Uploaded: Monday, November 12, 2012, 9:04 AM
Menlo-SHP showdown highlights the semifinals
|The match that was expected as soon as the Central Coast Section girls' volleyball brackets were released will indeed happen this week, which will end the season for one local team.
Second-seeded Sacred Heart Prep (28-5) and third-seeded Menlo School (23-10) will meet on Wednesday in the CCS Division IV semifinals on the Knights' court at 7:30 p.m. This will be the third meeting between the neighborhood rivals this season, with each team holding a victory.
As far as three being a charm, that holds true for only one of the teams. The winner will advance to the section finals on Saturday at Independence High in San Jose while the loser will call it a season.
Both teams won on at home Saturday in the quarterfinals.
Menlo stifled a late charge by No. 6 Notre Dame-Belmont (17-15) to post a 25-12, 25-19, 11-25, 25-23. Sacred Heart Prep, meanwhile, swept No. 7 Mercy-Burlingame, 25-20, 26-24, 25-16. Top-seeded Harbor (29-5) will face No. 5 Harker (22-6) in the first semifinals at 5:30 p.m., also at Menlo.
The Knights had a week off from matches after their West Bay Athletic League (Foothill Division) regular-season finale, a 3-1 win over Sacred Heart Prep for a share of the league championship.
"After over a week off, our team had to work hard tonight to find our rhythm again," Menlo coach Atlee Hubbard said. "A win is nice though, and we now need to look forward to a tough match against Sacred Heart."
Menlo junior Maddie Huber and sophomore Lida Van der Meer each finished with 13 kills. Huber also contributed 24 digs. Middle hitter Morgan Dressel had a team-high four blocks.
Just down Valparaiso Avenue, Sacred Heart Prep was advancing in easy fashion against its WBAL Skyline Division foe.
Leading the Gators were Ellie Shannon (11 kills, four blocks), Payton Smith (nine kills, six blocks, three aces), Victoria Garrick (eight kills, nine digs, two aces), Helen Gannon (17 digs) and Cammie Merten (17 assists, four aces).
In other CCS quarterfinal action, Palo Alto, Menlo-Atherton, Castilleja and Priory all advanced to the semifinals with victories on Saturday night.
In Palo Alto, the host and top-seeded Vikings (28-6) road a standout effort by junior Becca Raffel to a 25-22, 25-11, 25-21 victory over No. 9-seeded Sequoia (28-7). Raffel had one of her best combined passing and hitting nights with 15 kills with just one error to go along with a 2.27 passing rating. On defense, she also had one of her better efforts with 16 digs.
Senior Shelby Knowles had 20 kills plus 15 digs while senior co-captain Sophia Bono provided 38 assists. Junior Keri Gee added 16 digs for Paly, which will face SCVAL De Anza Division rival and No. 4 seed Homestead (22-8) in the Division I semifinals Wednesday at Santa Clara High at 7:30 p.m. The Vikings beat the Mustangs twice during the regular season while sharing the teams shared the division title.
In the upper half of the bracket, No. 3 Menlo-Atherton (25-7) advanced to the semifinals with a 25-18, 28-26, 25-21 quarterfinal win over No. 6 San Benito (21-14). The Bears will take on No. 2 Salinas (23-8) on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m., also at Santa Clara High.
Seniors Katelyn Doherty and Ali Spindt led M-A into yet another Division I semifinal. Doherty had a typical triple-double of 17 kills, 13 digs and 19 assists while Spindt produced 24 assists, 13 kills and eight digs. Junior Pauli King added 15 digs and 11 kills while Mele Moimoi came up with 11 digs.
Victories by M-A and Palo Alto on Wednesday will match the teams in the championship match for a third straight season, with both teams earning berths into the NorCal playoffs.
In Division V, Priory and Castilleja are both a win away from a rematch of the 2011 section title match.
Second-seeded Priory (19-8) advanced to the semifinals with a 25-3, 25-20, 25-9 triumph over No. 7 Alma Heights Christian (18-5) on Saturday in Portola Valley. Junior Marine Hall-Poirier led the way with 10 kills, nine aces and seven digs while Emily Tonogai added five kills and three aces.
Priory will face No. 3 Santa Catalina (20-4) in one semifinal at St. Francis-Central Coast Catholic in Watsonville on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.
In the other semi, No. 4 Castilleja (17-15) will face No. 1 Notre Dame-Salinas (22-10) at 5:30 p.m. The defending CCS champion Gators advanced with a 19-25, 23-25, 25-19, 25-20, 15-13 come-from-behind win over No. 5 Anzar on the Gators' floor Saturday.
Senior Lucy Tashman came up big with 29 kills, 29 digs and three blocks while Madeline Johnson added 14 kills and three blocks and setter Hannah Hsieh produced 64 assists and two aces for Castilleja.
— Palo Alto Online Sports/Pam McKenney contributed Menlo School
Are you receiving Express, our free daily e-mail edition? See a sample and sign-up for Express.
There are no comments yet for this story.
Be the first!