Gunn High grad earns water polo honor at UC Irvine


UC Irvine senior goalkeeper Matt Johnson from Gunn High has been named the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Mikasa Player of the Week in men's water polo.

Johnson recorded 17 saves in a 7-6 home win over UC Santa Barbara last Saturday, marking a season-high total for him and second-best in his career. The 17 saves are also the second-highest total in the MPSF this season.

He had six saves in the first quarter when the Gauchos were held scoreless and had two stops in the fourth quarter when UCI rallied from a 5-4 deficit for the victory.

Johnson has 161 saves in 22 starts this season, ranking fourth in the MPSF with an average of 7.32 stops per game.

Fifth-ranked UCI, 16-6 overall and 4-3 in the MPSF, hosts USC Saturday at noon in the regular-season and home finale. Irvine then will compete in the MPSF Tournament set for Nov. 26-28 at Stanford.

Honors also were in the offing for Menlo School grad Mike Merlone, who was named the Collegiate Water Polo Association Defensive Player of the Week last week for three wins the previous weekend at the Southern Championships. This was Merlone's third such award this season.

Merlone played the first half and made four saves in the opening-round win over Gannon. He followed that up with 10 saves against Johns Hopkins in the semifinals and 13 against Bucknell in the title game. Merlone finished the weekend with 13 goals allowed and 30 saves. He also had five assists and four steals.

Cross country

A number of Gunn graduates are keeping busy with their respective teams this season:

Claire O'Connell (2010) was MIT's sixth runner at the New England D-III Regionals, placing 44th in 23:41.7 for 6K, and helping the team qualify for the NCAA finals this weekend. The MIT women are currently ranked No. 13 in the country.

Alex Johann (2010) ran in the West D-III Regionals for Pomona-Pitzer, running 27:51.72 for 8K.

Allegra Mayer (2009) ran in the Midwest D-I Regionals for Northwestern, clocking 22:21.08 for 6K.

Irene Graham (2006) is scheduled to run in the West D-II Regionals for Humboldt State this weekend.

Daniel Damian (2010) is scheduled to run in the California Community College State Championships for De Anza this weekend.

Other former Gunn runners who competed for their collegiate cross country teams this season were Jennifer Yih (Tufts, 2006), Tara Saxena (Occidental, 2009), and Paul Summers (Stanford, 2010).


Palo Alto High grad Trenton Hart caught a 20-yard touchdown pass and former Vikings' standout Mike Scott had an eight-yard TD reception as Foothill College rallied for a 49-45 victory over host Butte College in Oroville on Saturday.

Foothill will play in the Silicon Valley Bowl on Saturday against Sacramento City College.

Women's volleyball

With Castilleja grad Taylor Docter and Gunn grad Teresa Skelly making contributions Harvard pulled out a 3-2 victory over Princeton in an Ivy League match last weekend in Cambridge, Mass.

Princeton rallied from an 0-2 hole and was within three points of a season sweep against Harvard, but the Crimson held off its guests for the victory. Skelly finished with eight kills and six blocks while Docter served five aces.

The Tigers let the opening game slip away, despite holding leads of 21-11, 23-15 and 24-18. Harvard won the final eight points of the set on the serve of Doctor to stun Princeton, 26-24. That momentum carried well into the second game, as Harvard opened with an 11-3 run and ultimately held on for a 25-21 win. Doctor served the Crimson on an early 4-0 run to give Harvard a lead it wouldn't relinquish.

Princeton battled back for 25-14 and 25-21 wins in Games 3 and 4, but Harvard took the fifth, 17-15. After a kill by Gunn grad Michaela Venuti evened the set at 12, Harvard scored the final three to take the match. Venuti had 50 assists while Paly grad Hillary Ford shared 35 digs with teammate CC Lobben.

-- Palo Alto Online Sports

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