Five local water polo teams advance to playoff finales

The Gunn girls will play in their fifth straight SCVAL De Anza Division water polo playoff title game and will be seeking their third straight title following a 13-3 win over Los Altos on Friday in the Titans' pool.

Caroline Anderson poured in six goals and Bianca Batista added five as the Titans improved to 18-7 heading into Saturday's title contest in their pool at 6:20 p.m.

Gunn will face Los Gatos in the finals. The Wildcats defeated Saratoga in sudden-victory overtime to advance. Gunn beat Los Gatos in the finals last year.

In the consolation bracket, Emma Wolfe scored five goals as Palo Alto (10-15) handed Lynbrook a 13-4 loss. Tess van Hulsen added three goals and Katie Francis two for the Vikings, who play Homestead for fifth place.

In the boys' league playoffs at Palo Alto High, Gunn advanced to the championship match with a 13-11 win over Los Altos on Friday. The top-seeded Titans (19-6) got four goals each from brothers Ari and Coby Wayne while Christian Znidarsic added three. Goalie Anthony Zunino came up with 11 saves for the Titans.

Gunn will play rival Palo Alto for the title on Saturday at Paly at 6:20 p.m. The Vikings (22-4) advanced with a 7-5 win over Mountain View.

Winston Rosati and Lucas Novak each tallied a pair of goals to lead Palo Alto. In the finals, rival coaches (and brothers) Matt of Gunn and Brandon of Paly will face off for a third time this season. Matt holds a 2-0 edge.

In the West Catholic Athletic League playoff finals at Sacred Heart Prep today, the No. 2-seeded SHP girls will take on No. 1 St. Francis at 6 p.m., followed by the No. 1 SHP boys against No. 2 Bellarmine at 7:30 p.m.

Cross country

The Menlo School girls captured their first league title since 1984, with three top-10 finishes, and the Sacred Heart Prep won the boys' division at the West Bay Athletic League Championships on Friday at Crystal Springs in Belmont.

Menlo's Lizzie Lacy clearly beat her personal record, finishing the 2.95-mile course in 18 minutes, 39.7 seconds for second place overall. Niki Iyer of Harker was the winner of the 89-runner field in 18:07.1. Menlo's Zoe Enright was fourth in 19:01.8, the fastest time by a sophomore. Menlo's Eliza Crowder placed eighth in 19:43.3.

"Nearly all seven runners PR'ed on the varsity girls' team . . . and our plan to peak in CCS seems to be right on schedule," Menlo coach Jorge Chen said.

The Knights won with 56 points, handily beating its closest competitors -- King's Academy (88) and Mercy-Burlingame (103).

Menlo's Simran Arora took 19th in 20:50.8; Brooke Hammarskjold was 23rd in 21:02.7; Grace Hammarskjold was 43rd in 22:33.0 and Lexi Van Ligten placed 45th in 22:36.2.

Pinewood junior Nicole Colonna was an individual qualifier for CCS after taking third in 19:00.7. Hana Marsheck of Priory was seventh in 19:31 and Alina Brown of Castilleja was 13th in 20:24 to pace other local runners.

In the boys' race, Daniel Hill of SHP finished second in 16:17.4 to pace the Gators to the team title. SHP scored 52 points to hold off Priory (55). Both teams qualified for CCS. Menlo was fifth with 137. Corey Gonzales of Harker won the individual title in 15:54.4.

Sacred Heart Prep won despite Priory placing 3-4-6 with Ross Corey (16:38.6), Chris Gregory (16:46.8) and Johnny Trudelle (16:58.8) putting the Panthers in an early position to win.

SHP's Sasha Novitzky (17:05.3) then finished eighth, teammate Carter Kremer came home 10th in 17:15, August Howell finished 15th (17:23.6) and Brett Anstrom was 17th in 17:29.2 before Priory could get its fourth runner across the finish line.

While SHP and Priory will send their teams to CCS on Nov. 16, also at Crystal Springs, Menlo will send Dennis Mandudzo (16th in 17:24) and Peter Rosston (25th place in 18:05.2).

Gunn water polo team photo on front page by Carolina Albers

— Palo Alto Online Sports/Menlo School Athletics


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