The Bears claw their way into volleyball semifinals


Jacqueline DiSanto and Eliza Grover, who shared the PAL Bay Division MVP award, each recorded 15 kills to help the Menlo-Atherton High girls' volleyball team beat visiting Tracy, 25-10, 25-22, 25-13, Saturday night to reach the Northern California Division I semifinals.

Fellow senior Kiana Sales added another nine kills for the Bears (28-5), who have won 27 of their past 28 matches and are two matches away from earning a spot in the state finals for the second straight year.

M-A, the top seed, hosts fifth-seeded Turlock (28-11) on Tuesday at 7 p.m. The Bulldogs, who beat host Redwood, and Bears have nine common opponents.

Turlock is 6-6 against Oak Ridge, the No. 2 seed in Division I, St. Francis, Presentation, Tracy, St. Ignatius, Harker, Notre Dame-Belmont, Gregori and Palo Alto. M-A is 7-3 against the same group.

They've both beaten and lost to the same opponents, with the exception of Oak Ridge, which lost a tournament game to the Bears and beat the Bulldogs in two of their three meetings.

Turlock lost to Notre Dame-Belmont in the Tiger Cup and M-A beat the Tigers there, before falling to them in the first round of the CCS Open Division.

Against Tracy, the Bears achieved a team hitting percentage of .357 on 43 kills, 8 errors and 98 total attacks. Sales hit .444, Grover hit .424 and DiSanto hit .355.

Serving was, again, a strength for the Bears, who made one service error in 69 total serves, a successful rate of .986 percent that resulted in 42 points.

DiSanto, who had two aces, recorded 15 points on her 19 errorless serves. Sales and Kirby Knapp, who had 38 assists, combined for another 15 points on 24 errorless serves.

Erica Fischer led M-A with 15 digs and DiSanto added 1l as the Bears handled 48 total digs perfectly and made three receiving errors out of a total of 38.

No. 3 Monte Vista-Danville and Oak Ridge meet in Tuesday's other semifinal in El Dorado Hills. The winners play next Saturday with a berth in the state final at stake.

— Palo Alto Online Sports

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