Menlo School girls win own volleyball tournament

Gunn cross-country teams finish third in Hawaii, with Robinson setting course record with individual win

The Menlo School girls' volleyball team posted a perfect 5-0 record to capture the title at the fifth annual Menlo Invitational Saturday in Menlo's new athletic center in Atherton. The Knights improved to 13-6 on the season.

When Menlo Athletic Director Craig Schoof handed the championship plaque to Menlo seniors Molly Crowe, Anelise Hohl, Jazmin Moledina and Emily Ryles, the Knights became the first two-time champions in the tournament's history. Just like in 2008, Menlo didn't lose a single set en route to the tournament title. Aragon finished second in the six-team round-robin format for the second consecutive year.

"It was a great performance by our team today," said Menlo coach Chris Crader. "Everyone played well, our energy and effort level was fantastic, and our execution was very good. This has been a really hard week for our girls, for a number of reasons, and I'm so happy for all of them that they were able to have this success."

After starting out 3-0, met an Aragon team that was also undefeated in the tournament at that point, but the Knights took control early in a 25-9, 25-12 win. Sophomore Alexandra Ko had 18 assists, four aces and six digs from her setter position, and led her team to an overall hitting percentage of .488. Menlo did not make a hitting error in the entire match. Freshman Maddie Huber hit .500 with nine kills, and Hohl hit .750 with three kills. Junior Natalie Roy added five digs and two aces, and freshman Melissa Cairo had four digs.

With a chance to win the tournament, Menlo was able to complete a perfect day with a 25-14, 25-18 win over Saratoga. Roy had five kills, 12 digs and six aces, and Moledina finished with a .429 hitting percentage and nine kills, including the match-winner. Huber had six kills, six digs and a pair of aces, and freshman Maddy Frappier also had six kills.

Menlo had a shaky start, committing five errors in the first seven points of the day, but turned things around to post a 25-19, 25-17 win over Harbor in the first match. Moledina hit .429 with five kills and two blocks; Roy hit .364 with five kills and five digs; and Frappier hit .300 with five kills and three digs. Hohl hit .750 with three kills and two blocks.

The Knights then posted a 25-12, 25-18 win over Woodside. Menlo trailed 12-5 in the second set, but earned a side out and then Ko went on a serving spree, leading her team on a 12-0 scoring run. Ko finished with three aces, five digs and 14 assists. Huber hit .467 with seven kills to lead the offense, and Cairo had seven digs to lead the defense. Hohl and Frappier each had 1.000 hitting percentages, with three kills apiece.

Menlo, which was swept by host San Benito earlier in the week, got some revenge by topping the Haybalers 25-16, 25-21. Moledina hit .316 with eight kills, four blocks and three digs. Huber also stuffed the stat sheet, hitting .333 with eight kills, 10 digs, three aces and two blocks. Frappier had seven kills, and Roy had four kills and seven digs.

Menlo Invitational

Final standings:

Menlo School 5-0

Aragon 4-1

Saratoga 3-2

San Benito 2-3

Harbor 1-4

Woodside 0-5

Past champions:

2006 – San Benito

2007 – Harker

2008 – Menlo School

2009 – Palo Alto

2010 – Menlo School

Cross country

The Gunn boys and girls both finished third at the annual Punahou Invitational cross-country meet on Saturday in Oahu, Hawaii. For the Gunn boys, junior Andrew Prior (fifth), junior Peter Chen (sixth) and senior Rory Runser (ninth) all placed in the top 10. Also scoring for the Titans were junior Daniel Krigel and senior Sam Dawson.

In the girls' race, Gunn senior Erin Robinson won the race in a course record while her sister, freshman Sarah Robinson, placed third. Junior Kieran Gallagher was in third place with less than a mile to go, but unfortunately had to drop out due to an asthma attack. However, junior Melia Dunbar, senior Sylvia Zhang and sophomore Ally Reister ran well enough to secure a third-place team finish.

At the annual Artichoke Invitational at Half Moon Bay High on Saturday, the Palo Alto girls finished fourth while the boys took 10th in the Large School divisions.

Paly senior Susan Heinselman was second overall, clocking 15:02, while individual winner Kelsey Santisteban of Castro Valley won in 13:37. Paly's Gracie Cain was 11th overall (8th for scoring) in 15:25 while Leigh Dairaghi was 14th (15:55), Rachel Vasquez 29th (16:38) and Lydia Guo 37th (17:12).

In the boys' race, Nikolai Solgaard led Paly with a 13th-place finish in 12:46. Matan Geller was 43rd (13:48) while Andre Gouyet was 64th (14:18). Other Paly scorers included Charlie Kelsey (14:41) and William Hall (14:47).


Pinewood improved to 2-1 with a 50-30 nonleague triumph over Stuart Hall on Saturday in San Francisco.

In Portola Valley, Priory (2-2) dropped a 20-6 decision to Crystal Springs-Uplands. The Panthers had 192 offensive yards, with James McDaniel rushing for 64 yards on eight carries with the lone touchdown. Connor Mather added 47 yards on the ground while Marc Talbott caught two passes for 47 yards.

Defensively, Talbott intercepted two passes, made eight tackles and recovered a fumble. Alex Brugger and Mather each had six tackles and a sack.

-- Palo Alto Online Sports/Chris Crader, Menlo School

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