Gunn sweeps girls-boys water polo doubleheader from Paly


The matches were played at Gunn, though Palo Alto served as home team. The Titans made themselves at home, sweeping a boys-girls SCVAL water polo doubleheader Tuesday. The Gunn boys won their afternoon match, 8-4, and the girl followed suit with a 5-2 win in the evening.

Paly is playing all its home water polo and volleyball matches at Gunn, while new gymnasiums (the pool is encompassed by the two gyms) are under construction.

Patrick Zhao. Photo by Tone Lee.
The Gunn boys (3-0, 4-4) set the early tone in a battle of league unbeatens.

“The game did not go as planned,” Palo Alto captain Jared Stanley said. “We need to work on scoring a higher percentage on our 6-on-5s and work more as a team. We showed up as a bunch of individuals and did not play well as a team.”

Gunn senior Quinn Hamilton scored first, though the Vikings (2-1, 4-4) kept things close and Gunn managed a 4-3 halftime advantage.

Stanley was ejected early in the third period, and it proved to be huge turning point as the Titans took advantage to extend their lead.

“I expect us to grow a lot more and have a stronger start to our games,” Gunn captain Patrick Zhao said. “We could have improved on utilizing our teammates to set ourselves up for easier goals. Also, we need to put teams away when we have the opportunities. Our expectation is to take home the CCS title at the end of the season.”

Gunn, which hosts Los Gatos on Thursday at 6:45 p.m., received contributions on offense from Young Lee, Jack Mallery, Zhao and Hamilton.

Stanley, Tommy Smale and Jack Anderson scored for Palo Alto, which travels to Los Altos on Thursday.

Girls water polo

Gunn, coming off a 3-1 showing at the Acalanes tournament over the weekend, remained undefeated in league play in the defensive battle.

The Vikings (1-2, 4-7) won two of three Saturday to finish second at the Aptos tournament.

“I am so incredibly proud with how my team played,” Paly team captain Joanna Falla said. “We definitely struggled to develop communication and overall team chemistry after losing great seniors, but we really stepped it up.”

The game started out fast, with a quick goal from Gunn senior Mikaela Wayne. The Titans (3-0, 5-1) continued to play well on offense, taking a 3-0 lead before the Vikings answered with a goal of their own in the second quarter.

By the end of the second quarter, the Vikings were trailing the Titans, 4-1, and Gunn transitioned to more defensive-orientated play. They only allowed the Vikings to score one more point for the rest of the game.

Titans junior goalie Zoe Banks made a couple of huge plays down the stretch, accumulating just under 10 blocks.

Banks was a member of the United State's U17 women’s national water polo team. Over summer, she traveled with the team to play in the Pan American Games and brought home the gold.

“I wouldn't say there are any specific areas in which we need to improve, as long as we keep learning in practice and in games,” Banks said. “We went into the game with really positive attitudes and made sure to play our game the whole time, no matter what was happening. We came out strong and got the momentum going; it's really hard to stop us once we get going like we did tonight.”

Both teams were limited to a single goal in the second half.

“We won the game by keeping our head on a swivel and getting out early on the counter,” senior Sylvia Illouz said. “We just want to win one game at a time, one quarter at a time.”

Mikaela Wayne, Illouz, and Kara Jacobsen scored for Gunn. Sabrina Hall and Talia Stanley each had a goal for Paly.

Gunn plays Los Gatos at home at 3:30 p.m. Thursday while Paly plays at Los Altos on Thursday.

Girls volleyball

Cate Desler recorded 13 kills but it wasn't enough as Sacred Heart Prep dropped a 25-15, 25-19, 25-21 decision to visiting St. Ignatius on Tuesday night.

Natalie Zimits added 9 kills and 3 blocks and libero Caroline Caruso had 13 digs.

The Gators (7-3) host Cupertino at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday.

In PAL action, Menlo-Atherton (1-0, 2-4) topped host Half Moon Bay, 25-22, 25-20, 25-19, Tuesday as Eliza Grover recorded 11 kills, 10 digs and a hitting percentage of .348. Jacqueline DiSanto had 11 kills, three aces and 18 digs.

Senior Casey Olsen recorded 31 assists and had nine digs as the Bears were without Kirby Knapp. Kianan Sales and Elise Carlomagno combined for another 22 digs.

M-A hosts Aragon in an important match Thursday at 6:15 p.m.

Castilleja dropped a 25-21, 25-18, 25-23 home decision to Mercy Burlingame in its WBAL opener.

Gwen Cusing recorded five kills and eight digs while Elle Kass passed a 2.5 in serve receive in addition to 16 digs. Ashley Hu had eight kills and 10 digs.

The Gators (0-1, 3-8) hosts Priory (0-1, 1-3) on Thursday at 5:45 p.m.

Girls tennis

Palo Alto opened SCVAL play with a 7-0 victory over host Milpitas on Tuesday.

The Vikings (1-0, 3-1) host Mountain View at 3:30 p.m. Thursday.

The Paly Invitational begins Friday at 10 a.m., which also includes Castilleja.

Paly's No. 1 doubles team of Meredith Cummings and Anuva Banwasi and the No. 3 team of Brin Elliott and Mayerly Short each recorded 6-0, 6-0 victories.

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