Player of the Week volleyball honors for Palo Alto's Avis


Williams College senior Emily Avis of Palo Alto was selected as the NESCAC Women's Volleyball Player of the Week for play ending Oct. 3.

Avis, a setter, averaged 10.88 assists per set during a 4-1 week for the Ephs, which included

a 3-1 showing at the Stevens Invitational this past weekend. At Stevens, Avis dished

out 143 assists over 13 sets (11.0 per set), including 54 in a 3-1 victory over Clarkson

on Saturday, and earned All-Tournament Team honors.

She also had 33 digs (1.94 per set), nine kills, and three service aces during the week.

In other volleyball news:

A handful of local players have helped the Princeton women's team get off to a good start in Ivy League action, thanks to a big 26-26, 15-25, 25-23, 25-19, 25-9 triumph over defending league champion Penn last weekend. The victory moved the Tigers to 1-0 in league (6-6 overall).

Pacing the comeback was junior setter Michaela Venuti from Gunn High. She recorded 53 assists and 12 digs. Fellow junior Hillary Ford from Palo Alto High added a match-best 25 digs from her starting libero position.

Also playing for Princeton is sophomore Molly Bagshaw from Menlo School and freshman Christine Renschler from Sacred Heart Prep.

Princeton came into the Ivy League opener having gone a combined 0-6 in 2008 and '09 against teams that finished higher than the Tigers in league play (Yale in 2008, Penn and Yale in '09).

Earlier last week, Princeton handed Temple a 25-19, 16-25, 25-22, 25-19 loss as the Tigers opened their home season. Venuti produced 38 assists while Ford had 11 digs.

Men's water polo

While the volleyball team was closer to home, the Princeton men's water polo team was clear across the country participating in the annual SoCal Tournament in Los Angeles against the nation's top teams.

The nationally No. 16-ranked Tigers (9-5) went 1-4 in the two-day tourney. Princeton beat Redlands, 10-8 on the final day after losing to No. 12 St. Francis, 13-11. Paly grad Tim Wenzlau had a goal against Redlands while goalie Mike Merlone from Menlo School had six saves.

In the loss to St. Francis, Merlone had five saves while fellow senior Matt Hale from Menlo School scored two goals while Sacred Heart Prep grad Connor Still, a freshman, added one.

On the first day, Princeton fell to No. 2 UCLA, 13-2, and then dropped a 9-1 decision to No. 10 Loyola Marymount. Wenzlau scored the lone goal in the second contest while Merlone had eight saves. Against UCLA, Merlone and freshman goalie Ben Dearborn from Sacred Heart Prep combined for seven saves.

Princeton headed into the tournament with the reigning CWPA Southern Division Player of the Week in Hale. He had helped Princeton go 3-0 the previous week with four goals, five assists and 14 steals.

-- Palo Alto Online Sports

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