There's a good reason why the Palo Alto High girls' volleyball team is No. 1 in the Central Coast Section Division I rankings and No. 18 in the state in the same division -- it's tough not to be ranked high when you're undefeated.
That's where the Vikings stand today after being tested by host Mountain View before pulling out a 25-15, 21-25, 25-20, 25-19 victory in SCVAL De Anza Division action. Palo Alto improved to 3-0 in league and 21-0 overall.
The victory provided a nice birthday present for senior libero Megan Coleman and junior middle blocker Jackie Koenig. The Vikings presented both with a solid victory from a balanced attack and just enough defense to slow down Mountain View standout Brittany Howard, who had 18 kills.
Palo Alto, however, cancelled Howard's efforts with senior Trina Ohms producing a season-high 23 kills.
Palo Alto will host Homestead on Thursday (6:45 p.m.) before traveling to face Los Gatos next Tuesday in a crucial league showdown.
In the SCVAL El Camino Division, Gunn (4-0, 16-4) continued to dominate in division play with a 25-16, 25-22, 25-9 blasting of host Santa Clara. Adrienne Thom led the Titans with 12 kills, while Erica Johnston, Julia Maggioncalda, and Molly McAdam each had five. Julia Li had 10 digs, Alyn Shen had 11 assists and Monica Cai had 25 assists. Allison Doerpinghaus chipped in with four kills and 4.5 blocks.
The Titans controlled Games 1 and 3 but Game 2 was a bit tricky. Gunn trailed 18-22 before Nicole Grimwood's serving and Johnston's clutch hitting sparked a momentum change as Gunn went on to win the last seven points in the game.
In the PAL Bay Division, host Menlo-Atherton suffered its first league loss, dropping a 26-24, 22-25, 25-22, 25-23 decision to Burlingame. The Bears (2-1, 9-6), ranked No. 3 in the CCS Division I poll at Maxpreps.com, fell out of a tie for first-place as the Panthers (3-0) grabbed sole possession of the top spot.
Regina Mullen led M-A with 21 kills, six digs and two aces while teammate Diane Seely had 12 kills, Seini Moimoi had 10 blocks and Hannah Branning contributed 10 digs.
In nonleague action:
Castilleja (19-2) had to battle for its latest victory as sophomore Lucy Tashman produced 19 kills and three aces to help rally the host Gators to a 25-16, 23-25, 25-27, 25-19, 15-12 triumph over Crystal Springs-Uplands.
Junior Hannah Boland contributed 17 kills and seven blocks while senior Laura Rose had 14 kills and seven blocks. Setter Hannah Hsieh added 48 assists while libero Lindsey Wang produced 32 digs.
In Atherton, Sacred Heart Prep (10-6) won its second straight match with a 25-21, 25-14, 25-17 decision over visiting Los Altos. Sarah Daschbach led the Gators with 13 kills and eight digs while Helen Gannon provided 18 digs.
In Hollister, Menlo (8-5) dropped a 25-18, 25-21, 25-23 decision to host San Benito. Freshman Maddie Huber hit .235 with 13 kills and eight digs, and senior Jazmin Moledina hit .346 with 11 kills and two blocks for the Knights.
Freshman Melissa Cairo had nine digs, junior Natalie Roy tallied eight kills and eight digs, and senior Anelise Hohl had five kills. Sophomore Alexandra Ko had 32 assists and five digs for Menlo, which will host Notre Dame-Belmont on Thursday at 6:15 p.m.