Menlo School, M-A girls wind up with volleyball titles


The Menlo School girls earned a co-championship while Menlo-Atherton wrapped up a perfect league season to highlight regular-season volleyball action on Thursday night.

Menlo earned a co-title in the West Bay Athletic League (Foothill Division) with a 23-25, 25-18, 27-25, 25-18 victory over visiting Castilleja. For the Knights (9-1, 19-14), it was their third straight outright or co-title in division play.

Senior outside hitter Lida Vandermeer's 17 kills. led the way for Menlo while senior setter Elisa Merten tallied 48 assists and sophomore libero Jessica Houghton contributed 11 digs. Sophomore Mia Vandermeer added nine kills and freshman Ashley Dreyer eight.

Madeline Johnson had 15 kills, 16 digs and three aces for the Gators (1-9, 13-21) with sophomore Elle Kass adding 23 digs. Senior Sarah Rose finished with 11 kills and two aces.

Menlo entered Thursday's match tied with Harker, and needed Sacred Heart Prep to upset the Eagles in order to win the WBAL Foothill title outright. That didn't happen as the host Gators (4-6, 17-13) dropped a 25-13, 21-25, 25-12, 25-15 decision. Cate Desler led SHP with 13 kills with Kendall Reich adding 11 kills and 13 digs. Natalie Marshall provided 26 assists, Mamie Caruso had 17 digs and Jorden Schreeder added 16 digs.

Also in Atherton, host Menlo-Atherton put the finishing touches on a 14-0 season in the PAL Bay Division and improved to 25-3 overall with a 25-13, 25-15, 25-7 victory over Woodside. The Bears likely could earn the No. 1 seed in Division I for the upcoming Central Coast Section playoffs.

Sophomore Kirby Knapp provided 39 assists and six digs with senior Devis Joos adding 11 kills and 14 kills. Junior Leanna Collins had 17 kills and hit .700 with only three errors in 20 attempts, while sophomore Eliza Grover had seven kills in 11 attempts and hit .640.

Girls tennis

The Menlo-Atherton tandem of senior Sami Andrew and freshman Julia Marks captured the doubles title at the PAL Individual Tournament on Thursday at Burlingame High, defeating teammates Taylor Noble and Julia Chang, 6-2, 6-2.

The victory earned Andrew and Marks an automatic berth into the CCS Individual Tournament. Noble and Chang will have to gain an at-large berth to get in.

In the singles finale, Menlo-Atherton freshman Lanie Van Linge saw her hopes of reaching the CCS tourney disappear in a 7-6 (7-2), 6-2 loss.

The Bears next will head into the CCS Team Tournament, which begins this week.

Boys water polo

Defending champ Sacred Heart Prep advanced to the championship match of the West Catholic Athletic League playoffs with a 16-4 drubbing of Serra in the semifinals on Thursday at Bellarmine Prep in San Jose. The top-seeded and regular-season champ Gators (21-4) will return to the same pool Saturday to face No. 2 seed St. Francis, a 10-6 winner over No. 4 Bellarmine, at 7:30 p.m.

Against Serra, junior Finn Banks led the way with four goals while senior Nelson Perla-Ward added three. Goalies JC Marco and Alexander Nemeth combined for 13 saves.

In the Peninsula Athletic League playoffs, Menlo-Atherton and Menlo School will meet for a third time this season after both advanced to the championship match with solid victories on Thursday. The rivals will square off Saturday at Burlingame High at 6:30 p.m. Both teams hold a victory against each other this season as Menlo beat M-A by two goals in the North-South Challenge and, four days later, the Bears avenged the loss by beating the Knights in overtime by three goals.

Menlo (20-6) advanced with an easy 20-5 romp over Half Moon Bay as the Knights had 12 players score and 12 with assists. Senior Nick Bisconti and junior Chris Xi each had four goals while senior Andreas Katsis had two goals and three assists. Menlo-Atherton (15-11) advanced with a win over Burlingame. No score was reported.

In the SCVAL De Anza Division playoffs at Gunn, Palo Alto (12-13) opened with a 19-14 victory over Homestead as Winston Rosati scored five goals with Lucas Novak and Ray Zhao adding four each. The Vikings will play in the semifinals on Friday against Mountain View, with regular-season champ Gunn taking on Monta Vista at 5:40 p.m. The winners advance to Saturday's title match at 7:55 p.m.

Girls water polo

Regular-season champion Castilleja advanced to the championship match of the PAL playoffs with an 8-3 victory over Woodside on Thursday. The Gators (17-5) will meet the winner of the other semifinal between Carlmont and Menlol-Atherton in Saturday's title match at Burlingame High at 5 p.m.

Senior Anna Yu led Castilleja with three goals and Jenna Kotcher added two, with goalie Maddie Tarr coming up with eight saves. The Gators got single goals from Serena Rivera-Korver, Isabelle Arnehim and Celia Aldrete.

— Palo Alto Online Sports

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