Palo Alto takes a break while four local teams battle in first-round matches


Five local girls' volleyball teams all have something to shoot for as the 2011 Northern California bracket of the CIF State Championships gets under way this week. Palo Alto, for one, has a state championship to defend.

The Vikings will be the only local team to have a first-round by while four other squads take the floor Tuesday night in opening-round action.

Despite losing the Central Coast Section Division I finale to Paly, Menlo-Atherton (29-6) received a No. 3 seed and earned a home match. The Bears will take on No. 6 St. Mary's of Stockton (27-9), the Sac-Joaquin Section runner-up. St. Mary's reached the NorCal finals last season before losing to Palo Alto.

M-A was eliminated in last year's opening round of NorCals, so the immediate goal for the Bears is to advance to Saturday's semifinals. Should that happen, M-A likely would have to travel to face No. 2 seed St. Francis-Sacramento (37-5).

Sacred Heart Prep (23-7), which advanced all the way to the CIF Division IV state championship match last year after hosting three NorCal matches, won't have that luxury this season.

The top-seeded Gators lost their CCS title match to No. 2 Soquel and will have to travel to Northern California to face No. 4 Willows (33-7), the North Section champ. Should the Gators advance to Saturday's semifinals, they'll likely be traveling to El Dorado County to face No. 1 seed Union Mine (29-5).

Castilleja, which did not reach NorCals last season after losing in the CCS semifinals, already has taken that big step forward. The Gators (20-14) won the Division V section title over top-seeded Priory on Saturday and will host No. 6 SF University (26-10) on Tuesday at 7 p.m. Castilleja is the No. 3 seed, but could travel for a semifinal match if No. 2 Hamilton (40-4) wins its opener.

Priory (25-5), meanwhile, likely will be on the road throughout NorCals as the No. 5 seed. The Panthers will open Tuesday at No. 4 Ripon Christian (27-10), with a victory most likely setting up a semifinal date with No. 1 Branson (36-1) on Saturday. Priory, like Castilleja, did not reach NorCals last season.

While the four local squads battle it out Tuesday, top-seeded Palo Alto (33-3) can enjoy its Thanksgiving holiday before hosting the winner between No. 4 San Ramon Valley (34-8) and No. 7 Skyline of Oakland (13-8) on Saturday at 7 p.m.

A Paly victory will earn the Vikings a home match for the NorCal title, likely against No. 2 St. Francis-Sacramento, a team the Vikings already have beaten this season -- in two sets to win the High Sierra Classic in Reno in September.

Palo Alto, which only last year was looking for its first-ever CCS title, now has back-to-back crowns to show off in addition to last season's NorCal and state titles.

Paly coach Dave Winn, who got his 301st career victory in the Vikings CCS title-match victory, is now 197-36 in his sixth season at Paly. He is blessed with a veteran lineup that includes seniors Melanie Wade, Kimmy Whitson, Maddie Kuppe, Caroline Martin, Ashley Shin and Jackie Koenig plus junior Shelby Knowles.

This is the most successful group of players in school history, one that is just three victories away from adding another page to the school record book.



First round

Tuesday, 7 p.m.

No. 6 St. Mary's-Stockton (27-9) at No. 3 Menlo-Atherton (29-6)

No. 5 Skyline-Oakland (13-8) at No. 4 San Ramon Valley (34-8)

No. 7 Foothill-Pleasanton (29-9) at No. 2 St. Francis-Sacramento (37-5)

Palo Alto has first-round bye


Saturday, 7 p.m.

Skyline-San Ramon Valley winner at No. 1 Palo Alto (33-3)

St. Mary's/Menlo-Atherton winner vs. Foothill-St. Francis (Sac.) winner

Championship on Nov. 29


First round (Tuesday, 7 p.m.)

No. 8 Chico (25-9) at No. 1 St. Francis-Mt. View (30-7)

No. 5 Maria Carrillo (33-3) at No. 4 El Camino-Sacramento (36-3)

No. 6 Rocklin (33-7) at No. 3 Redwood-Larkspur (32-8)

No. 2 Presentation (35-2) at No. 7 Shasta (33-10)


Saturday, 7 p.m.

St. Francis-Chico winner vs. Maria Carrillo-El Camino winner

Redwood-Rocklin winner vs. Shasta-Presentation winner

Championship on Nov. 29


First round

Tuesday, 7 p.m.

Balboa-Enterprise winner at No. 1 Sacred Heart Cathedral (30-7)

No. 5 Sir Francis Drake (19-9) at No. 4 Foothill-Palo Cedro (27-16)

No. 6 Christian Brothers (27-12) at No. 3 Albany (33-6)

No. 7 St. Ignatius (26-12) at No. 2 Vista del Lago-Folsom (35-9)


Saturday, 7 p.m.

Sacred Heart Cathedral vs. winner of Drake-Foothill

Christian Brothers-Albany winner vs. St. Ignatius-Vista del Lago winner

Championship on Nov. 29


First round

Tuesday, 7 p.m.

No. 8 Yreka (25-11) at No. 1 Union Mine-El Dorado (29-5)

No. 5 Sacred Heart Prep (23-7) at No. 4 Willows (33-7)

No. 6 Bear River-Grass Valley (27-10) at No. 3 Marin Catholic (29-12)

No. 7 Salesian-Richmond (28-10) at No. 2 Soquel (31-4)


Saturday, 7 p.m.

Yreka-Union Mine winner vs. Sacred Heart Prep-Willows winner

Marin Catholic-Bear River winner vs. Salesian-Soquel winner

Championship on Nov. 29


First round

Tuesday, 7 p.m.

No. 7 SF University (26-10) at No. 3 Castilleja (20-14)

No. 5 Priory (25-5) at No. 4 Ripon Christian (27-10)

No. 8 University Prep-Redding (27-5) at No. 1 Branson (36-1)

No. 7 Bradshaw Christian (12-19) at No. 2 Hamilton (40-4)


Saturday, 7 p.m.

Branson-University Prep winner vs. Priory-Ripon Christian winner

Castilleja-SF University winner vs. Bradshaw Christian-Hamilton winner

Championship on Nov. 29

— Keith Peters/Palo Alto Online

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Like this comment
Posted by moresports
a resident of Community Center
on Nov 22, 2011 at 9:49 am

The entire boys water polo coaching staff just got fired at Paly.
Where's your story?
What the heck is going on at that school?

Like this comment
Posted by heard
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 22, 2011 at 10:01 am

I have heard last year,a lot of students who enrolled in this water-polo got great chances to get into ivies. It seemed like the ivies want to have this particular sports form,if I am not mistaken.

Like this comment
Posted by wp fan
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Nov 27, 2011 at 6:02 pm

Technically only the boys head coach was fired. But none of the other coaches have been told that they can come back. So the assumption is that they are all out.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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