Knights are ready to reclaim their boys water polo crown


The Menlo School boys water polo team knows at least two things heading into day two of the 19th annual Scott Roche Tournament on Saturday.

The Knights will finish higher than they did a year ago and they know they can beat St. Mary's of Stockton.

Menlo (5-0) advanced into Saturday's semifinals and meets La Jolla at 11:05 a.m. for a chance to regain its tournament title, last won in 2014.

The Knights opened with a 15-4 win Friday over Oak Ridge as Ben Wagner scored three goals, one of 10 goal scorers. Scott Little, Sam Untrecht and Noah Housenbold each had two goals.

St. Mary's knocked off Menlo in last year's quarterfinal, with the Knights eventually finishing fifth.

This year, Menlo's defensive mindset pushed the pace and allowed the Knights to take charge early in a 12-3 victory.

“We came out running a high-energy, pressure-focused team defense, holding St. Mary’s to just one goal in the first half,” Menlo coach Jack Bowen said.

Goalie Tiago Bonchristiano recorded 14 saves and added four assists as part of a successful counter attack. Untrecht, who added eight goals, was the main beneficiary.

St. Francis meets San Ramon Valley in the other semifinal. The winners meet for the championship at 4:45 p.m. at Menlo.

Gunn (3-2) and Menlo-Atherton (4-5) each won its first game and then lost the second game, falling into the consolation round.

Palo Alto (3-5) dropped its first two games and will look to rebound Saturday at 9:05 a.m. against Bella Vista at Menlo-Atherton.

The Bears edged Valley Christian, 5-4, in their first game before falling to St. Francis, 11-4. M-A meets Rio Americano at Menlo at 9:55 a.m.

Gunn opened with a solid, 16-4, victory over St. Ignatius, getting six goals from Quinn Hamilton, four from Jack Mallory and three from Lucas Batista.

In the quarterfinals, the Titans took a lead into the fourth period but La Jolla managed to squeeze past Gunn, 10-9.

Hamilton netted eight goals for the Titans, who were scheduled to meet St. Mary's at 8:45 a.m. on Saturday with a chance to finish fifth.

Girls volleyball

Sacred Heart Prep (7-2) handed visiting Monte Vista Christian its first loss, 25-15, 25-22, 20-25, 27-25, in a nonleague match Friday.

The Gators had four players reach double figures in kills. Cate Desler led the way with 17 kills. Sammy Phillips added 11 kills to go with four aces, Natalie Zimits had 10 kills and seven blocks and Ally Polverari continuted 10 kills.

Alexa Bartlett produced five kills and five blocks, setters Haley Martella and Alexa Thompson combined for 42 assists and Annie Bair added 12 digs.

At Menlo, The Knights (8-3) won their fourth straight, beating Gunn (5-6), 25-12, 25-14, 23-25, 25-8, Friday night.

Ashley Dreyer paced the Menlo attack with 12 kills and a .500 hitting percentage and Mia Vandermeer added seven kills with a .583 hitting percentage and five blocks. Selina Xu collected 23 assists, five kills and seven aces.

Sianna Houghton had six kills and 17 digs while senior Jessica Houghton posted a team-high 21 digs. Kristin Sellers picked up 10 digs, three aces and 14 assists. Grace King added six kills.

Elle Kass recorded 10 digs and five aces to help Castilleja (4-7) top visiting Summit Shasta in three sets. Ashley Hu added six kills, three aces and nine digs while Lexi Stull had five kills.

Pinewood (2-4) dropped a four-setter to visiting Alma Heights, although senior Gabrielle Krohn recorded 10 kills and junior Kassandra Davis added nine.

Girls tennis

Castilleja (3-1) earned a pair of 7-0 victories on day one of the 60th annual Santa Catalina Tournament on Friday.

The Gators beat Carmel and Robert Louis Stevenson as Castilleja's No. 4 singles player Simran Sandhu dropped two games in four sets on the day.

Becca Row and Wallis Hess were nearly as efficient on the day, each dropping three games.

The doubles teams of Soline Boussard and Taylor DeGroff and Sophia Nesamoney and Lexi Bundy were also dominant.

The Gators will be playing at Santa Catalina in Monterey on Saturday. They played their first two matches in Pebble Beach.

Girls water polo

Menlo split a pair of matches at the Acalanes Invitational on Friday, losing to Las Lomas, 16-7, and coming back to beat Tamalpais, 8-6.

Menlo (4-1) trailed the Red-Tailed Hawks, 4-3, at halftime then a four-goal fourth was the difference.

Sophie Golub posted a hat trick and two assists while Meg Reinstra made four steals. Annie Bisconti added three goals and finished with eight goals for the day.

Gillian Bressie collected five blocks and two assists.

— Palo Alto Online Sports

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