SHP grad Ebner making debut in NCAA volleyball tourney


Sacred Heart Prep grad Jesse Ebner will help lead the Yale women's volleyball team into the opening round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday when the Bulldogs take on Bowling Green in the West Lafayette Region in University Park, Pa.

The winner most likely will face host and No. 1 seed Penn State on Saturday at the same location.

Yale, which will be making its fourth-ever NCAA appearance, became the second Ivy League team to finish the conference regular season at 14-0. The Bulldogs finished 18-5 overall while Bowling Green was 21-10. Yale and Bowling Green are meeting for the first time. Also on the Yale roster is sophomore Allie Frappier from Menlo School.

Ebner, a 6-foot freshman from Portola Valley, finished second on the team with a .313 hitting percentage this season. She was named to the Yale Invitational All-Tournament Team and earned a spot on the weekly Ivy League Honor Roll three times.

Ebner finished with 146 kills and averaged 2.09 kills per set. She produced 10 or more kills in six matches and had a season-high 15 kills in a win over Villanova. She had season highs in hitting percentage (.667) and total blocks (six) in a win over Cornell.

At Sacred Heart Prep, she helped the Gators win back-to-back Central Coast Section Division IV titles and was named to the Division IV all-tournament team at the 2010 CIF State Championships at San Jose State.

University of Washington freshman Melanie Wade from Palo Alto High also will make her NCAA tournament debut this week when the Huskies host Central Arkansas on Friday in a four-team section in Seattle. The winner advances to face the winner of Hawaii and Santa Clara, on Saturday.

The Huskies are seeded 13th in the 64-team field after finishing the regular season at 23-6 overall and 14-6 in Pac-12 play, tied for fourth. Wade has contributed 52 kills, a .339 hitting percentage, 13 digs and 46 block assists. Her season high of nine kills came in a four-set loss at Stanford on Nov. 8.

In another regional match at USC, St. Mary's (17-10) and San Diego State (23-7) will meet Thursday and bring together former St. Francis teammates Jordan Shaw (Woodside) of St. Mary's and Christie Ring (Portola Valley) of San Diego State.

Last weekend, it wasn't quite sister versus sister when the UC Davis and Pacific women's volleyball teams met Saturday in Stockton. While the Aggies' Allison Whitson and the Tigers' Kimmy Whitson were both in the Alex G. Spanos Center at the same time, only Allison managed to see playing time in the regular-season finale for both teams.

Allison, a senior, provided 12 kills, seven digs and four blocks as UC Davis wrapped up its season with a 25-23, 25-14, 20-25, 25-15 victory. The Aggies finished the year at 17-14 overall and 11-7 in Big West Conference play. The Tigers wrap up at 20-11 and 8-10 in league matches.

Whitson finished her career with 1,620 kills, good for second in program history. Kimmy, a freshman, started earlier in the season after starting setter Hannah Clancy was injured. Allison and Kimmy both are Palo Alto High grads.

On the East Coast, three former local players helped the Princeton women's volleyball team finish 9-5 in the Ivy League and 12-12 overall.

Freshman Sarah Daschbach from Sacred Heart Prep played in 88 sets and finished with 365 digs and 20 assists while averaging 13 points. Her best single effort was 29 digs against Siena. Christine Renschler, a junior from Sacred Heart Prep, wound up with 38 digs on the season while Bagshaw, a senior from Menlo School, capped her career with 18 digs and 59 assists.

Women's basketball

Eastside Prep grad Ahjalee Harvey has helped San Diego State get off to a 3-2 start while playing in all five games. She's averaging 18.4 minutes and 4.0 points a game.

Women's golf

Castilleja grad Benna Nelsen, a sophomore at Harvard, helped the Crimson finish its fall season ranked No. 46 in the nation -- its highest ranking in program history. The fall results included third at Yale, second at Penn State and a tie for 14th at the Stanford Invitational.

Harvard also is ranked No. 12 in the East Region, also its highest ranking ever. Everyone on the team has averaged below 76, and four of the five players (Nelsen included) averaged below 75. The Crimson's average drop score was 78.05 -- 15th lowest in the country.

At Stanford, Harvard tied with No. 40 Oregon, and beat No. 35 Texas and No. 45 Cal in a field that contained five of the top 10-ranked teams and eight of the top 20 teams in the country.

Soccer signups

The Palo Alto Soccer Club is currently holding tryouts that run through Dec. 12. Coming up this week will be Girls 2000, for players born after 7-31-1999. Tryouts will be Thursday from 7-8:30 p.m., at Mayfield SW, and again on Saturday at the Cubberley football field from 3:45-5:15 p.m.

Also on Saturday will be Boys 2004 (born after 7-31-2003) from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Mayfield NW; Boys 2005 (born after 7-31-2004) from 1-3:30 p.m. at Mayfield NW; and Boys 2003 (born after 7:31-2002) from 10-11:30 a.m. at Mayfield NW.

For more tryout schedules, go to

The PASC also will be hosting a new Elite Academy, which is designed for the highest-level players in the club to enhance their skills in a setting that complements their usual team practice. With a player/coach ratio of 5:1 or less, there will be opportunities for personal evaluation and individual coaching, in addition to small group training.

The boys' academy will be directed and coached by a recently retired Brazilian player, Andre Luiz Moreira. He brings 20 years of professional soccer-playing experience with the San Jose Earthquakes, top-level club teams in Brazil, Spain, France and Mexico plus 19 games with the Brazilian National Team.

The girls' academy will be led and coached by Jennifer Ruiz-Williams and Najma Homidi, two top-level professional players, Ruiz-Williams played on the Mexican National Team and the Bay Area Breeze, along with Hoimidi.

More information on the Elite Academy can be found at the PASC web site.

Baseball signups

Los Altos Mountain View PONY Baseball registration has opened for the spring season. The league is for boys and girls ages 5-19 from the local area, which includes Palo Alto. Practice begins in March and the season runs through May or June. To register or for more information, visit

— Palo Alto Online Sports

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