It was a showdown between two teams that had won tournaments the previous two weeks. It was a matchup of natural rivals. Yet, Tuesday's volleyball confrontation between host Palo Alto and Gunn nonetheless was one-sided.
The visiting Titans, playing without starting setter Monica Cai and without starting outside hitter Julia Maggioncalda, proved to be no match during a 25-10, 25-10, 25-12 nonleague setback to the unbeaten Vikings.
Palo Alto (11-0) had won the High Sierra Classic with a 9-0 mark two weeks ago while Gunn (12-4) captured the Central California Classic last weekend with a 7-1 mark. That, perhaps, was the only similarities the teams had heading into their match.
Paly was simply too tall and too deep and took advantage of Gunn's missing players, both sidelined by injuries. The Vikings controlled the tempo throughout, due to come balanced attacking from junior Kimmy Whitson's nice setting. She finished with 23 assists, three kills, two aces and three digs.
Junior Melanie Wade had 11 kills for Paly with no hitting errors, producing a hitting percentage of .647 with two blocks and an ace. Senior outside hitter Trina Ohms added nine kills (.350 hitting), five aces and six digs while senior libero Megan Coleman contributed 19 digs. Junior Maddie Kuppe (seven kills, four digs) and sophomore Shelby Knowles (five digs, three aces) also had a hand in the victory.
Molly McAdam, Lisa Yan and Kiana Choroski each contributed two kills on the night for Gunn, and Allison Doerpinghaus had three blocks.
The Titans were unable to put enough pressure on the Vikings in serve receive or on defense and were forced to go to a two-setter offense in order to get more of a blocking presence and additional offense. Nicole Grimwood performed admirably in her setting duties in the place of the injured Cai, and Alyn Shen played with her usual intensity and effort.
The Titans travel to Fremont next Tuesday and then host Milpitas on Sept. 23.
Palo Alto will host San Benito on Thursday (6:30 p.m.) before heading into the Harbor Invitational on Saturday in Santa Cruz as the No. 1-seeded team. The Vikings could meet unbeaten Aptos during the one-day event.
In other volleyball action Tuesday:
Castilleja (6-1) got 16 kills and five solo blocks from junior Hannah Boland and 11 kills from sophomore Lucy Tashman in a 25-16, 25-18, 22-25, 25-11 nonleague victory over Silver Creek. Hannah Hsieh produced 40 assists and Clare Dreyfus served seven aces while Lindsey Wang had 21 digs and five aces for the Gators, who visit King's Academy on Thursday.
In Belmont, Sacred Heart Prep (6-4) dropped a 25-14, 25-22, 25-21 nonleague decision to host Carlmont. Sarah Daschbach had nine kills and six digs for the Gators while Jesse Ebner added seven kills and four blocks with Hanna Elmore contributing 12 assists and seven digs. SHP will host San Mateo on Wednesday (6 p.m.)
In Los Altos Hills, Pinewood (2-2) suffered its second straight setback while dropping a 25-15, 25-11, 25-9 nonleague test to visiting St. Thomas More. The Panthers had 34 serve receive errors and hit a negative .269 as a team with eight kills and 22 hitting errors in 52 attempts. Pinewood's Lizzy Fields had three stuff blocks to raise her season total to 21. The Panthers will host Fremont (Sunnyvale) on Wednesday at 5:15 p.m.
Coming off a solid finish at last weekend's California High School Girls Tennis Classic in Fresno, Gunn kept the momentum going with a 4-3 victory over host Los Altos to open the SCVAL De Anza Division season on Tuesday.
The Titans, who went 4-1 in Fresno (finishing 20th out of 111 teams) after losing to eventual runnerup Corona Del Mar in the opening round, found themselves tied at 3 with Los Altos with No. 3 doubles still battling.
Natalie Wilson and Andrea Gonzalez won the first set in a tiebreaker, but lost the second before pulling out the victory, 7-6 (7-1), 1-6, 6-3, and the match.
Gunn had lost three of four singles matches with only Peying Lee's 6-2, 6-2 win at No. 4 preventing a sweep. That left it up to the doubles, where Cara Lai-Angela Juang and Natasha Allen-Laura Kidder won in straight sets for Gunn (1-0, 5-2).
In another De Anza Division opener, host Palo Alto played without No. 1 singles player Janet Liu (away in New York) and dropped a 4-3 decision to Lynbrook. Paly suffered a sweep in all four singles matches.
Elsewhere, Sacred Heart Prep (2-1) had only one match go to three sets during a 7-0 victory over Crystal Springs on Tuesday. Only Alex Marshall, at No. 2 singles, was pushed to three sets but she pulled out a 1-6, 6-3, 6-2 victory. Alyssa Kohrs paced the sweep with a 6-2, 7-5 win at No. 1 singles.
Boys' water polo
Senior Ken Wattana scored four goals and sophomore Bret Pinsker added two goals plus three steals to pace Palo Alto to a 9-6 victory over host Los Gatos to open the SCVAL De Anza Division season. Junior goalie Daniel Armitano had 12 saves for the Vikings, including two during man-down situations.
In other openers, Los Altos outscored Homestead, 23-14, and Monta Vista got by Mountain View, 11-8.
In Portola Valley, host Priory dropped a 10-8 season-opening decision to Aragon in PAL Ocean Division action. Michael Wan scored three goals for the Panthers, which fell behind by 7-1 at halftime before outscoring the Dons in the second half. Eric Turnquist added two goals for Priory.