Gunn boys help make program history by reaching CCS finals


The last time the Gunn boys water polo team played in the Central Coast Section title match, in 2004, the Titans' goalie was Matt Johnson. Gunn went on to lose to Bellarmine that year by a 16-7 score.

Johnson has the Titans back in the title match, only this time as the team's head coach. He and his players earned a berth in the Division I finals with a 9-5 victory over No. 8 Mountain View (16-9) on Wednesday at Bellarmine Prep in San Jose.

The No. 4-seeded Titans (18-10) will take on No. 2 St. Francis (17-10) in the section finals on Saturday at Independence High in San Jose at 2:30 p.m. The Lancers advanced with a 7-5 win over No. 3 Bellarmine.

In the game prior, the Gunn girls also will face St. Francis in the Division I title match. This is the first time both Gunn teams have reached section championship matches in the same year. The Gunn girls played in their first CCS finale last year.

The Gunn boys last won a CCS title in 1995, beating Mountain View.

The SCVAL De Anza Division rivals met for a third time this season at Bellarmine, with the Titans winning for a third time after earlier topping the Spartans, 16-5 and 12-3, on the way to a second straight 12-0 division finish.

Gunn junior Calder Hilde-Jones came through big time at the 2-meter position and scored three times. Christian Znidarsic also tallied three goals while senior Ari Wayne finished with two.

Gunn senior goalie Anthony Zunino, meanwhile, helped limit Mountain View's top two scorers -- Matt Dunn and Alex Paulsen -- to just two goals apiece as the Spartans finished 18-11.

Gunn held a slim 4-3 halftime lead before opening up its offense in the third period and taking a 7-3 lead into the final period.

Division II girls

To absolutely no one's surprise, top-seeded Sacred Heart Prep (22-6) will play for an unprecedented eighth straight CCS Division II title following a 19-7 dunking of No. 5 Willow Glen (13-7) on Wednesday in a semifinal at Gunn High.

The Gators will face No. 2 Soquel (24-3) in the title match Saturday at Independence High at 10 a.m. Soquel ended the season of No. 3 Castilleja (19-6) with an 8-5 victory. Anna Yu had three goals with Maddie Macdonald and Alex Zafran adding one each for Castilleja, which also got 15 saves from Maddie Tarr.

SHP, meanwhile, cruised to victory after leading by 7-2 at the end of the first period and 12-5 at the half. Junior Malaika Koshy led the Gateors with five goals with sophomores Maddy Johnston and Layla Waters adding four each. Sophomore Maddy Pendonlino finished with three.

"The girls buy into the program and structure we've established and work very hard," said SHP coach Jon Burke, on the string of titles his team has produced. "Almost all of them are committed year-round players and water polo is a priority for them and their families.

"We have amazing kids, from top to bottom, and I'm fortunate to have the opportunity to coach them. I think a few reasons why historically we've had success in the playoffs is that we prepare well for our games; we play a tough schedule during the regular season and we never overlook anyone. We're looking forward to having an opportunity to play for a championship on Saturday."



First round

Salinas 13, Los Gatos 8

Monta Vista 12, Wilcox 7

Second round

Salinas 10, Palo Alto 9

Mountain View 15, Monta Vista 8


Bellarmine 24, Serra 10

St. Francis 11, Salinas 4

Gunn 11, Leland 5

Mountain View 10, Menlo-Atherton 8

Wednesday's semifinals

At Bellarmine Prep

Gunn (17-10) vs. No. 8 Mountain View (18-10), 5:30 p.m.

No. 2 St. Francis (16-10) vs. No. 3 Bellarmine (15-13), 7 p.m.

Championship on Saturday

At Independence High

No. 2 St. Francis (17-10) vs. No. 4 Gunn (18-10), 2:30 p.m.



First round

Burlingame 21, Sobrato 10

Pioneer 10, Mills 5

Willow Glen 19, R.L. Stevenson 5

Second round

Santa Cruz 19, Burlingame 12

Willow Glen 10, Pioneer 9


Soquel 16, Valley Christian 7

Menlo School 18, Santa Cruz 8

St. Ignatius 10, Carmel 5

Sacred Heart Prep 15, Willow Glen 1

Tuesday's semifinals

At Bellarmine Prep

Menlo School 11, Soquel 9

Sacred Heart Prep 10, St. Ignatius 6

Championship on Saturday

At Independence High

No. 1 Sacred Heart Prep (24-4) vs. No. 2 Menlo School (23-6), 11:30 a.m.




First round

Menlo-Atherton 11, No. 12 Lynbrook 1

Palo Alto 12, No. 11 Woodside 7

Second round

Palo Alto 9, Carlmont 8

Menlo-Atherton 5, San Benito 2


Leland 6, Los Altos 5 (sudden death)

Gunn 5, Palo Alto 2

Los Gatos 8, Mitty 4

St. Francis 13, Menlo-Atherton 1

Tuesday's semifinals

At Gunn High

St. Francis 8, Los Gatos 4

Gunn 10, Leland 6

Championship on Saturday

At Independence High

No. 1 St. Francis (20-8) vs. No. 2 Gunn (22-6), 1 p.m.



First round

Saratoga 7, No. 12 R.L. Stevenson 4

Santa Catalina 9, No. 10 Valley Christian 8

Second round

Sobrato 9, Santa Catalina 6

Saratoga 5, St. Ignatius 3


Castilleja 7, Pioneer 4

Soquel 14, Sobrato 3

Willow Glen 11, Presentation 9

Sacred Heart Prep 16, Saratoga 4

Wednesday's semifinals

Soquel 8, Castilleja 4

Sacred Heart Prep 19, Willow Glen 7

Championship on Saturday

At Independence High

No. 1 Sacred Heart Prep (22-6) vs. No. 2 Soquel (24-3), 10 a.m.

— Palo Alto Online Sports

What is community worth to you?
Support local journalism.


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

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox.

Couple brings Chinese zongzi to Mountain View
By Elena Kadvany | 0 comments | 5,748 views

Don't Miss Your Exit (and other lessons from an EV drive)
By Sherry Listgarten | 6 comments | 1,328 views

Goodbye Food Waste!
By Laura Stec | 2 comments | 1,195 views

Can cities handle our traffic mess? I doubt it!
By Diana Diamond | 16 comments | 1,116 views

"Better" Dads and "Re-invigorated" Moms: Happier Couples
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,045 views


Register today!

‚ÄčOn Friday, October 11, join us at the Palo Alto Baylands for a 5K walk, 5K run, 10K run or half marathon! All proceeds benefit local nonprofits serving children and families.

Learn More