Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - May 7, 2010

Swimming showdown is all set

Gunn and Paly girls look to battle for the title in De Anza Division finals

by Keith Peters

The Palo Alto boys' and girls' swimming and diving teams have grabbed the early lead in the SCVAL De Anza Division championships and the swimming portion of the meet hasn't even been held yet.

The Vikings are in the lead, however, following the diving competition that was held Tuesday at Gunn, site of Friday's swim finals at 2 p.m.

Palo Alto's Cole Plambeck and Grace Greenwood won their respective titles as the Viking boys scored 41 points and the Paly girls totaled 47 to move their respective squads into first place.

Plambeck scored 415.50 points for his 11-dive program to earn 20 points. Teammate Jordan Zanger was third with 316.00, Alex Francis was fifth with 283.90 and Justin Choi finished 10th with 230.58.

The Gunn boys scored 24 points with Miko Mallari leading the way in fourth with 295.70 points. Teammate Josh Kern added nine points with a ninth-place finish of 243.35 points.

Greenwood won a close 11-dive competition over Lauren Gardanier of Saratoga, with Greenwood scoring 397.90 points and Gardanier 396.55. Emma Miller of Paly was fourth with 335.05 and Serena Yee was seventh at 291.50.

The Gunn girls, who won the regular-season title in swimming, kept their championship hopes alive by scoring 33 points in diving as Jenny Anderson was eighth (246.85), Louise McGregor ninth (240.70), Jessica Sun 10th (222.25) and Zoe Aspitz 11th (184.35). The Titans, however, were missing their top diver, Talia Mahoney, who is sidelined by an injury.

The diving will be added to the swimming on Friday, which should provide some great competition.

The Palo Alto girls are the defending champs, but will be challenged by Gunn.

"The girls' meet should be close," said Gun co-coach Mark Hernandez. "I think the teams from both Gunn and Palo Alto will go down as among the top five teams the league has ever seen.

"We have more girls who are more athletic and competitive than they've ever been. We're very deep, very talented and very versatile. We will have around twice the finalist as we had last year. Our girls are excited and ready to go."

Hernandez said his team will have to overcome the points lost in diving to Mahoney's injury.

"Second, Palo Alto is a proud, aggressive, talented team," Hernandez said.

Bottom line, Henandez said, is that the Gunn girls have a very good chance at winning.

As does Palo Alto. The Vikings have a total of 20 finalists returning while Gunn has eight. Paly also returns defending champs Jasmine Tosky (200 IM and 100 fly) and Sarah Liang (100 breast). Gunn's returning league champ is Julia Ama (50 free).

Said Paly coach Danny Dye: "It will be close with Gunn. I think we can take them with our numbers, plus the big guns (Tosky, Liang and Margaret Wenzlau)."

The relays will be crucial to the hopes of both Gunn and Paly. On paper, the Vikings are faster in the 200 free and 400 free relays. It all depends on where the coaches place their swimmers.

The boys' meet also will be close, but more wide open than the girls.

"Our boys did well (in Wednesday's trials)," said Dye, "and actually have given themselves a chance at being able to win it. Although it would have to be a perfect storm! But at least they have a chance, I was very happy with the swims."

Softball

Castilleja kept its West Bay Athletic League title hopes alive with a 16-1 rout of host Pinewood in a game halted after four innings by the 10-run mercy rule on Tuesday. The Gators (9-1, 14-7-2) banged out 11 hits and got a 10-strikeout, one-hit performance from senior Sammy Albanese, who now has 275 strikeouts this season. She improved to 14-2-1 while allowing no earned runs.

Albanese also had two doubles while Sarah Shore and Gina Freehling both had a triple. Pinewood (1-9, 6-10) committed seven errors. Castilleja will play host to Menlo on Friday at 4 p.m., hoping to avenge its only league loss.

In the SCVAL El Camino Division, Gunn blanked Los Altos, 3-0. After four scoreless innings, Gunn's Taylor Aguon got on base in the top of the fifth with a single, stole second and third, and came home on a hit by Claire Collins. The Titans (7-2, 15-9) sealed the win in the top of the seventh when Nicole Grimwood and Laura Tao both scored. Gunn freshman pitcher Claire Klausner contributed another outstanding performance, allowing only two hits while striking out 16.

Gunn essentially moved into a tie for first place with Santa Clara (8-2) and Monta Vista (6-2) after the Matadors handed the Bruins a 4-3 loss on Tuesday. If Gunn wins its final three games, it will finish with no worse than a tie for the division title.

Boys' lacrosse

In a game that was low-scoring and unexpectedly close through three periods, Palo Alto finally pulled away from a determined Los Altos squad for a 5-1 win in SCVAL El Camino Division play on Tuesday.

With an 8-1 record (13-5 overall), the Vikings clinched the division title with one match remaining — against visiting Gunn on Thursday night. Host Los Altos fell to 4-5 in league (4-10 overall).

When the teams last played at the end of March, Palo Alto scored early and often to build an 8-1 first-period lead on its way to a relaxed 12-2 win. Everything was different Tuesday afternoon - from the weather that got warmer as the game progressed, to Palo Alto's offense, which just couldn't seem to get the ball in the goal.

Despite 22 shots by the Vikings by the end of the first period, they led the Eagles by a single goal scored by middie Halen Gans with a Cory Valenti assist. A few minutes into the second quarter, Paly's Kris Hoglund increased the lead to 2-0 before Los Altos scored. It remained 2-1 throughout the entire third period, as Los Altos seemed poised to push ahead for the upset. It wasn't to be, however.

Midway into the fourth, the Vikings' Kevin Proceviat widened the lead to 3-1, and three minutes later it was freshman Jonny Glazier scoring for a 4-1 bulge. Only eight seconds after that goal, Hoglund won the ensuing faceoff, ran down the field, dodged, and passed to Valenti, who tallied the last goal of the game.

While the Vikings' offense looked anemic at times and shot erratically, Michael Cullen, Cooper Levitan and freshman Billy Rudiger played exceptional defense that limited the Eagles to only six shots. Paly finished with 37.

In the SCVAL De Anza Division, first-place Menlo closed in on a perfect league campaign with a 10-4 victory at Mountain View on Tuesday. The Knights improved to 9-0 in the division (13-5 overall) with only ona match at Saratoga on Saturday remaining before next week's playoffs.

Kris Kvamme scored four goals for Menlo in addition to playing some goalie. Kyle Bullington added two goals for the Knights while David Lee won eight of 11 faceoffs and picked up 10 groundballs while helping control the offense. haans

In another De Anza Division match, Menlo-Atherton (2-7, 6-7) handed Los Gatos a 4-3 loss as Ryan Johnston, Tommy Cummmings, Pierce Osgood and Zander Rohn all scored goals while goalie Sam Weber came up with some big saves. Los Gatos fell to 5-4 (12-4).

Girls' lacrosse

Menlo wrapped up the West Bay Athletic League (Foothill Division) regular-season title with a 14-9 victory over visiting Burlingame on Tuesday in the final home game for Menlo seniors Deborah Wohl, Katie Hopkins, Aly Pavela, Emma Southgate, Annie Madding, Maggie Brown, Natalie Williford and Mila Sheeline.

Brown led the way with five goals while Sheeline contributed four goals. Freshman Michaela Michael scored three times while Williford and Sophie Sheeline added single tallies.

The Knights grabbed a 6-4 halftime lead and never trailed. Menlo pulled away from a 9-7 lead with 18 minutes to play, pushing its lead to 11-8 and then 13-8. Brown added three assists as the Knights had seven goals assisted.

In a nonleague match, host Menlo-Atherton (4-11) handed Gunn a 17-9 defeat as Rebecca Higgitt, Caroline Edwards and Sydney Novak-Federmeyer all scored four goals for the Bears. Madison Sabbag tallied five goals to lead Gunn.

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