Avenging its only league loss, the Menlo School girls moved into a tie for first place in the West Bay Athletic League (Foothill Division) volleyball race with crucial victory over first-place Harker on Thursday night.
The Knights, who suffered their first division loss on Oct. 1 to Harker, handed the Eagles their first setback with a 19-25, 25-19, 25-16, 25-23 win in San Jose.
Three-time defending league champion Menlo (6-1, 17-6) can clinch at least a share of the title with a win over visiting Sacred Heart Prep on Tuesday at 5:45 p.m.
"I'm really proud of the team's performance, " Menlo coach Steve Cavella said. "It was a complete team effort and everyone contributed toward this win. I was pleased with the how the team handled the pressure and stayed composed at the end of Game 4. The team will enjoy the win and we will start preparing for our next match."
Senior outside hitter Maddie Stewart registered 11 kills and three blocks while sophomore Ashley Dreyer had eight kills, hit .533 and put up four blocks. Setters Kristin Sellers, a sophomore, and Selina Xu, a freshman each distributed 18 assists and had nine digs.
"Both setters did a fantastic job running the offense and they both served well," Cavella added.
Middle hitters Payton Mack and Mia Vandermeer contributed eight and five kills, respectively. Vandermeer also had six blocks.
Junior libero Jessica Houghton collected 34 digs while freshman Sianna Houghton picked up 20.
"We got off to a slow start in Game 1, but we played really well in games 2, 3, and 4," Cavella said.."Mia Vandermeer had three big kills and a block in Game 2 that help lead the way. Ashley Dreyer had six kills and three big blocks for us in games 3 and 4. While individual players stood out in certain parts of the match, it was a total team effort.
Jessica Houghton, Riley Holland, and Caroline Bradley really stepped up on defense. Jessica had a really nice match."
In Atherton, Sacred Heart Prep avenged an earlier loss to Mercy-San Francisco with a 25-12, 26-24, 2-22 triumph over the visiting Skippers in WBAL Foothill Division action. Cate Desler paced the Gators (3-4, 15-9) with 20 kills while setter Lilika Teu provided 33 assists and eight kills. Natalie Zimits came up with 10 kills and four blocks, Jorden Schreeder had 20 digs and Rachel Cheung finished with 15 digs.
In Portola Valley, Elle Kass served seven aces and added 10 digs as Castilleja posted a 25-20, 28-26, 25-10 victory over host Priory in WBAL Skyline Division action. The Gators (4-3, 8-18) ended a five-match losing streak as Ashley Hu, Gwen Cusing, Zannie Whittle and Anna Friedman all had four kills. Cusing added seven digs and three aces while Whittle hit .600.
In the PAL Bay Division, Menlo-Atherton remained atop the standings by one match following a 25-19, 25-18, 25-18 victory over visiting Aragon. The Bears improved to 10-0 in league (17-6 overall) with important matches coming up against Burlingame and second-place Carlmont.
In the SCVAL De Anza Division, Palo Alto pulled off a 24-26, 25-22, 25-17, 19-25, 15-5 marathon victory over host Homestead as sophomore Chelsea Fan had 21 kills and seven digs and junior Jessica Lee produced 48 assists and 19 digs for the Vikings (5-3, 17-9). Senior Claire Dennis added 16 kills (hitting .609) and six blocks and sophomore Susanna Limb added 14 digs.
With the PAL Bay Division title already clinched, Menlo-Atherton had many new faces in the lineup during its 7-0 victory over host Hillsdale as the Bears improved to 13-0 in league (17-4 overall).
Sarah Tiemann, playing in the No. 4 singles position, defeated previously undefeated Jamie Zhang in a hotly contested match that was easily Tiemann's best performance of the season, according to head coach Tom Sorenson. Doubles players Karly Gorman, Angie Menjivar, Hayley Yu, Anushka Patnaik, Bailey Lentz, and Hazel Torres notched their first varsity wins.
Yvette Leung, Julia Marks and Elise Kratzer continued to dominate their opponents with one-sided victories in singles. The Bears will host Woodside on Tuesday with the opportunity to finish 14-0 for the second straight league season.
Girls water polo
Clinching at least a share of the Peninsula Athletic League (Ocean Division) title, Menlo School kept its undefeated streak intact with a 12-1 win over visiting San Mateo on Thursday.
Menlo (11-0 PAL, 14-6 overall) sets the stage for a showdown against Mercy-Burlingame (10-1) to determine whether the Knights will win the title outright. Menlo handed Mercy its only loss of the season, winning 6-3 in Burlingame.
Nine players scored for Menlo, led by Chloe Ebrahimian, Parker Callender and Jane Zafran, each of whom scored twice. Gillian Bressie, a sophomore, notched 12 saves.