The Menlo-Atherton girls controlled their volleyball destiny in the PAL Bay Division heading into this week as the Bears sat alone and atop the standings.
That drastically changed Tuesday night as Menlo-Atherton dropped a five-set match to visiting Woodside and fell into a three-way tie for first place.
Menlo-Atherton, Woodside and Carlmont now all share the top spot with 6-1 records. Potentially bad news for the Bears is they still have matches against the Wildcats and Scots, both on the road.
M-A's loss snapped a six-match win streak while opening a busy week that includes matches against Burlingame and St. Ignatius plus a tournament at Edison High in Stockton on Saturday.
The Woodside match was back and forth for M-A, which dropped a 25-18, 21-25, 25-23, 17-25, 16-14 marathon. The Bears (12-4 overall) hit .257 (24 errors in 167 swings) as a team while the Wildcats hit .302 (14 errors in 162 attempts).
Junior transfer Devin Joos led M-A with a monster game of 39 kills (.349 hitting) and 18 digs. Aly Ostrow and Leanna Collins added 13 and 11 kills, respectively. Virginia Lane contributed 40 digs with Kaitlin Taverez (13), Ostrow (12) and Kirby Knapp (10) adding to the effort. Knapp also dished out 62 of her team's 64 assists.
In the SCVAL De Anza Division, Palo Alto remained tied for first with Los Altos (5-1) and Homestead (5-1) following a 25-13, 25-12, 22-25, 25-13 victory over visiting Gunn.
The triumph was a good tuneup for the Vikings (5-1, 15-4) heading into Thursday's showdown at Homestead. The Mustangs already have beaten Paly this season and likely can prevent the Vikings from defending their title with another win.
Senior Becca Raffel led Paly against Gunn (2-4, 6-10) with a personal-hgh 26 kills against only two errors while hitting .500. She also contributed 14 digs and served two aces. Junior Anna Dukovic also had a solid game with 12 kills and only two errors as she made it tough on the Titans to commit to Paly's outside hitters.
Senior Keri Gee finished with 23 digs while freshman Jessica Lee contributed 49 assists for the Vikings. Meghan Mahoney led Gunn with 10 kills.
While Paly takes on Homestead, Sacred Heart Prep and Menlo School will meet for the first time in West Bay Athletic League (Foothill Division) action this season in another showdown at 5:45 p.m.
The host Knights (4-0, 17-4), who had a bye Tuesday, lead the division while the defending champion Gators are right behind at 4-1 (17-6 overall). SHP tuned up for the match with a 25-16, 27-25, 22-25, 25-23 nonleague win over visiting Notre Dame-Belmont on Tuesday.
Victoria Garrick led the way with 23 kills and 19 digs while fellow junior Natalie Marshall provided 52 assists. Ara Peterson finished with 17 kills.
In Palo Alto, host Castilleja (4-2, 13-8) swept Crystal Springs as the Gators won their fourth straight match.
In nonleague action, Pinewood (10-8) handed host San Jose High a 25-20, 25-7, 25-13 defeat.
Castilleja wrapped up its seventh league title with a 207-228 victory over host Harker in a WBAL dual match at Los Lagos Golf Course in San Jose.
The Gators (9-1, 9-2) were led by junior Chloe Sales, who shot a 1-over 35 to earn medalist honors. Junior Nicole Mitchell (39) and her twin, Danielle (42), also defeated their opponents as did sophomore Paris Wilkerson (43) and freshman Risa Yang (48).
Castilleja now is 63-3 in league play since the 2007 season, the start of its string of league titles. The Gators bounced back nicely from Monday's loss to second-place Sacred Heart Prep, a setback that ended a streak of 29 straight league victories.
In the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League, Palo Alto (12-1) moved to within a victory of sharing the league title with Gunn after a 234-313 win over Wilcox on Tuesday at Santa Clara Golf Course.
Playing against a new and very young Wilcox squad, Palo Alto easily won while using its No. 7, 8 and 9 players. Medalist for the round was freshmen Emily Hwang with a score of 39. Hwang, ranked No. 3 on the team, is the only player to have played in every match this year.
Rounding out the scoring for Palo Alto was Annie Chen with a 41, Elise Kiya (45), Sophie Robinson (53), and Olivia Johnson (55). Palo Alto meets Homestead on Thursday at Sunnyvale Muni.
In a showdown between the lone remaining unbeaten teams in the WBAL Foothill Division, visiting Menlo School handed Castilleja its first division loss with a solid 7-0 romp at Rinconada Park.
The Knights improved to 5-0 in league (15-1 overall) and now have won 203 straight league matches, an ongoing state record. Castilleja fell to 4-1 (7-3).
Menlo was pushed in only one match, No. 2 doubles, where Georgia Anderson and Mia McConnell eventually prevailed, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4. Christine Eliazo had to play a tiebreaker in her 7-6 (7-5), 6-0 win over April Chien and Menlo's No. 3 doubles squad of Melissa Tran and Paulina Golikova also played a tiebreaker during their 7-6 (7-5), 6-1 victory.
Also in the WBAL Foothill Division, host Sacred Heart Prep (2-3, 7-7) rolled to a 7-0 victory over Crystal Springs as the Gators swept all but one match. Caroline Nordman won at No. 1 singles, 6-0, 6-1 while SHP's top doubles tandem of Lucie Ackley and McKenzie Lynch prevailed, 6-1, 6-1.
In the PAL Bay Division, Menlo-Atherton cruised to a 7-0 win over visiting Burlingame while improving to 6-4 in league (8-9 overall). Sami Andrew (6-2, 6-1) led the way at No. 1 singles while Sally Carlson and Amanda Scandalios posted a 6-3, 6-4 win at No. 1 doubles.
In the SCVAL De Anza Division, Palo Alto (4-3, 13-3) lost its third 4-3 decision of the year while falling to host Los Altos.
Boys water polo
Gunn held on to first place in the SCVAL De Anza Division with a 7-5 victory over host Los Altos. Coby Wayne and Justin Cooper each tallied twice for the Titans (8-0, 11-6), who pulled away in the fourth quarter by outscoring the Eagles, 3-1.
Meanwhile, host Palo Alto remained two games back of first place with a 14-9 victory over Lynbrook. Sam Kelley tallied five goals to pace the Vikings (6-2, 16-4). JJ Kadifa, Kian McHugh and Omri Newman all tallied twice for Paly.
Girls water polo
Menlo School rallied for a 7-5 overtime victory over host Hillsdale in PAL Ocean Division action.
Leslie Akin scored three times for the Knights and Kate Huneke added two more goals. Donya Dehnad registered 10 saves for Menlo (6-4, 6-8).
In the SCVAL De Anza Division, Palo Alto grabbed a 4-2 halftime lead and rolled to a 9-6 victory over visiting Homestead. The Vikings (3-5, 5-11) got four goals from junior Olivia Scola and two from sophomore Katie Francis.
At Los Altos, Gunn held on to first place in the De Anza Division with a 13-4 romp over the host Eagles. Senior Caroline Anderson tallied seven goals for the Titans (8-0, 12-4) while Lauren Johnson, Rachel Wong and Natasha Batista all tallied twice.