The Sacred Heart Prep boys water polo team equalled its best finish ever at the annual North-South Challenge by defeating Agoura, 9-6, on Saturday at the Dunlevie Aquatic Center in Atherton.
The Gators (19-3) previously finished third in 2008 and now is only the second NorCal team to break into the top three twice (Miramonte is the other) since the tourney's inception in 2006.
"It was a great team effort to compete with the top teams in the state," said SHP coach Brian Kreutzkamp. "Our defense was solid, anchored by our goalie, Philippe Marco. I'm proud we were able to play four great games and go 3-1 with only 10 players on our team."
The 16-event brings together many of the top teams in the state, eight from the north and eight from the south. Among this year's field was Mater Dei, which brought a 95-match win streak to the two-day event and left with a streak of 99 straight after holding off SoCal rival Harvard-Westlake, 11-8, in the championship game.
Sacred Heart Prep had a chance to face Mater Dei, but fell to Harvard-Westlake in the semifinals Saturday morning, 13-10. Nelson Perla-Ward and Will Conner each tallied three goals from SHP with fellow junior Michael Swart adding two.
In the third-place match, Conner scored four times and Perla-Ward added three while senior goalie Philippe Marco made 10 stops. Conner and Perla-Ward each tallied 12 goals in the four matches while Marco had 40 saves.
Menlo-Atherton (11-9) went 1-3 in the tourney and finished 12th following a 7-5 loss to CCS rival St. Francis on Saturday afternoon. Earlier in the day, the Bears dropped a 15-9 decision to Miramonte. John Knox had 13 goals in the tourney while Evan McClelland added nine. Goalies Peter Berquist (16 saves) and Hans Brouwer (21 saves) split time in the cage.
In Friday's opening round, Perla-Ward and Swart each tallied three times and senior Harrison Enright added two in a 10-4 win over Villa Park, the No. 8 SoCal seed. Marco finished with 10 saves.
Menlo-Atherton, meanwhile, dropped a 15-11 decision to Los Osos, the No. 5 seed from the south.
In the quarterfinals, Sacred Heart Prep had to go two overtimes and two sudden-death periods before pulling out a 14-13 victory over Cathedral Catholic in easily the longest match of the tournament. Swart tallied the game-winning goal, one of his three tallies. Conner finished with four goals and Perla-Ward added three while Marco came up with 16 saves against the No. 4-seeded team from the south.
Menlo-Atherton, meanwhile, bounced back with a 9-6 win over CCS rival Los Altos.
At the Ron Freeman Memorial Tournament at Monta Vista High, Gunn (16-6) won three matches over two days to capture the championship -- named after the former Matadors' head coach.
In the semifinals Saturday morning, Gunn pulled away to a four-goal halftime lead and held on for a 16-10 victory over Salinas. Coby Wayne led the way with six goals, Christian Znidarsic added five and Ari Wayne finished with three.
In the finals, Gunn took on SCVAL De Anza Division rival Monta Vista and posted a 10-4 triumph. Ari Wayne and Quinn Hamilton led the way with three goals each while goalie Tony Zunino came up with 11 saves.
On Friday, Gunn opened with a 15-6 win over Willow Glen as Calder Hilde-Jones tallied five goals and Ari Wayne added four. Zunino finished with 14 saves.
In nonleague action Friday, Menlo School dropped a 10-6 decision to visiting San Ramon Valley. Weston Avery led the Knights (18-3) with three goals while goalie John Wilson came up with 17 saves.
Menlo looked to avenge one of its two losses this season (the other was to De La Salle, which they did avenge) against SRV. In front of a capacity crowd for Menlo's homecoming, the Knights trailed early but pulled to within two goals in the fourth quarter before the Wolves pulled away.
Girls water polo
Palo Alto went 3-0 and won the Lincoln Halloween Tournament on Saturday. The Vikings defeated Silver Creek (15-4), downed Lincoln (17-1) and topped Santa Teresa (20-10).
Junior Tess van Hulsen had a tournament high of 14 goals to pace the Vikings (9-13) over the two-day tourney. She tied her career high with seven goals in the win over Lincoln. Katie Francis and Olivia Scola each added eight goals for the Vikings.
2013 NORTH-SOUTH CHALLENGE
Hosted by Sacred Heart Prep and Menlo-Atherton
At Sacred Heart Prep
Game 1 -- Harvard-Westlake 15, Davis 5
Game 3 -- Campolindo 9, Loyola 8
Game 5 -- Sacred Heart Prep 10, Villa Park 4
Game 7 -- Cathedral Catholic 20, St. Francis (MV) 7
Game 9 -- Loyola 9, Davis 3
Game 11 -- Harvard-Westlake 16, Campolindo 6
Game 13 -- St. Francis 13, Villa Park 10
Game 15 -- Sacred Heart Prep 14, Cathedral Catholic 13 (four overtimes)
Game 2 -- Dana Hills 15, Miramonte 14
Game 4 -- Agoura 17, Acalanes 5
Game 6 -- Mater Dei 14, Los Altos, 2
Game 8 -- Los Osos 15, Menlo-Atherton 11
Game 10 -- Miramonte 16, Acalanes 11
Game 12 -- Agoura 11, Dana Hills 10
Game 14 -- Menlo-Atherton 9, Los Altos 6
Game 16 -- Mater Dei 14, Los Osos 9
Game 17 -- Cathedral Catholic 15, Campolindo 12
Game 19 -- Dana Hills 13, Los Osos 12
Game 21 -- Harvard-Westlake 13, Sacred Heart Prep 10
Game 23 -- Mater Dei 10, Agoura 4
Game 25 -- Campolindo 14, Los Osos 10 (7th place)
Game 27 -- Cathedral Catholic 16, Dana Hills 12 (5th place)
Game 29 -- Sacred Heart Prep 9, Agoura 6 (3rd place)
Game 31 -- Mater Dei 11, Harvard-Westlake 8 (1st place)
Game 18 -- Acalanes 10, Los Altos 6
Game 20 -- Davis 9, Villa Park 8
Game 22 -- Miramonte 15, Menlo-Atherton 9
Game 24 -- Loyola 12, St. Francis 1
Game 26 -- Villa Park 17, Los Altos 12 (15th place)
Game 28 -- Davis 12, Acalanes 8 (13th place)
Game 30 -- St. Francis 7, Menlo-Atherton 5 (11th place)
Game 32 -- Miramonte 12, Loyola 9 (9th place)
No. 1 -- Sacred Heart Prep (North); Mater Dei (South)
No. 2 -- Miramonte (North); Harvard-Westlake (South)
No. 3 -- Campolindo (North); Agoura (South)
No. 4 -- Menlo-Atherton (North); Cathedral Catholic (South)
No. 5 -- St. Francis (North); Los Osos (South)
No. 6 -- Acalanes (North); Loyola (South)
No. 7 -- Davis (North); Dana Hills (South)
No. 8 -- Los Altos (North); Villa Park (South)