Sacred Heart Prep girls are off to a solid tennis start

Plenty of tests still ahead for Gators after 6-1 nonleague win at Gunn

The girls' tennis season already is taking shape with Saratoga and Monta Vista looking like the strongest contenders for Central Coast Section honors this season.

That still leaves a lot of room for other teams -- like Sacred Heart Prep -- to move into possible contention while advancing deep into the postseason playoffs.

That's still a long ways off for Sacred Heart Prep, which first needs to prove itself in the West Bay Athletic League against defending champ Menlo and contender Harker.

The Gators still have a few nonleague tests to deal with, starting with Wednesday's home match against visiting St. Francis at 3:30 p.m. After that, SHP will visit Menlo-Atherton at Friday before opening league play next week.

The Gators are off to a fine 5-1 start after defeating host Gunn, 6-1, in a nonleague match on Monday. Only one match went to three sets, but SHP pulled that one out as the No. 1 douibles team of Ceci Marshall and Kelsey Hemm battled back from an early deficit to register a 1-6, 7-5, 11-9 triumph.

The Gators swept the singles with Elysa Kohrs (6-2, 6-1), Alex Marshall (7-5, 6-1), Ronnie Thompson (6-1, 6-1) and Isabelle Thompson (6-3, 6-2) finishing off their opponents with relative ease.

In a big SCVAL De Anza Division match on Tuesday, Palo Alto (1-2) will get an idea of where it ranks in league play when it hosts unbeaten Saratoga at 3:30 p.m. The Vikings were beaten by Monta Vista last week, which pretty much leaves Saratoga and Monta Vista to battle it out for first place.

Paly coach Andy Harader is still awaiting the return of No. 1 singles player Janet Liu, who teamed with Emma Marti to win the CCS doubles title last season. Marti is not playing with the Vikings this season, but instead is being home-schooled while allowing her to compete on the USTA circuit.

Girls' golf

Castilleja opened up its WBAL season with an impressive 199-243 victory over host Harker at the par-34 Los Lagos Golf Course in San Jose on Monday.

Castilleja senior Brenna Nelsen led by way by winning medalist honors with a 2-over-par 36. Other scores for the Gators included Sarah Debs with a 38; Taylor Wilkerson with a 41; Caroline Debs 41 and Stephanie Merenbach with a 43.

Castilleja next will take on Mercy-Burlingame on Wednesday at Crystal Springs in Hillsborough.

In another WBAL opener, Sacred Heart Prep had an easy time with Notre Dame-San Jose while posting a 264-318 victory at Menlo Country Club. Rachael Henry shot 46 to win medalist honors for SHP on the par-36 layout. Teammate Kennedy Shields added a 48.

Next up for the Gators will be a WBAL test against Menlo on Wednesday at Palo Alto Hills Golf and Country Club.

-- Palo Alto Online Sports

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