Sports

Local players help City Beach win volleyball gold

Three Paly, two SHP and one Menlo girl help bring home title from Junior National Championships

The Palo Alto and Sacred Heart Prep girls' volleyball teams enjoyed great success this season. The Vikings compiled a 33-game winning streak and reached the Central Coast Section Division II semifinals while the Gators went 24-11 and won the section's Division IV championship. Both teams made it to the NorCal semifinals.

Members of both teams helped their City Beach 15 Black volleyball squad capture the gold medal in the 15 National Division of the 2010 USA Volleyball Junior National Championships on Tuesday at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center in Reno.

City Beach went 10-1 while capturing the division championship. Palo Alto High's Shelby Knowles, Jackie Koenig and Caroline Martin were joined by SHP's Sonia Abuel-Saud and Olivia Bertolacci on the winning team. Abuel-Saud was named the division's Most Valuable Player while City Beach's Emily Reed and Elizabeth Nizzoli made the all-tournament team.

Also playing for City Beach was Drew Edelman from Menlo School and Becky Slattery from Mountain View High. The team is coached by former Stanford volleyball standout Leahi Hall.

Seventh-seeded City Beach had to battle from behind in its final six matches after losing the first game in each outing. It won the title with a 23-25, 25-22, 15-13 victory over top-seeded Tejas 15 Kaepa 1 (North Texas).

The first set started with City Beach on top, but Tejas kept fighting and took the lead at 17-16. However, City Beach tied the game at 19 before losing the lead and the game.

Game 2 began with Tejas leading until City Beach came back and took a 12-10 lead. The game went back and forth until City Beach eventually pulled ahead for the win.

The third game was much like the first two. Tejas and City Beach kept fighting to take the lead. City Beach led 8-6 at the switch and eventually won, 15-13. The three-game match had a total of nine lead changes and was a nail-biter throughout.

City Beach reached the final match after defeating second-seeded Colorado Jrs 15 Sherri (Rocky Mountain), 20-25, 25-20, 15-9, in the quarterfinal. In the semifinal, City Beach defeated sixth-seeded Black Swamp 15 Orwig (Ohio Valley), 23-25, 25-23, 15-6.

-- Palo Alto Online Sports

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