Sports

Gunn boys, girls take league titles into CCS playoffs

For the first time in school history, the Gunn boys and girls will head into the Central Coast Section water polo playoffs together as league champions.

Both teams earned that distinction on Saturday as they captured their respective SCVAL De Anza Division playoff titles to wrap up the division's overall crown.

The Gunn girls avenged their only loss of the league season with a resounding 13-2 dunking of Los Gatos while the boys held off rival Palo Alto for a third time this season with their 9-5 triumph.

"It was very exciting to be able to get the win last night," said Gunn first-year coach Matt Johnson. "Having it be against Paly makes it a little sweeter for sure, but just getting Gunn back on top of the league is satisfaction enough."

Gunn won the regular-season title with a 12-0 record, the first team in program history to go undefeated with that many wins. The Titans last won a league title in 2005, when Johnson played goalie for Gunn.

The Titans (20-6) jumped out to a 5-0 halftime lead against the host Vikings (22-5) and pushed that to 8-1 before the Vikings rallied late. Senior Coby Wayne led the way for Gunn with four goals while his brother, junior Ari, added three. Lucas Novak scored twice for Paly.

"Yeah it was a tough one for us," said Paly coach Brandon Johnson, who lost to his brother for a third time this season. "I thought the difference was defense. That was probably the best defense I've seen Gunn play all year and we didn't match their intensity. They played well."

Matt agreed with his brother's assessment.

"The key to our win was our defense, no doubt about it," said Matt, who jumped into the pool to celebrate the victory. "We held them scoreless for almost three quarters. It was an all around effort. Everyone was turning their heads and helping and switching and getting hands on balls, it was fun to watch. Tony (Zunino) played a great game in cage also, made some big saves.

"We aren't done yet though. We can take a day or two to enjoy this one and then we have to shift our focus to our next opponent in CCS."

The Gunn girls (20-6) were in the same mode after dominating visiting Los Gatos for their third straight league championship. The Titans held a 10-0 halftime lead before allowing two meaningless goals in the second half.

"This was the game we knew we could play," said Gunn coach Mark Hernanez. "From the outset, the team was on a mission, and played with a speed and an intensity that put Los Gatos on their heels.

"This was our best defensive effort of the year. We played fast and smart and aggressive, and when we did make a mistake, (goalie) Sam Acker saved us time and again. She had the best game of her high school career. She had several remarkable saves against an elite shooting team, and she led our counter-attack with confident and precise passing."

Gunn senior Caroline Anderson tallied eight goals and added two assists in yet another standout offensive effort.

"Caroline, of course, was masterful," Hernandez said. "She very much set the tone tonight; she was not going to lose. She did it all. Los Gatos designed a good defensive game plan to stop her --as do many other teams -- but she figured out a way to get open, to create her own shots, and to create shots for her teammates. She was spectacular.

"Having said that, this was a definitive team effort. We've been looking forward to this game for a year. I couldn't be prouder of the way the team seized the moment. From the beginning of the season, I've told the team, 'Heavy is the head that wears the crown.' So we've known that it would be a challenge to get back to and win this game. But, this group seemed to understand they the importance, the history of this game, and they played like a team that wanted to cement a legacy -- that wanted to create a dynasty. And they have."

The Gunn girls received the No. 2 seed for the CCS Division I playoffs and will have a bye into Saturday's quarterfinals. The Titans could face No. 3 Los Gatos once again in the semifinals.

Also in the bracket is No. 4 Menlo-Atherton (16-8), which also opens this weekend.

The Gunn boys received the No. 4 seed for CCS Division I and will face the winner of No. 5 Palo Alto and No. 12 Pioneer on Saturday. Top-seeded Bellarmine (16-10) is a possible semifinal opponent.

In the other side of the bracket is No. 2 St. Francis (11-16) and No. 3 Menlo-Atherton (13-9).

The Division II brackets are highlighted by the defending champion Sacred Heart Prep boys and girls.

The SHP boys (23-3) are the No. 1 seed and rightfully so. The Gators captured the West Catholic Athletic League regular-season and playoff title, the latter coming Saturday night in a 12-8 win over Bellarmine as junior Michael Swart tallied four goals and fellow juniors Will Conner and Nelson Perla-Ward added three each. Goalie Philippe Marco had 10 saves.

In the bracket opposite SHP is No. 2 Menlo School (21-3). The Knights and Gators have yet to face each other this season.

In the girls' Division II bracket, six-time defending champ Sacred Heart Prep (19-7) appears to have a clear path to the final in a weak bracket that includes No. 2 St. Ignatius (16-10), No. 3 Castilleja (12-7) and No. 4 Saratoga (12-10).

The Gators, however, are coming off a 7-4 loss to St. Francis in Saturday's WCAL playoff finale in Atherton. The Lancers (23-2), who have handed the Gators three of their losses this season, are the No. 1 seed in Division I.

2013 CCS WATER POLO PLAYOFFS

GIRLS

Division I

Wednesday's first round

No. 11 Salinas (21-4) vs. No. 6 Leland (16-10) at Homestead High, 5:30 p.m.

No. 7 Pioneer (20-6) at No. 10 Mountain View (17-7), 7 p.m.

No. 5 Mitty (14-7) vs. No. 12 Fremont (18-4) at Cupertino High, 7 p.m.

No. 8 Los Altos (11-16) vs. No. 9 Carlmont (12-8) at Palo Alto High, 7 p.m.

Saturday's quarterfinals

Salinas-Leland winner vs. No. 3 Los Gatos (24-3)

Mountain View-Pioneer winner vs. No. 2 Gunn (19-7)

Fremont-Mitty winner vs. No. 4 Menlo-Atherton (16-8)

Carlmont-Los Altos winner vs. No. 1 St. Francis (23-2)

Division II

Tuesday's first round

No. 8 Santa Catalina (14-5) vs. No. 9 Willow Glen (9-9) at Carmel High, 5:30 p.m.

Wednesday's first round

No. 11 Sobrato (19-6) vs. Valley Christian (12-13) at Cupertino High, 5:30 p.m.

No. 10 Aptos (13-10) vs. No. 7 Presentation (13-13) at Mountain View High, 5:30 p.m.

No. 12 Burlingame (9-15) vs. No. 5 Soquel (20-5) at Palo Alto High, 5:30 p.m.

Saturday's quarterfinals

Sobrato-Valley Christian winner vs. No. 3 Castilleja (12-7)

Aptos-Presentation winner vs. No. 2 St. Ignatius (16-10)

Burlingame-Soquel winner vs. No. 4 Saratoga (12-10)

Willow Glen-Santa Catalina winner vs. No. 1 Sacred Heart Prep (19-7)

BOYS

Division I

Tuesday's first round

No. 11 Carlmont (8-15) vs. No. 6 Serra (11-13) at Palo Alto High, 5:30 p.m.

No. 10 Salinas (19-7) at No. 7 Mountain View (12-10), 5:30 p.m.

No. 12 Pioneer (5-16) at No. 5 Palo Alto (22-5), 7 p.m.

No. 9 Los Altos (10-16) vs. No. 8 Leland (17-7) at Mountain View High, 7 p.m.

Saturday's quarterfinals

Carlmont-Serra winner vs. No. 3 Menlo-Atherton (13-9)

Salinas-Mountain View winner vs. No. 2 St. Francis (11-16)

Pioneer-Palo Alto winner vs. No. 4 Gunn (20-6)

Los Altos-Leland winner vs. No. 1 Bellarmine (16-10)

Division II

Tuesday's first round

No. 11 Sobrato (6-12) at No. 6 Carmel (19-8), 7 p.m.

No. 10 Palma (17-6) vs. No. 7 Saratoga (22-2) at Homestead High, 5:30 p.m.

No. 12 Hillsdale (20-2) vs. No. 5 Soquel (17-7) at Homestead High, 17-7)

Wednesday's first round

No. 9 Santa Cruz (16-8) vs. No. 8 Willow Glen (11-12) at Homestead High, 7 p.m.

Saturday's quarterfinals

Sobrato-Carmel winner vs. No. 3 St. Ignatius (18-7)

Palma-Saratoga winner vs. No. 2 Menlo School (21-3)

Hillsdale-Soquel winner vs. No. 4 Valley Christian (13-11)

Santa Cruz-Willow Glen winner vs. No. 1 Sacred Heart Prep (23-3)

— Keith Peters/Palo Alto Online Sports

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Reader
a resident of South of Midtown
on Nov 11, 2013 at 9:53 am

Editor, who is Matt Campbell?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Spencer Jones
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 19, 2013 at 11:52 am

WAY TO GO GUNN!!!!!!! So proud of you guys! keep it up in CCS!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 19, 2013 at 6:04 pm

Gunn girls play tomorrow night in D1 semi-finals.

Paly boys defeated Gunn in OT on Saturday. Paly plays Bellarmine tonight in D1 semi-finals.


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