Bill Shine and his Menlo School boys' tennis team are hoping to take a step closer to making history in the Central Coast Section Team Tournament when the top-seeded Knights play host to No. 8 Los Altos in a quarterfinal match on Monday at 3 p.m.
The Knights (22-1) have won nine CCS titles and are tied with Gunn for the most-ever won. Should Menlo advance to Friday's title match and win, the Knights' 10th crown will set the standard.
The Menlo-Los Altos winner will face the winner between No. 5 Monta Vista (15-4) and No. 5 Leland (17-5) in Wednesday's semifinals at the Courtside Club in Los Gatos at 2 p.m.
In the other side of the bracket, No. 2 Saratoga (17-5) will host No. 7 R.L. Stevenson (14-1) on Monday while No. 3 Bellarmine (18-3) hosts No. 6 Harker (14-4) at the Decathlon Club in Santa Clara. Both matches are at 3 p.m. Those winners will meet Wednesday at noon, also at Courtside.
Friday's finale will be at 2 p.m., with the finalists advancing to the CIF Northern Califonia playoffs.
Menlo cruised in its first postseason task, defeating visiting Monterey by 7-0 on Friday. Los Altos (16-2) eliminated St. Ignatius, 4-3.
Sophomore Andrew Ball appropriately got the ball rolling with a 6-0, 6-1 win over Daryn Arakawa at No.1 singles. The Knights swept the rest of the singles 6-0, 6-0 -- junior Justin Chan defeated Collin Vierra at the No.2 spot, sophomore Richard Pham beat Joseph Quario and senior Andrew Carlisle defeated Robert Hernandez at Nos. 3 and 4, respectively.
In doubles, freshman David Ball and sophomore Daniel Morkovine took a 7-5, 6-3 win over Jacob Paoletti and Javier Vargas at No.1. Seniors Kyle Sum and Mac Osborne beat YingYan Wang and Ali Aamir 6-0, 6-2 at second doubles. Sophomore Michael Hoffman and junior Zach Chase won 6-1, 6-0, beating Erik Ruediger and Harvey Lao at third doubles.
Gunn finished off an excellent 4-0 week with an 11-6 nonleague win over visiting King's Academy on Saturday. Joe Snyder pitched two innings of relief to get the win in addition to getting two hits and two RBI. Josh Butler slammed a homer among his two hits while also driving in a pair for the Titans (12-10-1).
Palo Alto advanced to the next round of the SCVAL playoffs following a 12-3 victory over visiting Sacred Heart Prep on Saturday. The Vikings improved to 13-6 while the Gators finished their inaugural varsity season with a fine 17-4 mark after going 12-0 and winning the El Camino Division title.
Despite a 10-match winning streak, however, the Gators proved to be no match for a more seasoned Palo Alto squad that featured 14 seniors. After an early 2-1 lead, Sacred Heart fell behind, 4-2, at the end of the 1st period, 9-3 at the end of the half, and 10-3 at the end of the third period.
Palo Alto's offense, which has been inconsistent this season, appeared unusually motivated and sharp. John Brunett again gave the Vikings possession opportunities by dominating face-offs: he was a perfect 11-for-11 on the day while garnering 10 ground balls and three assists. Attack Cory Valenti recorded his second straight hat trick with a three-goal, one-assist performance. Senior middies Kevin Proceviat and Zach Spain each tallied two goals and two assists, while sophomores Walker Mees and Jonny Glazier scored two goals apiece.Middie Skyler Anderson rounded out the scoring for the Vikings.
Frankie Hattler, Bill White, and Duncan Hoskinson accounted for the Gators three goals. Mark Oppenheimer had 16 saves in goals for the Gators. Hattler, a freshman, finished the season with 102 points (42 goals, 60 assists). That ranks him No. 6 in the nation. The next freshman on the national list compiled by MaxPreps is 112th.
Sacred Heart Prep will play in the upper De Anza Division of the SCVAL next season. Palo Alto will visit regular-season champion Mountain View on Wednesday in the semifinals at 4 p.m. That winner will face the winner between Menlo School and Menlo-Atherton on Saturday at Woodside High at 1 p.m.
Seniors Anna Gale, Grace Stafford and Gracie Marshall all had three hits and three RBI to pace Palo Alto to a 16-8 romp over visiting Santa Clara in a SCVAL El Camino Division game Saturday. Marshall slammed a homer and Stafford a double as the Vikings (6-5, 10-15) pounded out 17 hits and made freshman pitcher Julia Saul (8-4) the winner.