The Menlo-Atherton girls successfully defended their Central Coast Section Division I volleyball title with a 25-14, 27-25, 25-17 victory over Carlmont on Saturday evening at Independence High School in San Jose.
The No. 3-seeded Bears improved to 24-7 while the Scots dropped to 27-9. Menlo-Atherton received a No. 3 seed and will host No. 6 Lowell (26-6) of San Francisco in a NorCal opener on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
"These girls have been studs all season long," said MA head coach Fletcher Anderson. "They have a real family atmosphere and they're really close and that's why it shows on the court. They run everything down and they trust each other."
In the second game with the score 25-25, M-A junior Jacqueline DiSanto smashed a serve and Elena Mateus couldn't handle it and the Bears went up 26-25. On the next play, Carlmont's Maya McClellan knocked it into the net and M-A took the 2-0 lead.
"She (DiSanto) put some good serves on them," said Anderson. "She really got them out of their grove and we were able to dig with good blocks and shove it back down their throat."
In the first game, M-A took a 12-point lead when senior Leanna Collins spiked it past Carlmont defenders and the Bears took a 20-8 lead. The senior finished the match with a block and M-A took the game, 25-14. Collins finished with 12 kills.
"Carlmont is such a good competition," said Collins. "It was kind of nice to play them one final time to break the tie."
M-A and Carlmont met twice during the PAL Bay Division season, with the teams splitting. The Bears, however, repeated their victory when both teams were unbeaten in league.
"Some nights your level of execution doesn't match your level of effort and desire, and tonight was just one of those nights," said Carlmont coach Chris Crader. "Menlo-Atherton played very well, and we never seemed to get into a good rhythm. But our girls kept battling back during the entire match, and I'm really proud of them. We should all feel good about being the first Carlmont team to reach the CCS finals in a decade, and we are excited that we get to play another match. It stings, but by Monday at 3:30, I know our girls will be ready to go for NorCals."
In Game 2, the Bears were down 20-17 and Anderson called a timeout.
"I told them, 'they've got all the momentum, let's come out and run our game plan. Let's do what we came to do and play volleyball,'" said Anderson.
After the called timeout, the Bears took the momentum back, went on a 10-5 run and came out with the game.
The Bears were going in for the kill in the third game when junior Kirby Knapp connected with junior Eliza Grover, spiking it past Carlmont and taking a 20-15 lead. Grover finished with seven kills, Knapp with 32 assists.
With the score 24-17, Senior Courtney Foliaki smashed the ball past McClellan and the M-A bench sprang to the court in celebration of a CCS title.
"We have a team party tomorrow so we're going to enjoy that," said Collins.
"We're excited about the competition," said Collins. "We're ready to see some new teams and see what we can do, it's really going to test us in terms of intensity and focus."
No. 2-seeded Menlo School dropped a 25-18, 17-25, 25-19, 25-15 decision to No. 1 and defending champion Notre Dame-Belmont (28-10) in the section finals on Saturday at Independence High in San Jose.
The Knights (22-7) will compete in the NorCal playoffs beginning Tuesday. Menlo received a No. 4 seed and will host No. 5 Hillmar (36-7) at 7 p.m.
Menlo senior outside hitter Maddie Stewart posted 12 kills and sophomore Ashley Dreyer added seven. Middles Mia Vandermeer and Payton Mack each recorded five kills. Sophomore setter Kristin Sellers distributed 21 assists and had nine digs while Selina Xu, a freshman, had 11 assists. Menlo junior Jessica Houghton and freshman Sianna Houghton tallied 15 and 14 kills, respectively. Freshman Riley Holland picked up eight digs.
Menlo School saw its season come to an end in a 28-14 loss to host Scotts Valley on Saturday in the opening round of the CCS Division V playoffs.
The No. 5 seeded Knights (6-5) got touchdowns from junior Charlie Ferguson on a 7-yard run, and Menlo took a 6-0 lead early in the second quarter.
No. 4 seed Scotts Valley (7-3), however, scored on the next possession with 9:47 left in the second, led 21-6 at the half.
Menlo junior Evan King hauled in a fourth-quarter touchdown pass, and senior Mackenzie Morehead finished with 382 passing yards. The two connected on the ensuing conversion.
The Knights held the Falcons to 228 offensive yards, 94 of which came on a 94-yard touchdown run. They also limited Scotts Valley to five first downs and just 58 passing yards.
Ferguson passed the century mark again in rushing yards with 114 yards in 19 carries. King had four catches for 107 yards and senior RJ Babiera five catches for 87 yards.