Gunn water polo teams wrap up regular-season division titles


The Gunn water polo program evidently is doing everything in tandem this season, which is proving to be a good thing for the Titans.

On Tuesday, both teams celebrated their seniors' final regular-season home matches with identical 12-3 victories over Mountain View. The Gunn boys improved to 11-0 in the SCVAL De Anza Division, as did the girls.

Both victories wrapped up regular-season titles for the Titans, the boys winning their second straight and the girls their fourth. Both teams will shoot for identical 12-0 marks for the first time ever on Thursday at rival Palo Alto.

Starting times, to accommodate ceremonies for Paly's seniors, have moved the girls' match from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., with the boys starting at 5:45 p.m. (from 6:45 p.m.).

The Gunn boys went into Tuesday's title-clincher without being told the importance of the match by second-year head coach Matt Johnson.

"I didn't tell them," said Johnson. "Just treated it like any other game. We just wanted to protect our own pool and give the seniors a victory in their final home match."

Rather than focusing on titles and seedings -- Gunn clinched the No. 1 seed for the division playoffs last week -- Johnson said the focus has been improving on defense.

"If we want to win league titles and CCS championships, we have to be stronger defensively," he said.

Gunn, which won for the 10th time in its past 11 matches, displayed its defensive prowess against the Spartans by holding them to a single goal by halftime as the Titans grabbed a 7-1 lead.

Johnson liked the effort of senior goalie Tony Zunino.

"Tony had one of his better games," Johnson said.

Mountain View had no answer for Gunn's defense, which denied shot after shot and prevented easy entry passes into the hole set. Most of Mountain View's shots were funneled directly at Zunino for easy saves.

"We're just focusing on defense the rest of the season," Johnson said. "We're just trying to get better every game."

The Gunn girls (11-0, 16-3), meanwhile, have been relying on a solid defense all season long while limiting opponents to single-digit scoring.

That was the case once again on Tuesday as senior goalie Sam Acker came up with 11 saves to help celebrate Senior Day. Appropriately, seniors Erica Watkins and Nia Gardner each scored four goals in the final regular-season home game.

Gunn, which is now 44-3 in league play since 2011 under coach Mark Hernandez, has allowed 10 goals or more only twice this season. The Titans fell to Sacred Heart Prep, 10-1, and Monte Vista (Danville), 14-1. In its past four matches, Gunn has outscored the opposition 39-9.

Elsewhere in the De Anza Division, the Palo Alto boys (9-2) moved into a second-place tie with Mountain View following a 12-8 win at Los Altos. The Paly girls (6-5, 9-10) dropped a 6-5 decision to the Eagles in sudden-death overtime as the teams played seven periods.

Cross country

The Gunn boys and girls swept the varsity titles at the annual Palo Alto City Championships held on the 2.18-mile layout at Bol Park.

Gunn junior Reid Kovacs clocked 11.22.7 while leading six teammates to the finish line before the Vikings crossed as the Titans scored a perfect 15 points to defeat Paly (50). Senior Mack Radin was second in 11:28.8 and junior Ryan Araghi third in 11:38.4.

The fastest boys' time, however, went to Paly sophomore Kent Slaney in the frosh-soph race as he ran 11:05.3.

In the girls' race, Gunn junior Gillian Meeks led a 1-2-3 finish by the Titans in a 17-45 win over Palo Alto. Meeks ran 11:57.2, just missing the course record for juniors (11:57.0) set by Sarah Robinson in 2012.

Senior Emily Aiken was second in 12:37.4 and Gunn's Illi Gardner was third in 12:53.9, the No. 3 all-time mark for a sophomore. Paly junior Bryan Carlson was fourth in 13:19.7, clocking the No. 4 all-time junior mark.

In Belmont, the Menlo-Atherton boys and girls took second in their respective races in the third Peninsula Athletic League meet of the season, held Tuesday at Crystal Springs.

The M-A boys scored 69 points to trail only Half Moon Bay (46) while the M-A girls had 68 points while also finishing second to the Cougars (36).

Adam Scandlyn finished fourth in the boys' race in 16:28 over the 2.95-mile layout. In the girls' race, M-A's Katie Beebe was second in 19:25.

Girls tennis

Menlo School won its 19th straight league title under head coach Bill Shine with a 7-0 victory over visiting King's Academy on Senior Day. The Knights moved to 9-0 in the West Bay Athletic League (Foothill Division) and 15-4 overall with only Thursday's match at Sacred Heart Prep remaining.

Menlo now has won 217 straight league dual matches, an ongoing state record. The Knights lost only two games in six matches, as senior Elizabeth Yao won her No. 1 singles match by default.

In Santa Clara, Sacred Heart Prep solidified second place in the WBAL Foothill Division with a 4-3 victory over host Harker at the Decathlon Club. The Gators (7-2, 15-5) won all three doubles matches in three sets to pull out the victory.

The tandems of Lauren Trihy-Caroline Parsons (No. 1) and Natalie Henriquez-Paige Kelley (No. 2) both had to bounce back from first-set losses to register victories. Freshman Sarah Choy gave SHP and early lead with a 6-1, 6-0 win at No. 1 singles.

In Hillsborough, Castilleja (5-4, 10-8) rolled to a 7-0 win over host Crystal Springs, despite having two matches, Celeste Woloshyn at No. 1 singles and Karina Gunadi at No. 4, go to a third-set tiebreaker.

In the WBAL Skyline Division, Pinewood kept its solid season intact with a 4-3 win over host Mercy-San Francisco. Julia Owens won at No. 1 singles (6-1, 6-0) for the Panthers (6-1, 11-6) while Kendall Cooks and Olivia Hanks won at No. 1 doubles with the same score.

In the PAL Bay Division, Menlo-Atherton wrapped up a perfect 14-0 season with a 5-2 victory over host Woodside on Tuesday. The Bears (16-6 overall) played without their No. 1 and 2 singles players (Lanie Van Linge and Sami Andrew), but still had plenty of depth with a senior-laden lineup that was led by freshman Julia Marks at No. 1 singles. M-A already has clinched an automatic berth into the CCS playoffs.

Girls volleyball

Menlo-Atherton moved a step closer to winning the PAL Bay Division volleyball title with a 25-14, 25-23, 25-11 victory over visiting Carlmont on Tuesday night. The Bears improved to 11-0 in league (22-3 overall) and can clinch no worse than a tie for the league title on Thursday with a win over host South San Francisco.

Against the Scots (7-4, 16-14), senior Devin Joos led M-A with 17 kills and 14 digs with sophomore setter Kirby Knapp providing 45 assists. Leanna Collins added 12 kills and Ally Ostrow finished with 15 digs.

In the West Bay Athletic League (Foothill Division, Menlo School (7-1, 17-14) held on to a share of first place with a 25-12, 25-19, 17-25, 25-21 victory over host Notre Dame-San Jose.

In Palo Alto, Sacred Heart Prep got 32 kills and 22 digs from Victoria Garrick and 34 assists from fellow senior Natalie Marshall in a 24-26, 25-22, 25-19, 25-20 victory over host Castilleja (1-7, 13-18). Jorden Schreeder added 17 digs from her libero position for SHP (3-5, 16-11). Junior Madeline Johnson had 22 kills and 15 digs for Castilleja with senior Sarah Rose adding 12 kills. Sophomore Elle Kass had 24 digs.

In the SCVAL De Anza Division, Gunn dropped a 14-25, 25-22, 25-18, 25-19 decision to host Mountain View. Meghan Mahoney and fellow senior outside hitter Jess Dinneen combined for 21 kills for the Titans (3-7, 15-12) with setter Nicole Brigham providing 32 assists.

In Cupertino, a rematch of last year's CCS Division I title match saw defending champ Homestead defeat visiting Palo Alto, 25-16, 25-20, 25-16. Senior Jade Schoenberger had 10 kills and 14 digs for the Vikings (2-7, 16-10) while sophomore Jessica Lee provided 19 assists.

In the WBAL Skyline Division, Priory dropped a 25-14, 25-20, 25-21 decision to host Crystal Springs. Anna Brett and Samantha Sargent each had six kills for the Panthers with Jane Ross and Avery Simon adding five and three kills, respectively.

— Palo Alto Online Sports

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Like this comment
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 29, 2014 at 4:23 pm

To Gunn WP teams: Well done!

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