M-A, Menlo in Open Division; Paly, SHP earn No. 1 seeds


PAL Bay Division champion Menlo-Atherton earned the No. 3 seed in the first-ever Open Division of the Central Coast Section girls volleyball championships and meets No. 6 Notre Dame-Belmont, WBAL Foothill Division champs, in the first round on Saturday at Santa Clara High. First serve is slated for 7:30 p.m.

Menlo School, which finished in a second-place tie in the WBAL, was seeded eighth and meets No. 1 Mitty in a match just preceding M-A and the Tigers.

Jacqueline DiSanto
No. 2 St. Ignatius, No. 4 St. Francis, No. 5 Sacred Heart Cathedral and No. 7 San Benito are also in the open bracket.

Palo Alto in Division I and Sacred Heart Prep in Division IV each earned a top seed and a first-round bye.

Gunn was seeded sixth and Woodside seeded eighth in the 16-team Division III bracket. Castilleja is seeded sixth in Division V.

The Bears (26-4) enter the CCS tournament on a 25-match winning streak, which includes a win over Notre Dame-Belmont in the title match of the Tiger Cup Invitational last Saturday.

M-A, led by senior outside hitter Jacqueline DiSanto, senior middle blocker Eliza Grover and senior setter Kirby Knapp, is 3-1 against teams competing in the Open Division and 19-2 against teams who qualified for the CCS tournament.

Four of the first five games involving the Bears were decided in five sets, with three of them losses. M-A also lost, in four sets, to Mater Dei, ranked first in the nation at one point during the season. The Bears are ranked 85th nationally and 18th in California by maxpreps.

M-A, the state runner-up in Division II a year ago, hits .250 as a team, with Alicia Letvin (84 kills) leading the way at .376. Grover (349) hits .362 and Marit Hoyem (105 kills) at .356. DiSanto, headed to Michigan on a volleyball scholarship, averages 3.7 kills, 4.1 digs and 0.65 aces per set.

In addition to Notre Dame-Belmont, the Bears also beat Menlo and St. Francis. They lost to St. Ignatius.

The Knights (20-7) opened the year winning four of five. They reached both the CCS and NorCal final last year, each time losing to Notre Dame-Belmont.

Menlo is 1-4 against teams in the Open Division and has won 11 of its last 14 matches. Ashley Dreyer leads the team with 182 kills, though four others have at least 143: Sianna Houghton (163), Mia Vandermeer (154), Selina Xu (146) and Grace King (143). Vandermeer is the team leader with a hitting percentage of .394 and 40 blocks.

Jessica Houghton averages 14.7 digs a match and younger sister Sianna averages 9.8. Xu and Kristin Sellers share setting duties, with Xu averaging 5.4 assists a set and Sellers 5.1.

The SCVAL De Anza champion Vikings (21-9) will meet the winner of Wednesday's match between No. 8 Alisal and No. 9 Cupertino on Saturday at Gunn High at 7 p.m.

Monta Vista is the second seed and Carlmont is seeded third in the division.

Junior Chelsea Fan averages 3.5 kills and 3.1 digs per set. Fiona Green averages 9.7 and Susanna Limb average 8.9 digs per match.

Cassandra Fong takes care of the majority of the setting duties, averaging 5.4 assists per set. Green and Isabella Marcus each over 100 kills on the season. Marcus also has 46 blocks.

The Vikings are 7-2 against teams in Division I, including Alisal at Spikefest II. They are 1-3 against Open Division teams.

Sacred Heart Prep (22-10) will host the winner of Wednesday night's match between No. 8 Terra Nova (11-13) and host King City (20-7) on Saturday at 7 p.m.

The Gators lost three of their last four, though they won 10 of their previous 12.

Seniors Natalie Zimits and Sammy Phillips, and junior Cate Desler form the foundation of SH Prep's attack. Zimits (242 kills) hits .405, Phillips (172) hits .345 and Desler (337) hits .347.

Sophomores Ally Polverari and Alexa Bartlett, and freshman Elena Radeff are also offensive threats.

Desler leads the Gators with 52 aces and junior Caroline Caruso averages 7.8 digs a match. Junior Haley Martella averages 5.3 assists per set, with Alexa Thomson averaging 3.7.

The Titans (16-13), who finished in a first-place tie with Saratoga in the SCVAL El Camino Division played one of the tougher schedules in the section. They played three teams competing in the Open Division and three games against top-seeded teams.

Gunn hosts a first-round match against No. 11 Christopher (15-17). The Titans are 8-1 at home.

Seniors Tara Tracy and Amy Wang lead the Titans with 204 and 201 kills, respectively, and sophomore Monica Crichton (104 kills) hits at a .335 clip and ha 21 blocks. Wang also has 59 aces and averages 11.4 digs a match.

Senior Emma Munch averages a team best 14.3 digs per game. Seniors Iris Huang (4.5 per set) and Lynette Xu (4.8) share setting duties.

PAL El Camino Division champion Woodside (23-11) has won 10 of its last 11 matches. The Wildcats open against No. 9 Mountain View (19-15) at home Wednesday at 7 p.m.

Senior Pascale Tregon leads Woodside with 245 kills, senior Claire Cicchetti hits .386, junior Jennifer Buja has 49 aces, Jesse Crowley has 74 blocks and Monica Klopp averages 8.0 digs a match.

Castilleja (19-13) ended the regular season on a five-match winning streak and won 14 of its last 20, turning things around after losing its first four matches and seven of its first nine.

Seniors Gwen Cusing, Elle Kass and Ashley Hu lead the Gators and sophomore Alexis Stull has been a big contributor.

Castilleja plays at No. 3 St. Francis-Watsonville (13-15) on Saturday at 7 p.m.

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