At Gunn High, the M-A boys handily won the SCVAL championship with an 11-5 triumph over defending champion Menlo School. The Bears' aggressive defense and outstanding team hustle thwarted the Knights' offense, earning coach Steve Kryger and his team their first league title.
M-A finished the year with an 18-4 record and with a No. 3 Central Coast Section ranking by Laxpower.com. Menlo ends the year 12-11 with a No. 6 ranking.
The starting attack again led Bears scoring. Duncan McGinnis scored four and had two assists, to lead all scorers. Fellow attack Kotaro Kihira got three goals and an assist, while midfielder Pierce Osgood scored two goals and an assist.
Earlier in the day, the Menlo girls scored early to grab a 15-5 halftime lead before coasting to the WBAL title. Junior Michaela Michael set the tone of the game by scoring Menlo's first goal just 45 seconds into the match. Burlingame eventually rallied and got to within 8-5 before the Knights scored seven unanswered goals, two by junior Brooke Bullington.
Nine different Menlo players put points on the board, with Michael leading the way with seven goals and one assist. Bullington finished with four goals and two assists, Ali Kim added two goals and two assists while Sophie Sheeline, Kaitlin Frangione and Savannah McKinnon all scored twice.
Michael finished the season with 131 goals and 31 assists for 162 points. She is the school's all-time leading scorer with more than 400 career points.
Menlo School coach Craig Schoof should be feeling pretty good following the opening round of the Central Coast Section Division III playoffs. A path to the finals has been cleared for the Knights once again.
If history is any indication, Sacred Heart Prep's 6-5 upset of top-seeded Palma on Wednesday has opened the door for Menlo.
Last year, Palma also was seeded No. 1 but lost in the second round to Santa Cruz. Menlo wound up beating Santa Cruz in the championship game, 4-0.
In 2010, Scotts Valley was the No. 1 seed and lost its opener to Hillsdale, which advanced to the championship game. There, Hillsdale fell to Menlo, 8-2.
And, in 2004, Carmel was the No. 1 seed in Division III but lost to Scotts Valley in the semifinals. In the championship game, Menlo topped Scotts Valley, 7-5.
Second-seeded Menlo (20-7) is now the highest remaining seed and is two wins away from reaching the finals for a third straight year. The Knights need to beat No. 7 San Lorenzo Valley (15-7) on Saturday to earn a semifinal date against either No. 3 Monte Vista Christian or No. 6 Monterey.
In the bottom half of the bracket, No. 16 Sacred Heart Prep is matched against No. 9 Pacific Grove (17-10) in Saturday's quarterfinals. The other game has No. 4 Soqual (16-10) against No. 5 Carmel (19-9). Those winners meet Tuesday in the semifinals.
If Sacred Heart Prep advances to the finals to meet Menlo, it will be their first championship matchup since 1989 when the Knights won the 2A Division crown.
The Gators were a huge underdog to No. 1 Palma on Wednesday in the opening round of the playoffs. That obvious disadvantage didn't seem to bother the Gators, who pulled the upset of the tournament over the host Chieftans (21-6). The Gators got a 90-pitch, complete-game victory from Tyler Vau Dell and four RBI from Joey Papangellin, who had a bases-clearing double in the fifth inning to give SHP a 6-4 lead. Matt Martella had three hits while Mike Covell, Luke Thomas and Nick Sinchek all contributed two hits for the Gators.
In Atherton, Freddy Avis hit a pair of home runs to pace Menlo School to a 10-0 victory over St. Thomas More in five innings to open the playoffs. Davidson-bound senior lefthander Jake Batchelder threw the third CCS no-hitter in Menlo history. Batchelder struck out seven and walked three in the five-inning complete-game effort. Batchelder also doubled in the first run and knocked another in the third on a groundout.
The real hitting stars for the Knights were Avis and Mikey Diekroeger. Diekroeger got Menlo going with a leadoff line drive home run in the third to put the Knights up 2-0. That was one of his three hit on the afternoon. Avis then hit two titantic blasts, the last estimated at over 400 feet.
In Division I action, Ozzie Braff belted a three-run homer to spark Palo Alto to a 9-0 victory over No. 16 seed Evergreen Valley in the opening round. B.J. Boyd, Clay Carey and Christian Lonsky all had two hits for the Vikings, who belted out 12 hits. Paly used four pitchers who combined on a three-hitter, with starter Kevin Kannappan getting the win with three innings.
The No. 1 seed Vikings (26-6) next will play No. 8 Bellarmine (15-14), a 6-3 winner over No. 9 Santa Teresa, in Saturday's quarterfinals.
In other Division I action, Menlo-Atherton gave up four runs in the second inning on five hits, a walk and an error and couldn't make up the deficit while dropping a 7-1 decision to host Mitty. The No. 6-seeded Monarchs (17-12) wrapped things up in the fifth by scoring three runs on a hit batter, a walk, two singles and a sacrifice fly.
Castilleja saw its season end in a 14-0 loss to host and No. 4 seed Notre Dame-Salinas in a CCS Division III opener on Wednesday that was shortened to five innings by the 10-run mercy rule. Frances Hughes had the only hit for the No. 13 Gators (11-16), a single in the first inning. Senior Aryana Yee struck out seven in her final game.
Menlo School juniors William Boyd and Michael Hoffman finished second in the doubles portion of the CCS Individual Tournament that wrapped up Wednesday at Imperial Courts in Aptos. Boyd and Hoffman, the No. 4 seed, reached the finals by upending No. 2-seeded Nick Chu and Rohan Shankar of Bellarmine, 6-2, 6-1, but fell in the title match to the No. 3-seeded team of Anthony Bello and Spencer Simonides of Los Altos, 6-1, 6-3.
Track and field
Utilizing its superior sprint crew once again, the Palo Alto boys' track and field squad ran off with the team title at the SCVAL Qualifier last weekend at Santa Clara High. The Vikings won five events, including both relays, while scoring 129 points.
Junior E.J. Floreal had a big hand in four of the victories as he anchored the 400 relay to a 42.42 triumph. It was the same time the Vikings ran while winning the SCVAL De Anza Division title last week. Tremaine Kirkman, Jayshawn Gates-Mouton and Morris Gates-Mouton gave Floreal a big lead.
Floreal then won the 100 in 10.61, his second-fastest time ever. More important, the Vikings finished 1-2-3-4 and scored 28 points to duplicate their finish at the league meet. Kirkman was second in a season-best 10.96 while Matt Tolbert and Jayshawn Gates-Mouton each ran 11.26.
The 200 didn't provide another 1-2-3-4 finish for Paly, but Floreal won easily in 21.88 with Jonathan Alee second in 22.61. Kirkman was fourth (22.99) and Jayshawn Gates-Mouton sixth (23.12) as all four qualified for the CCS semifinals next Saturday at Gilroy High.
Floreal capped his busy day by leading off the 1600 relay that won in a season best of 3:26.73. Nikolai Solgaard, Alee and Morris Gates-Mouton rounded out the squad.
Earlier, Solgaard won the 800 in a personal best of 1:56.31 to put him among the contenders at CCS.
The Menlo School girls' and boys' track and field teams swept the WBAL finals Saturday at Westmoor in Daly City.
The Knights finished the trials on Wednesday with the boys needing about four points to take over No. 1 and the girls needing about six. The teams came through in the finals, marking the first time in league history that one school won both the girls' and boys' events.
The Menlo girls, despite only fielding eight competitors, scored 79.5 points to edge Notre Dame-San Jose (78) and Mercy-Burlingame (73.5) to win their first-ever title.
The Menlo boys took first with 126 points, beating second-place Sacred Heart Prep by six points.
Laura Gradiska, Shannon Lacy, Matt Myers, Maddy Price all had multiple victories to boost the Knights.
Next up will be the CCS semifinals on Saturday at Gilroy High. Field events begin at 9 a.m. with running events starting at 1 p.m. The last scheduled event is the boys' 1600 relay at 5:10 p.m.
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