Despite bringing in some of the top teams from Northern and Southern California, the championship match of the 14th annual Scott Roche Invitational turned into an all-PAL Bay Division affair on Saturday at Menlo School.
Following a huge comeback in its semifinal game, Menlo School came out strong against league rival Menlo-Atherton to win the tourney title with a 9-4 decision. The Knights (5-0) captured their own event for the first time in five years and their fifth overall, most of any team in the tourney's history.
The team was anchored by goalie Connor Dillon, who came up with a career-high 13 saves behind Menlo's movement-style defense. Dillon finished with 28 saves in the four wins.
The Menlo defense also was led by Jack Lucas with six steals while Nick Hale led the offense with five goals. Hale also had five steals. Brad Haaland earned four ejections and added three assists. Hale finished the tourney with 14 goals.
Menlo reached the finals after overcoming a 6-2 deficit going into the third quarter with a 7-0 run to beat De La Salle, 9-6. The Knights held the Spartans scoreless in the second half. Hale led the scoring with three goals.
Menlo-Atherton (5-3) edged Rio Americano, 10-9, in the other semifinal while finishing 3-1 for first-year coach Dante Dettamanti, the former veteran Stanford men's coach. The Bears previously finished fourth in the Schmitt Tournament last week.
Palo Alto (5-1) finished ninth after upending La Jolla, 13-12, on Saturday. The Vikings earlier had beaten Serra, 11-5, after beating Valley Christian in the second round. Paly's only loss came in the opening round to M-A, 7-5.
The Menlo-Atherton boys finished second and the Paly girls third in their respective races to highlight local efforts at the annual Lowell Invitational over a 2.93-mile layout in Golden Gate Park on Saturday.
Michael Hester finished third (14:54) and Jack Beckwith took 11th (15:23) to help M-A boys scored 72 points and take second to Bellarmine (43) in the varsity race No. 1. In the second race, Paly's Nikolai Solgaard was third overall (15:35) while helping the Vikings to a seventh-place finish.
In the top girls' varsity race, junior Chika Kasahara was 12th (19:24) and freshman Katie Foug was 15th (19:34) to help Palo Alto take third with 114 points. Alameda won with 90.
In the girls' varsity No. 2 race, M-A sophomore Taylor Fortnam finished 10th in 19:28 to pace the Bears. Julia Wood led Castilleja with a 15th-place finish of 19:30.
At the Chieftan Invitational in Salinas, Priory senior Kat Gregory finished third in the girls' race over the 3.0-mile course at Toro Park with a 18:24 time.
At the RLS Relays in Pebble Beach, Gunn finished second in the boys' varsity race with a five-man relay time of 42:46. The Gunn varsity girls were fifth overall. In sub-varsity races, the Gunn boys finished first in two races and fifth in another.
Defending CIF Division I state champion Palo Alto finished up arguably its toughest tournament in school history, going 2-2 while taking sixth at the prestigious Mitty Invitational that wrapped up Saturday in San Jose. The Vikings (13-2) came in seeded No. 1 but fell to No. 9 Santa Barbara on Friday and No. 3 Dos Pueblos on Saturday.
"It was definitely the toughest tourney we've played in, in terms of endurance and top-notch competition," said Paly coach Dave Winn. "We definitely got what we wanted out of the experience."
After suffering its first loss of the season to Santa Barbara on Friday night, Paly bounced back to beat No. 5 Santa Margarita on Saturday morning, 23-25, 23-25, 25-15 27-25, 15-9. It was the Vikings second-straight five-set match in less than 15 hours.
That victory put the Vikings into the fifth-place match, where Dos Pueblos (Goleta) pulled out a 27-25, 21-15, 25-17, 25-21 victory. It was only the Vikings' third loss in their past 57 matches.
"We learned a lot about our weaknesses and what we need to work on in practice to get ready for our league season," said Winn, whose team opens defense of it SCVAL De Anza Division title on Tuesday against visiting Gunn. "We learned that we can hang with any team in the country as long as we win the serve and serve- receive battle, and that our defensive consistency needs work. All in all, we got exactly what we needed."