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Gunn girls keep league title hopes alive in water polo after crucial win

 

If it doesn't already, the Gunn girls' water polo should have Oct. 19 circled on its calendar. That's when the Titans play host to Los Altos with the SCVAL De Anza Division regular-season title on the line.

Gunn and Los Altos have met once already this season, with the Eagles registering a victory in their own pool. The rematch will be in Gunn's pool, where the Titans upset Los Altos in last season's league playoff finals.

Thus, Gunn will have some good vibe for it in two weeks. All the Titans need to do is keep the momentum going, like they did Tuesday in a 9-6 victory over visiting Palo Alto.

Juniors Elizabeth Anderson and Casey Lincoln each scored two goals for Gunn, as did senior Shelby Newman. The Titans jumped out to a 5-0 lead and never trailed. Anderson gave the Titans the lead with a goal just 22 seconds into the match.

"We moved the ball very well early on," said Gunn coach Mark Hernandez, whose team improved to 5-1 in league and 8-1 overall -- the only loss coming to Los Altos (6-0 league). "Everyone in the pool got involved in the offense, and that helped. Our girls came out very aggressive on offense, and very smart and helpful on defense."

Gunn took a 6-0 lead into halftime and held an 8-1 lead in the third period before the Vikings (4-2, 9-8) battled back and made it close behind three goals from Skylar Dorosin. Paly's Haley Conner also scored three times in the second half.

"Palo Alto definitely had a good second half," Hernandez said. "They made some nice adjustments. Of course, it helped that one of our better players, (freshman) Caroline Anderson, had to leave the game with a gash above her right eye. That definitely shook the team, but we recovered after that."

Hernandez singled out goalie Katie-Ross Skelly for her contributions.

"She was definitely a key today," Hernandez said. "She had, without question, her best game of the year, and perhaps her career. Palo Alto shoots the ball very well, and she made a number of excellent saves."

Cross country

The Menlo-Atherton boys remained in first place in the Peninsula Athletic League, despite finishing second to Carlmont in Tuesday's second Peninsula Athletic League meet, this one held at Crystal Springs on Tuesday.

The Bears have a one-point advantage heading into the PAL championships on Thursday, Nov. 4, to be held at Crystal Springs.

M-A scored 77 points to Carlmont's 37; Woodside was third with 84.

Bears' junior Mike Hester was the team leader, finishing the 2.95-mile course in 16:03.9, with his fourth-place finish. Junior Jack Beckwith was seventh in 16:19 and sophomore George Baier was 13th in 16:45.6.

The Menlo-Atherton girls finished sixth overall with 183 points. Carlmont won the meet with 48 points.

Senior Julia Vitale was the Bears' top finisher, racing 20:42.7 to complete the course in 12th place.

Girls' tennis

Menlo School kept its remarkable league winning streak alive with a 7-0 triumph over visiting Notre Dame-San Jose in a WBAL (Foothill Division) match on Tuesday.

The Knights (3-0, 8-2) are 171-0 in league play since the beginning of the 1994 season and have won 16 straight league titles since then.

Menlo had an easy time against NDSJ, losing only five games in singles and five in doubles.

At Los Altos Hills, Sacred Heart Prep (2-1, 9-4) tuned up for Thursday's WBAL (Foothill Division) match at Menlo with a 5-2 division win at Pinewood.

In Burlingame, Menlo-Atherton's hopes of winning the PAL Bay Division title took a big hit in a 5-2 loss to the host Panthers (6-0). The Bears fell to 4-2 in league with one match against Burlingame remaining on Oct. 20.

In Portola Valley, host Priory dropped a WBAL (Skyline Division) match to Crystal Springs, 6-1.

In Palo Alto, host Gunn was shocked by Palo Alto, 6-1, as both teams fell to 2-4 in the SCVAL De Anza Division.

Boys' water polo

In the first meeting between Palo Alto and Gunn, the visiting Vikings pulled off a wild 15-14 victory in the SCVAL De Anza Division shootout.

Aaron Zelinger led the Vikings (4-2, 5-5) with five goals and four steals. He converted five of six shot attempts. Bret Pinsker added three goals while Ken Wattana, Jack Smale and Marcos Motta all tallied twice. Goalie Daniel Armitano had nine saves for Paly.

Palo Alto scored on four of eight power-play situations while Gunn converted three of six.

In PAL Ocean Division action, host Priory registered a 15-9 victory with a six-goal outburst in the fourth period, four of them coming from Eric Turnquist. Michael Wan led the Panthers (3-3) with six goals while Kyle Walden matched Turnquist's tally of four scores.

Priory was missing a few players, out with illness, while San Mateo had no subs available.

"I was expecting our guys to play better than they did," said Priory coach Rob Reinhardt. "Offensively, we were much too sloppy with bad passes, kids not being aware of where they were in the pool and not being aware of where the ball was."

Priory trailed by 4-2 after one period and 6-5 at the half before holding the Bearcats scoreless in a crucial third-period turnaround.

-- Palo Alto Online Sports

— Palo Alto Online Sports

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