Sports

Menlo girls net perfect tennis finish in Battle of the Bay

 

The Northern California tennis championship for girls has been in existence since 2004 and the finalists every year have been from the Central Coast Section.

Menlo School coach Bill Shine believes the CCS dominance is over, for at least a year.

"I think the NCS has gotten better this year," said Shine, whose defending NorCal champion Knights captured the second annual Battle of the Bay on Saturday by finishing off a 4-0 performance. "Our matches on Friday were tough."

Menlo (11-1) opened with a 6-1 win over Monte Vista (Danville) and a 5-2 triumph over Dougherty Valley (San Ramon), both in the East Bay. On Saturday, the Knights returned home to defeat Amador Valley (Pleasanton), 5-2, and Miramonte, 7-0.

"I don't think you will see the top two teams in CCS in the NorCal finals, like in the past," said Shine, who improved his career record to 450-81 at Menlo in his 20th season.

With Menlo leading the way, the CCS outscored the NCS, 43-33, in the two-day tennis extravaganza that included Sacred Heart Prep, Castilleja, Menlo-Atherton and Gunn.

In last year's first Battle of the Bay, Menlo suffered its only loss of the tournament to Dougherty Valley, but this year was able to sweep doubles and prevail in some tough matches. Last season, the Knights were able to squeak by Monte Vista. While Friday's two wins appeared easy, they were anything but.

"We were really pushed in those matches," Shine said.

Menlo's Mia McConnell, a fourth-year varsity starter, said the Knights expected close matches on the road Friday, "because they're really good teams in the NCS, but we played really well," she said. "It was especially nice for us to play so well against Monte-Vista Danville because last year we won, 4-3, and we barely pulled that match out. It (Friday's win) was a boost for our confidence."

The Knights have had a busy season so far, hosting the inaugural Golden State Classic, drawing top competition statewide, along with Hawaii's state champion last month then following with the Battle of the Bay tournament.

"They're both good matches to get in . . . especially to prepare for CCS," McConnell said. "I think the team's looking really good, and everyone's playing their best so that's great to see."

Menlo freshman Ashley Vielma went 4-0 at No. 2 singles during the four matches to pace the Knights. McConnell and Melissa Tran also went 4-0, at No. 1 doubles, while freshman Vivian Liu finished 4-0, including winning a singles match.

Castilleja split its first two matches before sweeping on Saturday with a 5-2 win over Acalanes and a 5-2 triumph over Tamalpais.

Celeste Woloshyn paced the Gators with two straight-set wins at No. 1 singles on the final day. Also winning two matches each were Wallis Hess and Kaitlin Rhee. All three singles players went 3-1 for the tourney.

Sacred Heart Prep hosted matches both days and finished 2-2. Sophomore Sara Choy went 4-0 at No. 1 singles for the Gators (7-4), who lost on Saturday to Tamalpais, 5-2, but topped Head Royce by the same score. Choy lost only three games in her two matches.

Gunn finished 2-2 after defeating Buchanan (4-3) and Carondelet (6-1) on Saturday while Menlo-Atherton also went 2-2 after losing to Dougherty Valley (4-3) and beating Monte Vista (4-3) on the final day.

Cross country

The Menlo-Atherton girls finished second the the M-A boys ran to a fourth-place finish in the Large School races at the 44th annual Artichoke Invitational on Saturday at Half Moon Bay High.

The M-A girls scored 55 points to take second behind Monta Vista's 53 points. Annalisa Crowe led the Bears by clocking 14:41 for third place over the 2.33-mile layout. Fellow M-A senior Madeleine Baier also had a top-10 finish as she clocked 14:58 for sixth.

Rounding out the M-A scorers were Cat DePuy (20th in 15:44), Olivia Shane (23rd in 16:01) and Anna Leake (25th in 16:20).

For the Large School boys, Menlo-Atherton finished fourth with 107 points while trailing Northgate (78), Monta Vista (86) and Willow Glen (98).

Robert Lane finished eighth in 12:56 to lead the Bears with teammate Andrew Salinas taking ninth in 12:59. Other M-A scorers were Kevin Conrad (17th in 13:10), Rohan DePuy (38th in 12:30) and Andrew Tan (39th in 13:31).

— Palo Alto Online Sports/Menlo School Athletics

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