Sports

Menlo girls open PAL water polo playoffs with a win

 

The postseason in water polo is officially under way and the Menlo School girls have earned the right to play another day.

The Knights avenged a nonleague loss to Half Moon last week with a 5-4 overtime triumph over the Cougars on Monday to open the Peninsula Athletic League playoffs at Woodside High.

Just seconds into the second mandatory overtime period, Menlo junior driver Chloe Ebrahimian scored off a rebound and the Knights (15-10) held on for the victory.

Setting up the deciding goal, Ebrahimian won the sprint to start the second OT, passed to Meg Reinstra, drove to the post, took a shot. Menlo sophomore Sarah Donato got the rebound and another shot, then Ebrahimian took the ball, which popped up in front of her off a rebound, turned around and delivered into the net for the winner.

"I was not expecting to get the ball then . . . it was fun," Ebrahimian said. "This win meant a lot, especially for our seniors, who have been working so hard on our team unity and keeping the energy up."

At the start of the fourth, Donato scored to pull Menlo to within 4-3. Goalie Gillian Bressie made a pair of big saves before freshman Meri Klingelhofer fired in the tying goal with 1:10 left in regulation.

Half Moon Bay scored first, then Menlo's Jane Zafran (on a Parker Callender assist) tied it with 2:18 left in the second.

The Cougars scored twice at the end of the second to take a 3-1 lead into the half. The Knights closed the gap when a Menlo shot fell of the goalie's hands then freshman Meg Reinstra pushed the ball into the net with 3:13 left in the third. Half Moon Bay scored a minute later to lead 4-2.

Menlo now advances to the second round and will host Burlingame on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.

In other matches at Menlo, regular-season league champ Castilleja (12-6) will play at 2:45 p.m. and Menlo-Atherton (7-9) will hit the pool at 5:15. Semifinals will be Thursday at Woodside High with the championship match set for Menlo-Atherton on Saturday at 3:30 p.m., preceded by matches for third (1 p.m.), fifth (10:30 a.m.) and seventh (8 a.m.).

The boys' PAL tournament moves into the second round Tuesday, as well, with regular-season champ Menlo School (13-11) playing at 2:45 p.m. and second-place Menlo-Atherton (13-9) playing at 6:30 p.m., both in the Bears' pool.

Semifinals will be Thursday at M-A with the title match set for Saturday (also at M-A) at 4:45 p.m.

The West Catholic Athletic League playoffs are under way with the Sacred Heart Prep boys and girls earning byes into Thursday's semifinals in the Gators' pool. The title matches also will be played in Atherton.

The SCVAL De Anza Division boys' playoffs open Tuesday with Palo Alto visiting Mountain View at 6:40 a.m. Regular-season champ Gunn has a bye into Thursday's semifinals (5:40 p.m.), also at Mountain View. The finals will be Saturday at Gunn at 6:40 p.m.

The Paly and Gunn girls get under way Thursday. The Vikings will face Mountain View at 4:20 p.m., followed by the Titans against Saratoga at 5:40 p.m. Both matches are at Gunn. Semifinals will be Friday with the title match Saturday at Gunn at 7:45 p.m.

Girls tennis

Sacred Heart Prep sophomore Sara Choy has positioned herself to defend her singles title at the West Bay Athletic League Individual Tournament following a 6-0, 6-0 second-round win on Monday at Menlo School.

Choy should reach Tuesday's title match at 2:30 p.m., facing either Castilleja's Celeste Woloshyn or Menlo's Ashley Vielma.

The doubles finale also will start at 2:30 p.m., with Menlo's tandem of Mia McConnell and Melissa Tran favored to be playing for the crown.

— Palo Alto Online Sports/Menlo Athletics

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