Palo Alto volleyball goes for outright division title on Thursday


The Palo Alto girls' volleyball team can wrap up phase 1 of its season when it plays host to Los Altos on Thursday night to close the SCVAL De Anza Division regular season at 6:45 p.m. The match not only marks Senior Night for the Vikings' two seniors -- Trina Ohms and Megan Coleman -- but Paly also can clinch its fifth straight division crown with a triumph.

The Vikings take a 10-1 division record (33-1 overall) into the match and a one-game lead over Los Gatos. Paly clinched no worse than a tie for the championship by defeating host Homestead on Tuesday, 25-20, 29-27, 25-17.

The Mustangs put up a furious battle in the first two games, with Paly needing 18 kills in each of them to secure the wins. Paly trailed in Game 2 by 26-25, before coming back with clutch kills from junior Melanie Wade and senior Trina Ohms. Homestead's serve and receive forced the Vikings to earn nearly every point.

Wade led the way against the Mustangs with 23 kills (.425 hitting) while Ohms added 11 kills and 12 digs. Coleman provided 20 digs while junior setter Kim Whitson contributed 38 assists, six digs and five kills on five swings.

The match against Los Altos will be a fundraiser, with Paly players getting sponsors to pledge money for each ace, kill and dig the team gets in the final regular-season home match. Proceeds will be used to purchase activity supplies for teens at Ronald McDonald House at Stanford.

Phase 2 of Palo Alto's season begins next week with Central Coast Section playoff action.

In the SCVAL El Camino Division, champion Gunn (11-0, 26-6) will host its Senior Night on Thursday when Fremont visits at 6:45 p.m. The Titans will honor seniors Michelle Williams, Nicole Grimwood, Kiana Choroski and Audrey Waschura before taking on the Firebirds. Gunn took a step closer to a perfect division season with a 25-17, 25-23, 23-25, 25-22 win over Wilcox on Tuesday night.

In the West Bay Athletic League (Foothill Division), Sacred Heart Prep set up a showdown for first place with Mercy-Burlingame following a 25-15, 26-28, 25-20, 25-17 victory over host Menlo School. The Gators (8-1, 18-9) will host co-division leader Mercy on Thursday (6:30 p.m.) with the winner claiming the Foothill Division title on the final day of the regular season.

Junior Sarah Daschbach led SHP with 19 kills and 21 digs while sophomore Sonia Abuel-Saud added 13 kills and 13 digs. Freshman Maddie Huber led Menlo (4-5, 19-14) with eight kills, 14 digs and three blocks while junior Natalie Roy added six kills and 18 digs. Freshman Melissa Cairo had 16 digs while freshman Maddy Frappier provided 23 assists, three kills and three aces.

Menlo recognized its four seniors before the Senior Night match -- Molly Crowe, Anelise Hohl, Jazmin Moledina and Emily Ryles. For Crowe, it was her first competitive action in exactly 52 weeks, as she suffered an injury on Menlo's Senior Night a year ago and then was injured during preseason practice this year.

In other WBAL Foothill Division action, Castilleja (4-5, 25-7) suffered an upset loss to visiting Notre Dame-San Jose, 25-22, 18-25, 25-17, 25-22. Junior Hannah Boland led the Gators with 20 kills. Castilleja closes its regular season on Thursday (6:15 p.m.) by hosting Menlo.

In the WBAL Skyline Division, host Pinewood dropped a 25-11, 25-19, 25-19 decision to visiting Mercy-San Francisco as the Panthers' closed their home season. Lizzy Fields, the team's only senior, was recognized prior to the match on Senior Night. She finished the evening with five blocks, five kills and three digs. Setter Adrienne Whitlock added 10 assists and two blocks while libero Kandace Korver had 14 digs, two kills and three aces.

Pinewood travels to Priory on Friday night (5:45 p.m.) for the teams' final regular-season match.

In the PAL Bay Division, Menlo-Atherton (11-2, 18-7) continued its preparation for the postseason with a solid 25-21, 25-16, 25-18 victory over host Carlmont. Ali Spindt had 14 digs, eight assists and four kills while M-A teammate Regina Mullen finished with five kills, seven digs and two aces. Seini Moimoi contributed six kills and three blocks while Pauli King added seven kills and eight digs.

Girls' tennis

Menlo School swept the singles and doubles titles at the WBAL Individual Champiolnships that concluded Tuesday on the Knights' courts.

Sophomore Giannina Ong won the singles crown with a 6-4, 7-6 (7-2) win over Sacred Heart Prep junior Alyssa Kohrs, while Menlo senior Eliza Adams teamed with sophomore Saga Shermis to win the doubles crown over a Harker tandem, 6-0, 5-7, 6-3.

Ong defeated freshman teammate Kristy Jorgensen in the semifinals, 6-4, 6-3, with Jorgensen earning third place after her Harker opponent defaulted. Adams and Shermis eliminated teammates Jackie Fancher and Paulina Golikova in the semifinals, 6-2, 6-1.

Menlo will receive its CCS seeding on Saturday and begin play with a home match next Wednesday.

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