The SCVAL De Anza Division volleyball season is under way and defending champion Palo Alto appears well-prepared to claim a fifth straight championship after an impressive opener on Tuesday.
The Vikings, coming off a tournament title at the Harbor Invitational on Saturday, kept their momentum and win streak intact with a 25-10, 25-13, 25-7 triumph at Los Altos.
Palo Alto is 19-0 this season, the best start in school history. The Vikings will be looking for No. 20 in a row when they host Monta Vista on Thursday at 6:45 p.m. Paly won 33 straight matches last season to establish a school record.
Paly made only four hitting errors the entire match against Los Altos, showcasing some excellent balance between aggressive swings and smart shots. Junior Maddie Kuppe led the offense with 11 kills with junior Melanie Wade adding 10 and junior Caroline Martin contributing eight.
In the SCVAL El Camino Division, Gunn (1-0, 13-4) opened its league season with an easy 25-9, 25-8, 25-20 victory over host Fremont on Tuesday night. Alana Titzler served four aces and Anna Simanovskaia had a match-high six kills for the Titans. Alyn Shen dished out 20 assists.
Gunn will host Milpitas on Thursday (6:45 p.m.) with all Palo Alto middle school kids and their families can get into the game for free.
In the PAL Bay Division, Menlo-Atherton (1-0, 8-5) opened its league season with a 25-15, 25-9, 25-17 triumph over visiting San Mateo. Diane Seely had 10 kills and six blocks for the Bears while Hannah Branning added 10 digs and Sarah Collins contributed 19 assists, seven digs and nine kills.
In nonleague action on Tuesday:
Castilleja (12-2) rolled over host Pinewood, 25-7, 25-4, 25-12, as Abby Thornburg served 13 aces and Sophie Koontz added eight. Hannah Boland finished with a team-high 12 kills for the Gators after registering 35 kills and 10 blocks to pace Castilleja to a 4-1 mark and second-place finish at the Westmont Tournament last weekend.
In Atherton, host Sacred Heart Prep (8-5) took on a tough Presentation team and dropped a 25-6, 25-18, 25-11 decision to the WCAL power.
Erin LaPorte battled her way to a 6-4, 6-7, 7-5 victory at No. 3 singles to give visiting Menlo-Atherton an important 4-3 victory over Carlmont in PAL Bay Division action on Tuesday.
The Bears (2-1, 3-2) suffered a loss to Aragon last week and needed a victory to remain among the league leaders. M-A senior Paige Keating produced a big 6-7, 7-5, 6-0 triumph at No. 1 singles to set the stage for LaPorte's clinching win.
The first four matches -- No. 2 and 4 singles plus No. 2 and 3 doubles -- ended in straight sets and left the teams deadlocked at 2. After Keating won her match, Carlmont took No. 1 doubles to tie the match at 3.
In the SCVAL De Anza Division, host Gunn (1-1, 6-4) dropped a tough 4-3 decision to Lynbrook in a match that saw the Titans lose at No. 1 and 2 singles on tiebreakers. Only one match went to three sets, but that was the decider as Gunn's No. 3 doubles tandem of Tiffany Russell and Andrea Gonzalez dropped a tough 6-2, 4-6, 7-5 decision.
Boys' water polo
Priory evened its PAL Ocean Division record at 1-1 by scoring nine goals in the fourth quarter to pull out a 14-10 triumph over visiting Mills on Tuesday.
The Panthers trailed by 10-5 heading into the final period before scoring quickly on counter attacks to get the comeback rolling. Michael Wan scored three goals in the quarter and finished with a team-high five. Ryan Valentine scored two of his three goals in the period and Houtan Bozorghadad scored both his goals while the Priory defense blanked the visitors.
In the SCVAL De Anza Division, host Palo Alto (0-1, 2-5) dropped a 10-4 decision to Monta Vista.
Girls' water polo
Gunn (2-0, 5-0) tuned up for a big showdown at Los Altos on Thursday by swamping host Saratoga, 17-1, in SCVAL De Anza Division action on Tuesday. Elizabeth Anderson led the Titans with five goals while Rachael Acker added four.
Elsewhere in the De Anza Division, host Palo Alto (1-2, 3-6) handed Monta Vista a 16-6 loss. The Vikings jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead on goals by Haley Conner, Anna Glaves (two) and Katie Masur.