Second-seeded Menlo (20-11) and No. 3 seed Castilleja (32-4) will meet Wednesday in the semifinals of the CCS Division IV volleyball tournament at Valley Christian-San Jose at 8 p.m.
The winner will advance to the section finals on Saturday at West Valley College in Saratoga and an automatic berth into the NorCal tournament next week. For the loser, it's the end of another fine season.
"This is just for a NorCal berth or going on to the CCS finals," said Menlo coach Ryan Cooling. "There is no grudge match, or bragging rights. This is just about moving on to the next round. They (Castilleja) are just another team, a very good team. I think it will be a really great match on Wednesday."
Said Castilleja coach Tracie Hubbard, who guided her team to the CCS finals last season: "I think the team is really excited and determined and the match against Menlo will be fun. I really don't care when we see Menlo. I expect the girls to play some of their best volleyball yet, and Menlo will be the perfect opportunity to test that."
Castilleja advanced with 25-9, 25-13, 25-10 romp over No. 5 Santa Catalina while Menlo moved on with a lackluster 25-15, 25-23, 25-22 win over No. 10 San Lorenzo Valley during Saturday's quarterfinals.
"We didn't play inspired volleyball at all," Cooling said. "I was disappointed in that. But we executed fine. We will have to play a lot better on Wednesday if we want to beat Castilleja."
Also suriving the weekend was No. 6 Woodside Priory (11-12), which upset No. 3 Pinewood in Division V action at Santa Clara High, 14-25, 25-12, 25-22, 25-23, 15-12. Hannah Lippe (20 kills) and Sami Andreacchi (18 kills) stood out for the Panthers (16-11) while Laura Trudelle led Woodside Priory into Thursday's semifinals against No. 2 St. Thomas More at Valley Christian-San Jose.
Not surviving the weekend was Menlo-Atherton, Palo Alto and Gunn.
Fourth-seeded Menlo-Atherton (22-13) fell to No. 5 San Benito, 25-19, 25-19, 25-17 in the Division I quarterfinals.
"They (San Benito) are a fairly big team and triple-blocked the middle frequently," said M-A coach Phil Coyle. "We passed just OK, our defense was shaky at the middle back and we uncharacteristically missed a lot of serves."
The loss marked the end of fine careers for seniors Kelly Wright, Nikki Engelhardt, Kerry Kilduff, Natalie Chladek and Lisa Jacobs.
Palo Alto (25-10) and Gunn (20-12) saw their fine seasons end in sweeps to No. 1 Mitty (25-23, 25-11, 25-6) and No. 4 Presentation (25-16, 25-19, 25-22), respectively.
"Despite the score of our match, I never felt that we didn't have a chance to beat Mitty," said Paly coach Dave Huan. "Things started falling apart after we droped that first game. Great teams have this way of taking advantage of those situations and making good teams look bad.
"Am I and is the rest of the team a little disappointed in the results of our last match? Naturally. We hate to lose. But, if any team were going to end our run this year, at least it was Mitty."
Paly seniors Lindsey Harris, Shaina Epstein, Katrina Zawojski, Murray Koch and and Dami Wusu all played their final prep matches.
For Gunn coach Minh Dang, his team also hung tough before finally falling.
"We played them tough," he said. "The girls were tentative at first, but after they settled down they played well. We struggled with our serving and our serve receive, which was understandable since Pres was sending SCUD missles over the net at us."
The match was the final one for Gunn seniors Shannon Harney, Annique Melese, Jessica Perricone, Katelyn Reese and Jennifer Wang.
Boys water polo
Third-seeded Gunn (23-10) will take on No. 2 Salinas (18-6) on Wednesday in the semifinals of the CCS Division I tournament at Independence High in San Jose. The Titans advanced with a 9-7 victory over No. 6 Serra last Saturday, and are a victory away from earning a berth in this Saturday's championship match likely against defending champ Bellarmine at 1:30 p.m.
"We beat a Serra team that has dramatically improved since we beat them earlier this year, 13-2," said Gunn coach Mark Hernandez. "Though we never trailed in the game, we were very jittery the entire first half. I think the memories of last year's CCS loss were creeping into our heads . . . but, we survived and advanced."
Junior Kyle Gertridge led Gunn with three goals with senior Nick Rouse contributing two. Senior Arjan Ligtenberg played limited minutes due to a strained ligament in his wrist and the Titans lost junior Eric Stewart to a third ejection early in the second half.
In Division II semifinals Tuesday, top-seeded Menlo (28-5) met No. 5 Santa Cruz (28-5) and No. 3 Sacred Heart Prep (22-9) took on No. 2 St. Francis (25-7). The winners will meet Saturday in the title match at Independence at 10 a.m.
Menlo advanced with an 8-1 win over Soquel as Ben Hohl and Matt Hudnall each scored four goals. SHP moved on with a 13-11 triumph over Aragon. Dylan Mobley paced the Gators with five goals and Ian Bausback added three.
Girls water polo
Top-seeded Sacred Heart Prep (21-4) took on No. 5 Menlo (24-7) and No. 2 St. Francis (24-5) faced No. 3 Palo Alto (25-6) in semifinals Tuesday at St. Francis. The winners advance to the section finals on Saturday at Independence at 11:45 a.m.
SHP got four goals from sophomore Adriana Vogt while freshman Pallavi Menon added two goals in a 7-3 win over Soquel.
Menlo got its usual solid defensive effort and a key offensive contribution from Kim Krueger (three goals) to beat Mitty, 7-5. The win avenged last season's CCS loss to the Monarchs.
"The kids took care of it in the pool," said Menlo coach Kyle Utsumi. "Even when we were being challenged, we never let up. They tied us four times, but we never let them get that go-ahead goal."
Palo Alto ended Menlo-Atherton fine season at 23-8 as the Vikings jumped to a 5-0 first-quarter lead and held on. Senior Remy Champion led Paly with five goals while junior sister Phoebe added four. M-A junior Kelly Fero scored three goals to pace the No. 6-seeded Bears, who will return all but three players next season. Junior Heidi Kucera added two goals, two assists and two steals while sophomore goalie Jessica Welton made seven saves in the first three quarters.