The Menlo School girls' lacrosse team put the West Bay Athletic League season into perspective with a 23-9 victory over visiting Sacred Heart Prep on Friday in a showdown between the top two teams in the Foothill Division this season. The Knights (1-0, 3-3) took over sole possession of first from the Gators (2-1, 7-3).
Menlo grabbed a 6-0 lead in the first 13 minutes as Elyse Adler scored four times while Sophie Sheeline and Michaela Michaela added one each. Michaela finished with seven goals and Sheeline had five in a dominating performance by the Knights. Freshman Caroline Cummings led SHP with four goals, three in the first half, while Julia Keller added three.
Cummings and Keller combined for three consecutive goals that had SHP trailing only by three with 14:08 to play in the half. However, with two more from Sheeline and Michael respectively, Menlo was back up by five with just over 10 minutes left before halftime as the Knights pulled away for a 13-4 lead.
Following the halftime break, SHP scored three unanswered goals (from Keller, senior middie Kendall Cody, and Cummings). Menlo attempted some adjustments, and essentially held SHP scoreless for nearly the final 14 minutes of the match.
With Sacred Heart off to such a great start with a 7-2 record coming into the match (including league wins against Menlo-Atherton and Burlingame in the last week), Menlo did its best to prepare for the meeting. The strength of the Knights' nonleague schedule certainly was a factor. Menlo had far fewer turnovers or fouls than in its previous games of the week, and that added up to some successful transitions and ball movement down the field.
Exciting additions to the scoring efforts came from the birthday twins, junior middies Annie and Maddie Taylor, and senior attacker Devin Garnick. Ali Kim dominated on loose ground ball with her solid ball-handling.
Terrific ball handling and control was on exhibit today by the small but mighty sophomore middie Ali Kim, who also dominated on loose ground balls. Cummings, meanwhile, raised her goal total for the season to 39 along with 10 assists. Keller has 24 goals and 20 assists. Menlo's Michael scored 22 goals in the past four matches.
Menlo will host Menlo-Atherton on Tuesday before hosting St. Francis (Sacramento) on Thursday, both at 4 p.m. Those will be tuneups for the annual Western States on April 9 at Treasure Island, where the Knights will defend their 2010 title.
In nonleague action, Cleveland Heights (Ohio) completed its sweep of the top two girls' lacrosse teams in the area by handing host Palo Alto a 19-7 loss on Friday. Two days earlier, Cleveland Heights topped Menlo School, 19-11.
The visitors dominated in the first half with Stanford-bound Meg Lentz scoring six of her team's 10 goals. She finished with 11. Down 10-2 after halftime, Paly looked poised to stage a comeback in the second half with three goals in the first three minutes. Cleveland Heights, however, began pulling away with the first of nine second-half goals. Paly was led by Kimmie Flather's four goals and Nina Kelty's two.
The SCVAL De Anza Division race just got a lot tighter following Palo Alto's 7-5 loss to visiting Los Gatos on Friday. The setback knocked the Vikings (7-1, 10-4) into a first-place tie with Los Altos (6-1, 10-4) and allowed Wilcox to inch closer at 5-2. Palo Alto will face Wilcox twice next week, followed by Los Altos in what should decide the division title.
"Yes, it was a tough loss," said Paly coch Erick Raisch, "but it was our first loss in 25 league games, so I guess it was bound to happen some time.
"To be honest, LG (Los Gatos) played out of their mind and it was the best game I've ever seen them play. They had five extra- base hits in one inning, which I haven't ever seen in my coaching career. I guess sometimes you just get beat."
After beating the Wildcats on Wednesday, the Vikings gave up 10 hits (including five for extra bases), five walks and struck out nine times on Friday. Will Glazier did have three hits for Paly while Christoph Bono had a homer and triple and drove in three runs. Despite that, Paly saw its eight-game win streak come to an end. In the past nine games, the Vikings have outscored the opposition 82-11.
"It's going to be a dogfight for the league title this year," Raich said. "I like the competition and I think it's much more fun when you have 3-4 teams battling it out for a league title."
In other De Anza Division games Friday: Saratoga routed Cupertino, 21-0; Wilcox handed Homestead a 7-1 loss; and Los Altos moved into a tie with Paly for first with a 12-0 romp over Mountain View.
Sacred Heart Prep remained unbeaten in the SCVAL El Camino Division with a 16-2 victory over visiting Carlmont on Friday. The Gators (6-0, 9-3) got three goals from Duncan Hoskinson and two each from Sean Mayle, Trevor Ruegg, Wade Sedgwick and Brian White. Frankie Hattler had five assists as the Gators improved their home record to 8-1. Andrew Eifert, Nic Kawasaki and Luke Twombly also scored for SHP.
The Los Gatos at Menlo School and Saratoga at Menlo-Atherton matches were not reported.
Menlo School made a postseason statement with a 7-0 nonleague victory over visiting Bellarmine on Friday. It was the Knights' second win over the Bells this season. Bellarmine, along with Saratoga, are the only teams considered to challenge Menlo for Central Coast Section honors this season.
Sophomore Andrew Ball led the way with a 6-3, 7-5 win at No. 1 singles while junior Justin Chan won at No. 2, 6-1, 6-2; sophomore Richard Pham took No. 3, 6-2, 6-1, and senior Andrew Carlisle finished off the sweep with a 6-1, 6-0 victory at No. 4 as the Knights improved to 14-1.