Palo Alto, Gunn keep their win streaks intact


Two division leaders kept their winning streaks alive while the topsy-turvey West Bay Athletic League showed that it will be an interesting showcase day in and out to highlight Tuesday night's girls' volleyball action.

Palo Alto and Gunn continued to streak through their respective SCVAL divisions with quick victories. The Vikings (6-0, 24-0) held on to their one-game lead in the De Anza Division with a 25-19, 25-13, 25-20 triumph over visiting Saratoga while the Titans (6-0, 20-4) extended their lead in the El Camino Division with a 25-19, 25-12, 25-12 win over visiting Lynbrook.

Junior Melanie Wade led Palo Alto with 10 kills on a hot night in a hot gym. Paly coach Dave Winn said his team came out flat and played uninspired against the 1-5 Falcons as the Vikings closed the first half of league play.

Palo Alto will open the second half of division action on Thursday at Monta Vista as a tuneup for next week when the Vikings host Mountain View (Tuesday) and second-place Los Gatos (Thursday) in matches that should decide the division championship.

At Gunn, the Titans (6-0, 20-4) also wrapped up first-half play as sophomore Lisa Yan provided seven kills for the host team. Gunn won its sixth straight and has captured 12 of its past 13 matches, the only loss during that time coming to Palo Alto.

In the WBAL Foothill Division, the first of numerous showdowns took place as defending Central Coast Section Division IV champion Sacred Heart Prep overhauled 2009 CCS Division V runnerup Castilleja, 23-25, 26-28, 29-27, 25-18, 15-13 in a battle of the Gators.

Castilleja (1-1, 22-3) appeared as if it was going to improve upon its 11-match winning streak after taking a 2-0 lead. In Game 3, however, SHP (3-0, 13-7) battled back after Castilleja had match points at 26-25 and 27-26. Sacred Heart scored the final three points (Jesse Ebner's kill made it 29-27) to stay alive -- riding that momentum to wins in Games 4 and 5. Castilleja did rally in the final game from a 12-8 deficit to tie at 13, before SHP closed out the match.

Sonia Abuel-Saud and Sarah Daschbach each had 23 kills for SHP with Abuel-Saud adding 24 digs and Dashbach 16. Amelia Alvarez (25 assists) and Hanna Elmore (23 assists) set up the kills while Olivia Bertolacci contributed 22 digs.

Castilleja also put up some big stats in the marathon match as junior Hannah Boland had 20 kills and 10 blocks while sophomore Lucy Tashman added 17 kills, five blocks, three aces and 20 digs. Senior Laura Rose added 13 kills and six blocks while libero Lindsey Wang had 38 digs and setter Hannah Hsieh contributed 58 assists and 16 digs.

Castilleja will travel to face Notre Dame-San Jose on Thursday and then visits defending league champ Mercy-Burlingame on Friday in a rescheduled match. Sacred Heart Prep next hosts rival Menlo on Thursday at 6:15 p.m.

Menlo (2-0, 15-6) remained in a tie for the division lead with an 18-25, 25-21, 24-26, 25-15, 15-9 marathon win over visiting Harker. It was the Knights' seventh straight victory.

"After a slow start, and losing a tough third set, our girls showed a lot of character to come back and win the match," said Menlo coach Chris Crader. "Harker will never give you anything because they always play really hard, so it was a great effort by us to overcome that."

Menlo freshman Maddie Huber tied the career high she set in her last match, recording 17 kills, and added 21 digs, three aces and two blocks to lead the Knights. Senior Jazmin Moledina added 13 kills, seven blocks, four digs and two aces. Junior Natalie Roy also had 13 kills, adding 10 digs and three aces.

Sophomore Drew Edelman hit .500 with five kills, four blocks and three digs. Freshman Melissa Cairo chipped in with 11 digs. Sophomore Alexandra Ko had 43 assists, 12 digs and four aces. And sophomore Emma Thygesen made her first appearance of the fall after suffering a major ankle injury during the preseason. Thygesen had two blocks and four digs, and added two kills in the fifth set, including the match-ender. Senior Emily Ryles and sophomore Kendyl Denenberg combined for nine more digs to bolster the back row.

In the PAL Bay Division, Menlo-Atherton remained within reach of the division leaders with a 25-15, 25-11, 25-16 win over host Woodside. Regina Mullen had 10 kills, three aces and five digs for the Bears (6-1, 13-6) while Diane Seely added seven kills and five blocks. Hannah Branning served five aces while Sofi King provided 20 assists as M-A remained alone in second place, trailing only Burlingame.

Menlo-Atherton will have an opportunity to avenge a previous loss to the Panthers when the Bears visit Burlingame on Oct. 21.

-- Palo Alto Online Sports

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