Menlo and Sacred Heart Prep keep focus on the road ahead


The Menlo School boys' water polo team, off to its best start in a decade, has two PAL Bay Division matches remaining after beating host Woodside, 19-2, Wednesday.

The Knights (4-0, 14-0) are overwhelming favorites to run the table, with Menlo-Atherton, which enjoyed a bye this week, seemingly the lone team capable of challenging them.

Despite that, Menlo takes nothing for granted and focuses on being at their best in every match. Instead of playing conqueror, the Knights work on themselves without regard to the opponent.

“We're not seeking to be better than the first 15 (or 20, or 30) teams we face. We are striving to be the best team we can be,” Menlo coach Jack Bowen said. “So whether we're 7-7 or 14-0, we're still pursuing this goal. It's actually quite motivating and one of the things that keeps me going with such a group of guys.”

Nine different players scored for Menlo, led by Miller Geschke, Jayden Kunwar and Noah Housenbold each with a hat trick. Sam Untrecht, the Knights' leading scorer, added two goals.

Scott Little, Gary Marston and Connor Enright also scored a pair of goals each as the Knights are off to their best start since going 28-1 in 2006, when the only loss came during the North-South tournament in October.

“Other than that, this is definitely the best start we've had in the history of the program,” Bowen said. “It's all a balance: celebrating what we've achieved while still understanding that we have a bigger goal ahead of us.”

Niko Bhatia and Atreya Iyer also scored for Menlo, and Ben Rosenblatt played in goal for most of the contest.

Giorgio Fatica and Ryan Toulouse each scored for the Wildcats, who face host M-A next Wednesday. The Knights travel to Bellarmine in a nonleague game on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m.

Sacred Heart Prep, which plays in the West Catholic Athletic League, employs a similar strategy. The Gators beat visiting St. Ignatius, 16-2, to remain atop the league standings, sharing the lead with Bellarmine (3-0, 10-1).

Nine different players scored for Sacred Heart Prep (4-0, 7-3), including goalie JC Marco, who played in the field as part of the Gators' Senior Night.

Michael Sonsini led the way with three goals on four shots and a pair of assists. Andrew Churukian, J Clevenger, C.J. Box, Alex Tsotadze and Jack Burlinson each added a pair of goals.

Walker Seymour and Corey Tanis also scored, while four others took shots, including Patrick Tandy, who attempted four.

Sacred Heart Prep goes to Valley Christian for a 3:30 p.m. WCAL game next Wednesday before taking part in the S&R Sport Invitational in Irvine.

Girls water polo

Minhee Chung, Anika Adzich and Madison Lewis each scored three times to lead Castilleja past host Carlmont, 15-5, in a PAL Bay Division contest.

Kenzie Macdonald, Claire Pisani and Serena Rivera-Korver each added two goals for the Gators (3-0, 9-3), who travel to St. Francis for a nonleague match Saturday at 1:30 p.m.

Georgia Lewis recorded 12 saves in goal for Castilleja.

Sacred Heart Prep stayed unbeaten in WCAL play, beating visiting St. Ignatius, 18-6, as Layla Waters netted seven goals and Maddy Johnston had five.

Maddie Pendolino added four goals and Jane Rakow needed to make five saves for SH Prep (4-0, 9-4), which travels to Miramonte for a nonleague game Tuesday at 4 p.m.

— Palo Alto Online Sports

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