Palo Alto, SHP continue their impressive seasons with wins

The Palo Alto and Sacred Heart Prep girls' volleyball teams continue to perform in tandem after the squads tied for third on Saturday at the annual Harbor Invitational.

On Tuesday, both teams won again in straight sets while continuing their preparations for strong postseason runs.

Palo Alto opened defense of its SCVAL De Anza Division title with a 25-14, 25-16, 25-22 victory over visiting Gunn. The Vikings, who won their 15th straight league match dating to the 2010 season, improved to 12-3 overall.

Senior co-captain Shelby Knowles paced the Vikings with 11 kills with five digs while junior Becca Raffel added seven kills, four in the second set, and five digs. Junior Keri Gee passed well and had 12 digs with senior co-captain Sophia Bono contributing 25 assists. Jade Schoeberger and Lauren Kerr also saw considerable playing time for Paly and performed well.

Gunn (0-1, 7-6) was led by Lena Latour and Erica Johnston with 11 kills each. The Titans hurt themselves with five service errors in the first set and finished the match with an error.

In Atherton, Sacred Heart Prep continued its preparation for next week's West Bay Athletic League opener by downing visiting Milpitas, 25-15, 25-5, 25-16.

The Gators (14-2) were led by sophomore Victoria Garrick (eight kills) while Cammi Merten added 19 assists and six aces in the quick match. Helen Gannon finished with 11 digs while Haley Cropper added six kills. Seniors Sonia Abuel-Saud and Ellie Shannon split 10 kills.

Meanwhile, Menlo-Atherton opened defense of its PAL Bay Division title with a solid 25-17, 25-17, 25-12 victory over host San Mateo. The Bears (1-0, 3-5), who have been battling injuries in the preseason, were led by Katelyn Doherty's 10 kills. Fellow senior Ali Spindt added 12 digs and provided 34 assists while Mele Moimoi served up four aces. Menlo-Atherton now has won 19 straight league matches, dating to the 2010 season.

In Atherton, a hard-hitting attack powered Menlo School to a 3-0 nonleague victory over visiting Mercy-Burlingame, 25-16, 25-16, 25-13. They Knights (6-3) play one more nonleague match, against host Sacred Heart Cathedral on Thursday, before they host the 16-team Chris Chandler Invitational on Saturday.

"I thought our team showed maturity in tonight's match and kept the right amount of focus," Menlo coach Atlee Hubbard said. "It's important for my whole team to be comfortable playing with each other in a match, and tonight was a great example of that. It will be very helpful midseason and postseason when we need that extra support."

Serving was key against Mercy and Menlo finished with 19 aces, led by Maddie Huber with five and Maddy Frappier with four.

The offense dominated with a .325 team hitting percentage. Huber had seven kills on 10 attempts and Charlotte Kohlberg had four kills on nine attempts. Emma Thygesen finished with a match-high eight kills.

In Palo Alto, senior Lucy Tashman continued to put up big numbers, but that still didn't translate into victory as Castilleja dropped a 21-25, 25-20, 25-15, 24-26, 15-9 nonleague decision to visiting Notre Dame-Belmont. Tashman finished with 18 kills and 17 digs and was supported by Hannah Hsieh's 48 assists and Jessica Norum's 29 digs as the Gators fell to 4-6.

— Palo Alto Online Sports/Menlo Athletics


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