Gunn, Palo Alto golfers headed for showdown in SCVAL race


The Gunn girls remained atop the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League golf race with a 191-215 dual-match victory over Lynbrook on Thursday at Santa Teresa Golf Course in San Jose.

The Titans (10-0, 11-1) were led by senior Anna Zhou, who shot a 2-under 34. Freshman Lydia Tsai was a stroke back with a 1-under 35 while Lianna McFarlane-Connelly fired a solid 2-over 38. Sabrina Chen added a 41 with Tiffany Yang and Margaret Redfield each shooting a 43.

In Cupertino, Palo Alto took a pair of golf matches in SCVAL action at the par-30 Deep Cliff Golf Course. The Vikings compiled a 189 score to down Monta (189) and Homestead (215). The Vikings improved to 8-1 in league (9-1 overall).

Celia Willner earned medalist honors with a 3-over 33 while teammate Candace Wang shot a personal-best 34. She drove the green on the 224-yard, par-4 sixth hole, missing an eagle putt by inches. Joyce Choi added a personal-best 39, Elise Kiya a 41 and Emily Hwang contributed a 42.

"The girls played great," said Paly coach Doyle Knights. "Candace and Joyce shot personal-best scores. Celia was solid the whole round. On hole 4 she had trouble with a bunker and scraped out a double bogey on a par 3. Joyce chipped in on hole 6 to save par.

"Emily, one of our team captains, had two bad holes all good golfers encounter once in awhile. Other than that she played great and encouraged the girls afterwards by letting them know important it was that they stepped up and played well. And that she was proud of them and the team."

Gunn and Paly each have one more match on Tuesday before squaring off against each other next Thursday to decide the regular-season title. The rivals shared the crown last season.

Girls tennis

Palo Alto came up with one of its most important victories of the SCVAL El Camino season with a 4-3 triumph over visiting Milpitas on Thursday. The victory kept the Vikings (7-0, 10-4) atop the standings and in solid position to capture the regular-season title.

"It was one of the most exciting matches I have been involved with," said Paly coach Andy Harader.

The Vikings trailed the entire match, losing first sets in five of the seven matches. With Paly behind by 3-2, the Vikings' No. 1 and 2 doubles teams bounced back from first-set losses to win.

"Our No. 1 doubles match was the final match, and they fell behind (3-0) in the third set," explained Harader. "It looked dim. However, both girls played extremely well. I am very proud of them."

Paly finally pulled out the victory as its No. 1 team of Madeline Lee and freshman Jackie Cai bounced back from a first-set loss to win, 3-6, 6-0, 7-5.

"Even though it is in the El Camino Division, it was a memorable win," Harader said.

The victory gives Paly a two-game cushion over Milpitas (5-2) with five matches remaining. The Vikings have been the Trojans twice and now control the division race.

"We can lose two of our remaining matches and still win league," Harader said.

In the West Bay Athletic League (Foothill Division), Menlo School won its 212th straight league dual match with a 7-0 triumph over host King's Academy at the Sunnyvale Tennis Center. The Knights (4-0, 10-4) won every match in straight sets, losing only seven games in singles and two in doubles.

In Atherton, Sacred Heart Prep tuned up for Tuesday's showdown against host Menlo School for first place in the WBAL Foothill Division race with a 5-2 victory over visiting Harker. The Gators (4-0, 12-2) were led by freshman Sarah Choy's 6-0, 6-0 victory at No. 1 singles.

Also in the WBAL Foothill Division, Castilleja defeated visiting Crystal Springs, 5-2, at Rinconada Park. Celeste Woloshyn paced the Gators (2-2, 6-6) with a 6-1, 6-3 win at No. 1 singles while Wallis Hess provided a 6-1, 6-4 victory at No. 2.

In the PAL Bay Division, Menlo-Atherton moved closer to clinching the regular-season title with a 7-0 blanking of visiting Aragon on Thursday. Freshman Lanie Van Linge once again led the Bears (9-0, 11-6) with a 6-0, 6-1 triumph at No. 1 singles.

Sami Andrew, Laila Volpe and Caroline Kelly also won their singles matches in straight sets.

M-A has five regular-season matches remaining, including a crucial showdown with second-place Carlmont on Oct. 23 in Atherton.

In the WBAL Skyline Division, Pinewood moved to 3-1 in league (6-6 overall) with a 7-0 victory over visiting Mercy-San Francisco. Julia Owens led the way with a 6-0, 6-0 victory at No. 1 singles. Leah Hess won at No. 2, 6-1, 6-0 and Hannah Manheim at No. 3, 6-1, 6-1.

Boys water polo

The Gunn boys held on to first place in the SCVAL De Anza Division water polo race with a big 19-6 romp over host Los Altos on Thursday night. The Titans improved to 7-0 in league and 9-5 overall.

Girls water polo

First-place Gunn relied on yet another standout defensive effort to post a 5-2 victory over host Los Altos in SCVAL De Anza Division action Thursday. The Titans (7-0, 12-3) were led by Bianca Batista's three goals. Erica Watkins and Zoe Banks added one each. Gunn blanked the Knights in the second and third periods while taking a 5-1 lead.

In Palo Alto, the host Vikings bounced back from a tough loss to Gunn on Tuesday to defeat visiting Homestead, 7-2. The Vikings (5-2, 8-7) got two goals each from sophomore Izzy Kelley, junior Katie Francis and senior Tess van Hulsen. Goalie "Jo-Jo" Falla had 10 saves.

— Palo Alto Online

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