Castilleja tightens WBAL race with upset win over Mercy-B


The West Bay Athletic League (Foothill Division) girls' volleyball race is finally taking shape, and it's about time with only three matches remaining in the regular season.

In what has to be somewhat of a surprise, defending champion Mercy-Burlingame is not running away with the division like it did during last season's 10-0 campaign. In fact, Mercy suffered its first league loss since 2008 on Tuesday night and lost its grip on the division lead -- if only temporarily.

Thanks to Castilleja's 25-23, 20-25, 17-25, 25-17, 15-13 come-from-behind upset victory, Sacred Heart Prep (6-1, 16-9) moved percentage points ahead of Mercy (5-1, 18-7) and into first place.

The Gators took care of business with a 25-18, 25-16, 25-18 victory over host Harker on Tuesday night.

With three matches remaining (four for Mercy-Burlingame), Sacred Heart Prep sits atop the division at 6-1 with Mercy next at 5-1. Castilleja is third at 4-3 while Menlo is 3-3, Notre Dame-San Jose 2-5 and Harker 0-7.

Mercy-Burlingame has a rescheduled match at Menlo on Friday night (6:15 p.m.) and will close the regular season (appropriately enough) at Sacred Heart Prep on Nov. 4.

Castilleja (25-5 overall) still could have a say in the division outcome because it visits Sacred Heart Prep on Thursday at 6:30 p.m.

The Gators were at their best against visiting Mercy as senior Laura Rose had 20 kills, 10 digs and three blocks with junior Hannah Boland adding 14 kills and six blocks. Junior libero Lindsey Wang contributed 33 digs and four aces while sophomore setter Hannah Hsieh added 46 assists.

Sacred Heart Prep had a much-easier time against winless Harker as junior Sarah Daschbach had 11 kills, 17 digs and four aces while junior Jesse Ebner added 11 kills with four blocks and senior Hanna Elmore produced 19 assists.

Menlo lost a chance to move back into contention with a flat performance against Notre Dame-San Jose. Senior Jazmin Moledina was limited to eight kills and .263 hitting while standout freshman Maddie Huber had six kills, nine digs and three aces. None of the Knights reached double figures in any category.

In the PAL Bay Division, host Menlo-Atherton (9-2, 16-7) took care of visiting Aragon, 25-21, 28-26, 25-19 to all but lock up second place behind frontrunner Burlingame (11-0). The Bears are still mathematically alive for a possible co-title with three matches remaining. The Panthers, however, can clinch no worse than a co-title with their next win.

Freshman Pauli King led the Bears with 12 kills and 13 digs while sophomore Ali Spindt added 11 digs, 17 assists, four kills and three blocks. Senior Diane Seely had nine kills and three blocks. Senior Regina Mullen and sophomore Katelyn Doherty had the final two points in the 28-26 win in Game 2.

In the WBAL Skyline Division, Pinewood dropped a 25-23, 25-14, 27-25 decision to host Crystal Springs. The Panthers, who scored only 43 points in their first loss to Crystal, tallied 62 this time with a strong improvement. Lizzy Fields had seven kills and three blocks for Pinewood while libero Kandace Korver had 15 digs and setter Adrienne Whitlock produced 17 assists and nine digs. Jenn Bodine finished with nine digs, six kills and three blocks for Pinewood.

-- Palo Alto Online Sports

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