The Menlo School girls' volleyball team matched up with some of the best teams in the country and finished eighth in the Platinum Bracket of the 64-team Nike Tournament of Champions in Arizona this past weekend.
The Knights played six best-of-three matches in the national showcase. They opened with 2-0 victories over Anchorage and Corona Del Sol (Tempe, Ariz.).
Next they played national power St. Joseph's Academy (St. Louis, Missouri) and lost 2-1 to the eventual TOC bracket runner-up.
"The highlight of the tournament was playing some of our best volleyball against one of the nation's top teams," Menlo coach Atlee Hubbard said of St. Joseph's, which features several top NCAA Division I recruits. "In the first set we couldn't stop their offense, but in set 2, the team played outstanding defense at the net and back row and we forced set 3. That game was close until Academy's best player found a way to score on us and finished the game.
"After seeing our performance in that match I think our team knows the level of volleyball we are capable of playing."
Menlo (5-1, 18-10) resumes West Bay Athletic League (Foothill Division) play Tuesday against visiting Woodside Priory at 5:45 p.m.
The Menlo-Atherton girls ran off with the varsity race team title on Friday at the Montery Bay Invitational at Toro Park's three-mile course in Salinas. The youthful Bears scored 66 points to hold off runner-up Palo Alto (79) while Gunn finished fourth with 138.
Junior Taylor Fortnam led M-A with a 19:47 clocking while helping the Bears average 20:48.53 per runner. Annalisa Crowe led a trio of freshman with a 15th-place finish of 20:56. Maddie Worden was 16th in 20:57 and Madeline Baier 17th in 20:58. Junior Annika Roise wrapped up the M-A scoring by taking 20th in 21:05.
Palo Alto, which will challenge M-A for CCS Division I honors on this same course on Nov. 10, was led by sophomore Katie Foug's sixth-place finish of 20:01. Senior Chika Kasahara was 11th in 20:26 and Audrey DeBruine 19th in 21:04 to lead the Vikings.
Gillian Meeks led Gunn with an eighth-place finish of 20:02.28.
In the girls' sub-varsity on Friday, Paly finished 2-3-4-5-6 and scored a near-perfect 15 points to win the team title. Nicole Renfroe of Red Bluff won the race in 21:48 but the Vikings had the next six finishers and seven of the top nine. Emily Zhang led Paly in second in 21:50 with Kylie Wilson third (21:57), Sarah Wang fourth (21:57) and Sophie Robinson fifth (22:06).
In the girls' varsity race on Saturday, Gillian Belton of Sacred Heart Prep finished 18th in 20:28. The Gators did not enter a full team.
In the boys' varsity race on Friday, Menlo-Atherton scored 77 points and finished second to Lynbrook's 67 with Gunn 10th and Palo Alto 11th. George Baier, who had been nursing a sprained ankle, led the Bears by clocking 16:14 for sixth. Teammate John Lovegren was seventh in 16:18 and Zach Plante 11th in 16:55.
In the boys' varsity race on Saturday, Daniel Hill of Sacred Heart Prep finished 17th in 16:50. The Gators did not field a full team.
Girls' water polo
Sacred Heart Prep continued its preparation for a title defense in the Central Coast Section playoffs by taking two matches at the UC Davis Classic on Saturday.
The Gators (15-4) defeated Marin Catholic, 10-2, and edged Las Lomas in overtime, 12-11.
Morgan McCracken had four goals and Caitlin Stuewe added two in the Marin Catholic match while P.J. Bigley, Kate Bocci and Stuewe all had three goals against Las Lomas as goalie Kelly Moran came up with nine saves.
Sacred Heart Prep will put its 5-0 mark in the West Catholic Athletic League on the line Wednesday against visiting St. Francis (5-0, 16-3) to decide the West Catholic Athletic League regular-season title. That match will be a tuneup for this weekend's NorCal Invitational, also hosted by SHP.
St. Francis tuned up for the mid-week showdown by defeating visiting Castilleja, 7-2, on Friday. Anna Yu had both Castilleja goals while Maddie Tarr had 12 saves for the Gators (9-9).