles, Nik Khuntia teamed with fellow junior Soren Sutaria to win at No. 1. Senior Justin Tian and Nishan Rajavasireddy also won in straight sets at No. 2. At No. 3, senior Justin Creamer and junior Rohan Shah prevailed in a marathon first set to win 7-6 (3), 6-0.
Menlo will be playing for its 16th CCS title.
Menlo's girls tennis team brushed the rust off a two-month layoff to beat visiting Notre Dame Belmont 7-0 in the quarterfinal of the Central Coast Section team tournament Monday.
Menlo (9-1) beat NDB by the same score on March 29 in a West Bay Athletic League match.
The top-seeded Knights were scheduled to host No. 4 Evergreen Valley in Wednesday's semifinal, after The Almanac's press deadline. The Cougars (12-1) advanced with a 4-3 victory over Mitty.
No. 6 Harker (8-0) and No. 2 St. Francis (7-2) meet in the other semifinal. Harker beat Menlo 4-3 on March 11.
St. Francis beat Castilleja 7-0 to reach the semifinal.
Against Notre Dame Belmont, senior Addie Ahlstr?m, juniors Tricia Zhang and Brynn Brady, and sophomore Charlotte Yao each earned straight-set wins in singles.
In doubles, senior Lindsey Ball teamed with junior C.C. Golub at No.1, sisters senior Elisabeth Westermann and sophomore Natalie Westermann at two and senior Penelope Anderson and junior Alex Viret at No. 3 all won.
In Division I, Lucas Guida scored in the final minute of the second overtime to lift host Menlo-Atherton past St. Francis in the first round Saturday.
The third-seeded Bears (7-3-2) were slated to play again Wednesday against Leigh.
M-A scored in the 25th minute to open a 1-0 lead, but St. Francis came back to tie it just before halftime. After another 59 minutes of scoreless soccer, Guida scored in a scramble in front of the net.
Woodside fell to No. 8 seed Watsonville 2-1 in another first round game at Sequoia on Saturday.
The top-seeded Wildcats (12-1-1) suffered their first loss of the season.
In Division II, No. 7 Sacred Heart Prep (8-3) beat No. 2 San Benito 8-1 on the road and was scheduled to meet Monta Vista on Wednesday.
In Division III, Priory (6-4-1) dropped a 4-1 decision to host San Mateo.
In the Open Division, Menlo engaged in a serious struggle with host Leland in the quarterfinals Saturday and neither team seemed willing to give an inch.
It took overtime before fourth-seeded Leland finally got the tiebreaker, beating the Knights 4-3 and ending one of the finest seasons in Menlo history.
No. 5 seed Menlo (10-1) won its first league championship in four years in a season no one was sure would happen. The Knights outscored their opponents 63-14 on the way to their first Open Division bid.
"We didn't even know if we were going to have a season, now the boys have memories that will last them a lifetime," Menlo coach Marc Kerrest said. "My only disappointment is that I won't have another chance to coach this group again; they were a lot of fun."
Occidental-bound senior Christian Corcoran gave Menlo the early lead, scoring from the 6-yard box on a feed from senior Luke Appel.
The Chargers tied it but senior Tor Micaelian converted a free kick for a 2-1 halftime lead.
Leland (7-3-4) tied it again early in the second half and Menlo had an answer. Micaelian redirected a cross from senior Ilan Listgarten and the Knights took a 3-2 edge. Leland then scored on a break to tie the score and send it to overtime.
The Knights created chances, but Leland scored in the second overtime.
"Our team showed today what made us successful all season. We came up against a really strong Leland team who won their A league in impressive fashion," Kerrest said. "We showed no fear, played our hearts out and gave it everything we had until the final whistle. In the end, the ball didn't bounce our way; that's soccer. I am so proud of our team and all they accomplished this season."
In girls soccer, top-seeded Menlo and seventh-seeded Sacred Heart Prep both advanced in the CCS Division I playoffs with wins in the first round.
Menlo (11-0-1) downed visiting Santa Cruz 5-1 as Stella El-Fishaway scored twice and recorded an assist.
Gabby Kogler scored a goal and had an assist for the Knights, who play Branham in the semifinals. Branham advanced with a 1-0 win over Aptos.
Francesca Prescott and Dorothy Zhang also scored for Menlo.
Hannah Gorospe, Claire Pickering, and Ashley Grady each recorded an assist.
Senior defender Julia Deffner was an anchor on defense with sophomore goalie Sam Sellers.
Sacred Heart Prep (8-3) edged No. 2 Aragon 4-3 at San Mateo. Lilly Lynch scored the go-ahead goal off a corner kick in the 75th minute.
Megan Tinsley scored on a penalty kick and Sydney Adas scored on an assist from Molly Tinsley.
The Gators were slated to play Soquel in Wednesday's semifinal.
Menlo-Atherton downed host Saratoga 3-0 in Division II and will play Sequoia in the semifinals.
Kat Showalter scored four goals in helping the Sacred Heart Prep girls lacrosse team to a 12-7 victory over host Mitty in its regular season finale on Tuesday.
Kalista Hurel added three goals for the Gators (9-3, 8-0), who clinched the West Bay Athletic League Foothill Division's best record with the victory.
SHP, the defending WBAL champion, advances into the first-ever Central Coast Section girls lacrosse tournament, which is scheduled to begin Wednesday, June 9. The seeding meeting is Monday, June 7.
The Gators are likely to receive one of the top four seeds, which would mean a bye into the quarterfinals. All three of SH Prep's losses were to St. Ignatius by a total of 11 goals.
Sacred Heart Prep dominated WBAL play, outscoring its opponents 117-35. St. Francis, which has a game remaining with Mitty, is second with 73 goals.
Gators coach Wendy Kridel, a member of the U.S. Lacrosse Greater Baltimore Chapter Hall of Fame, also coached the U.S. U19 national team between 1999 and 2007 and owns a 20-0 record with Team USA.
SHP assistant coach Liz Hogan was an All-American goalkeeper at Syracuse and holds the school record with 654 career saves and 170 ground balls.
Alex Precourt and Genna Gibbons each added a pair of goals against Mitty, with Lauren Hagerty also scoring. Gabby Galletti and Lauren Hall combined for five saves.
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