Menlo wins preview of PAL water polo showdown over rival Menlo-Atherton


Before the top two teams in the nation -- Harvard-Westlake and Mater Dei -- battled it out for the championship of the ninth annual North-South Water Polo Challenge on Saturday at Sacred Heart Prep, local rivals Menlo School and Menlo-Atherton provided a preview for this week's PAL Bay Division championship showdown.

The Knights and Bears played for 11th place in the 16-team tournament, but more seemingly was at stake. Most important, the winner grabbed the momentum heading into Wednesday's title-game match at M-A (5:15 p.m.)

Perhaps not too surprising, it was Menlo School emerging with a 15-13 triumph in the Bears' pool. The Knights (18-4) grabbed a 12-5 lead halfway through the third quarter and cruised to the win.

The match was closer than it looked as Menlo substituted heavily and Menlo-Atherton quickly capitalized, scoring four quick goals.

Menlo senior Spencer Witte was strong in the goal, tallying 13 saves and anchoring a tenatious defense while sparking Menlo's aggressive counter attack.

"It was great to see our game plan working," said Menlo head coach, Jack Bowen. "But, today's game doesn't hold nearly the importance that Wednesday's will. That game has been our real focus, even through this game today where we were still experimenting with different combinations. I thought both teams played great and I'm looking forward to seeing our guys come out really prepared on Wednesday."

Senior Andreas Katsis and junior Chris Xi each tallied five goals against the Bears with Nick Bisconti and Nikhil Bhatia adding two each.

Menlo fell into the 11th-place game following a 14-12 loss to Agoura on Saturday morning. Weston Avery and Katsis tallied three goals each with Bhatia, Bisconti and Xi all scoring twice. Witte came up with 10 saves.

Menlo-Atherton fell to Campolindo in the third round, 10-8.

Sacred Heart Prep, the No. 1 seed from Northern California, wound up seventh after topping Cathedral Catholic of Orange County, 10-7, in the final round. Senior Michael Swart and freshman Alex Tsotadze each scored three times for the Gators (16-3), who were third in this tourney last season. Grant Harvey added two goals and goalie JC Marco came up with eight saves.

SHP, which finished 2-2 in the two-day tournament, fell to Miramonte in the third round, 12-9. Finn Banks led SHP with five goals.

In the championship game, No. 1 Harvard-Westlake continued its best start in program history by improving to 22-0 with an 8-6 win over national No. 2 Mater Dei, which had won this event the past four years.



At Sacred Heart Prep

Game 1 -- Mater Dei 18, Davis 8

Game 3 -- Miramonte 13, Agoura 9

Game 5 -- Sacred Heart Prep 12, Villa Park 8

Game 7 -- Laguna Beach 8, Menlo School 6

Game 9 -- Agoura 12, Davis 4

Game 11 -- Mater Dei 16, Miramonte 6

Game 13 -- Menlo School 7, Villa Park 5

Game 15 -- Laguna Beach 14, Sacred Hear Prep 11

At Menlo-Atherton

Game 2 -- Cathedral Catholic 7, Campolindo 2

Game 4 -- Loyola (LA) 11, vs. Acalanes 4

Game 6 -- Harvard-Westlake 20, Menlo-Atherton 9

Game 8 -- Huntington Beach 8, St. Francis 4

Game 10 -- Campolindo 13, Acalanes 10

Game 12 -- Loyola 9, Cathedral Catholic 6

Game 14 -- Menlo-Atherton 10, St. Francis 8

Game 16 -- Harvard-Westlake 14, Huntington Beach 2


At Sacred Heart Prep

Game 17 -- Miramonte 12, Sacred Heart Prep 9

Game 19 -- Huntington Beach 7, Cathedral Catholic 6

Game 21 -- Mater Dei 17, Laguna Beach 3 (semifinal)

Game 23 -- Harvard-Westlake 8, Loyola 6 (semifinal)

Game 25 -- Sacred Heart Prep 10, Cathedral Catholic 7 (7th place)

Game 27 -- Miramonte 8, Huntington Beach 6 (5th place)

Game 29 -- Loyola 9, Laguna Beach 6 (3rd place)

Game 31 -- Harvard-Westlake 8, Mater Dei 6 (1st place)

At Menlo-Atherton

Game 18 -- St. Francis 8, Acalanes 5

Game 20 -- Davis 11, Villa Park 9

Game 22 -- Campolindo 10, Menlo-Atherton 8

Game 24 -- Agoura 14, Menlo School 12

Game 26 -- Acalanes 11, Villa Park 9 (15th place)

Game 28 -- St. Francis 6, Davis 4 (13th place)

Game 30 -- Menlo School 15, Menlo-Atherton 13 (11th place)

Game 32 -- Campolindo 11, Agoura 9 (9th place)


South: 1, Harvard-Westlake; 2, Mater Dei; 3, Loyola; 4, Huntington Beach; 5, Laguna Beach; 6, Agoura; 7, Cathedral Catholic; 8, Villa Park

North: 1, Sacred Heart Prep; 2, Campolindo; 3, Miramonte; 4, Menlo School; 5, St. Francis; 6, Acalanes; 7, Davis; 8, Menlo-Atherton

— Palo Alto Online Sports

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2 people like this
Posted by Ron
a resident of Menlo Park
on Oct 30, 2014 at 10:02 am

"Perhaps not too surprising" M-A won the REAL game 14-11, like our coach Gio told the players before and after the NvsS. Gio is the best coach M-A could ever ask for.
And that's why M-A is the only PUBLIC SCHOOL that wins against PRIVATE SCHOOL.
Now I would like to see the same journalist writing something good about M-A


1 person likes this
Posted by Nor Cal Polo
a resident of Portola Valley
on Nov 10, 2014 at 7:50 am

Menlo School comes back to win the League Tournament Championship (another "real" game) 12-10 and break the tie between Menlo & MA this season. Just saw photo of them with medals + league trophy. Wish that game wasn't up in Burlingame. Sounds like a great one to see.

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

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