Top efforts abound in water polo, volleyball and college soccer


Scott Mielke, a 2008 graduate of Palo Alto High, scored a goal to help his UC Santa Cruz water polo team defeat Monmouth College, 18-2, and capture the 2010 Men's Division III National Collegiate Club Championship last weekend at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn. Miekle played and scored in all three matches during the tournament.

The victory is historical in the sport of water polo as a West Coast program has now won every national collegiate championship in men's water polo (NCAA, National Collegiate Club, Division III National Collegiate Club) as a team from the Pacific Coast Division had never appeared in the event prior to UC-Santa Cruz's acceptance of an at-large bid this year.

The sixth-place team in the Pacific Coast Division during the regular season, the Banana Slugs received scoring from eight different players. Santa Cruz outshot Monmouth, 26-14.

With the help of a handful of local players, the 17th-ranked Princeton men's water polo team captured its sixth overall CWPA Southern Division Championship with an 8-6 win over Bucknell in the title game of the 2010 Southern Championships. The win is Princeton's second tournament title in the last three seasons.

Palo Alto High grad Tim Wenzlau provided a key assist while Menlo School grad Mike Merlone stopped a 5-meter penalty shot with 1:48 left to seal the victory. Menlo grad Matt Hale added a goal for the Tigers while Merlone finished with 13 saves.

In the semifinals, Merlone had 10 saves as Princeton defeated Johns Hopkins, 9-6.

Princeton is now 17-7 overall and will look to defend its Eastern title in two weeks when the 2010 Eastern Championships are held at Bucknell.


Palo Alto High grad Buddy Benaderet came up with two sacks to help the defensive effort as Dartmouth posted a 28-10 Ivy League football victory over Cornell on Saturday. The Big Green defense registered 10 sacks in the game as Dartmouth improved to 2-3 in league (5-3 overall). The win in Ithaca, N.Y., was Dartmouth's first since 1996.

Benaderet and his defensive teammates held Cornell to just 188 total yards for the game, the first time a Big Green opponent had less than 200 since Columbia almost exactly 13 years ago.

Women's soccer

Swarthmore College senior midfielder Hannah Purkey from Palo Alto High received All-Centennial Conference honors this week.

Purkey's Second Team selection is the first All-Centennial honor of her career. This season, she tied her career high with nine points with three assists and three goals. Purkey was the Cal Ripken of the Swarthmore women's soccer team, starting in every game in her four season of play. In her four seasons she has scored eight goals, compiled 12 assists and totaled 28 points.

Elsewhere, Priory grad Leslie Barkman appeared in 16 games with the Cal Poly women's soccer team this season. She took eight shot, including three on goal, but did not score. Palo Alto grad Jess Duller appeared in 15 games. The Mustangs finished 9-9-1, ending the year with a three-game winning streak.

Women's volleyball

Sophomore Allie Coleman of Swarthmore College was named to the Cosida/ESPN Academic All-District volleyball first-team, as announced by the organization last week.

Coleman, a graduate of Palo Alto High, had a stellar sophomore regular season, leading the team with 762 assists (8.19 assists/set) and finishing third on the team in service aces (26). Coleman ranks fourth in the Centennial Conference in assists and assists/set. Currently, she has racked up the sixth-most assists in a season in school history, and has the fifth-highest assists/set ratio for a single season.

Despite 14 digs from Gunn High grad Michaela Venuti, Princeton (8-3, 13-9) dropped its first home Ivy League match of the season Columbia on Saturday, 29-27, 25-21, 20-25, 25-22. Princeton will head north for its final road matches of the season this weekend, beginning Friday night at Dartmouth and concluding Saturday at Harvard.

In Providence, R.I., Castilleja grad Taylor Docter put down a career-high 22 kills, including the final two of the match, as Harvard captured a five-game thriller, 3-2, over Brown last Friday night.

Docter had six kills in Game 1, including the deciding one as Harvard won, 25-20. In Game 2, Docter had three more kills as the Crimson won, 25-16. Brown pushed the match to Game 5 by winning the next two games, 25-19 and 25-21. In Game 5 and with the match tied at 13, Docter came through again with two huge kills to give the Crimson a 15-13 win in the set and a 3-2 match victory. Docter's 22 kills led all hitters, as did her .432 hitting percentage on the evening.

-- Palo Alto Online Sports

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