SHP boys off to a good start again in water polo

Three-time defending CCS champion Gators open with an 8-7 victory

The last time the Sacred Heart Prep boys' water polo team played Acalanes, the Gators captured the victory and the tournament championship of the CCS-NCS Challenge. Sacred Heart Prep went on later in the season to win the Central Coast Section Division II crown for a third straight season.

The Gators and Acalanes met again on Wednesday to open the 2010 season, with Sacred Heart Prep getting off to a good start with an 8-7 nonleague triumph in Atherton.

Senior Philip Bamberg scored in the third quarter to give SHP an 8-6 lead, which held up in the fourth period. He finished with two goals while senior Robert Dunlevie led the way with three tallies. Sophomore goalie Will Runkel, making his starting debut, played very well and finished with 12 saves.

In girls' nonleague water polo action Wednesday, host Menlo-Atherton got three goals from senior MJ O'Neill in a 6-5 overtime triumph over visiting Los Altos. The Bears also got two goals from junior Emily Grant and one from junior Danielle Flanagan.

Gran provided the winning goal for the Bears, who fell behind at halftime (5-4) before tightening up their defense in the second half and holding Los Altos scoreless for the final 14 minutes of regulation and six minutes (two periods) of overtime.

Senior goalie Emily Dorst was a standout on the defensive end for the Bears, who stepped up and fought hard for 34 minutes to post a victory over a tough CCS Division I rival. Menlo-Atherton beat Los Altos in the CCS semifinals last season.

Girls' golf

Menlo School opened its West Bay Athletic League season as freshman Chandler Wickers won medalist honors with a 46 to pace the Knights to a 260-322 thumping of host Mercy-Burlingame at Crystal Springs Golf Course in Hillsborough on Wednesday.

Menlo senior Gabby Girard shot a 47 while her sister, Virginia, also contributed to the scoring.

Girls' tennis

Palo Alto bounced back from a tough season-opening loss to Lynbrook on Tuesday and blanked host Notre Dame-San Jose, 7-0, in nonleague play Wednesday. After being swept in singles the day before, the Vikings (1-1) swept every match in straight sets. Senior Mira Khanna led the way with a 6-0, 6-2 win at No. 1 singles.

In Atherton, Menlo dropped a 5-2 nonleague decision to defending CCS champ Saratoga on Wednesday. The Falcons (5-0) were coming off a big tournament championship at the California High School Girls Tennis Classic in Clovis last weekend, where Menlo finished fifth.

Menlo (4-2) took Saratoga to three sets in four matches, but lost three of them.

"We have to get better at that," Menlo coach Bill Shine said.

Menlo's victories came at No. 3 singles from freshman Christine Eliazo (6-2, 5-7, 6-2) and at No. 4 singles from sophomore Laura Gradiska (6-3, 6-2).

"I was really pleased with how they played," Shine said. "We were not intimidated. The girls grew up a lot since last weekend."

Girls' volleyball

Getting 12 kills and 16 digs from senior Sarah Daschbach, Sacred Heart Prep rolled to a 25-17, 25-10, 25-15 nonleague victory over visiting San Mateo on Wednesday night. The Gators (7-4) also got 13 kills and two aces from Sonia Abuel-Saud plus 19 assists from Amelia Alvarez and 18 assists from Hannah Elmore.

-- Palo Alto Online Sports

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