The Vision Gold 18-1 women's volleyball team suffered one loss all season. It happened to be in the semifinal of the USAV Girls' Junior National Championships in Columbus, Ohio over the weekend.
Vision Gold, coached by Stanford assistant Jason Mansfield, was the top seed entering the tournament and won its first eight matches before getting upset by Sky High Black, from the Great Lakes Region, 25-23, 19-25, 15-12, to finish third in the Open Division.
Meanwhile, the City Beach Black 18-1 team, coached by Stanford grad Leahi Hall, won the American Division, beating Skyline RoShamBo, 17-25, 25-17, 15-11, in the championship match.
Sacred Heart Prep grads Jesse Ebner and Sarah Daschbach and Menlo-Atherton grad Sarah Collins, all of whom are headed to the Ivy League, are members of Vision Gold, which dropped only two matches during the summer. Castilleja grad Hannah Boland, heading for UCLA, and Mountain View grad Brittany Howard, who will be a freshman at Stanford, were also major contributors.
Hall, who is assisted by Stanford grad and Olympian Ogonna Nnamani, went 11-0 in the American Division, dropping only three sets along the way.
A trio of Palo Alto grads, Melanie Wade, Maddie Kuppe and Kim Whitson, completed a rare triple before heading off to different colleges. They've won a couple of Central Coast Section titles, two state titles, and finished with a national title.
Wade will be at Washington next year, Kuppe is headed to Connecticut and Whitson will be attending Pacific. Of the 10 recent grads on the team, seven have committed to playing volleyball in college.
Other top performances from local teams at the Junior Nationals came from Paye's Performance 17-1 team, which finished third in the Open Division, Vision Gold 16-1 and 14-1 teams each finished seventh in their respective Open Divisions and Vision Gold 15 placed third in the American Division.
Palo Alto's Shelby Knowles, Sacred Heart Prep's Ellie Shannon, M-A's Ali Spindt and Castilleja's Lucy Tashman played for Paye's Performance, which finished 7-2 at the tournament.
Menlo School's Melissa Cairo and Maddie Huber and M-A's Paulina King helped Vision Gold 16 finish 5-5 while Gunn's Meghan Mahoney and M-A's Kaitlin Tavarez helped guide Vision Gold 15 to a 7-3 record.