It's bad enough that Palo Alto High girls' volleyball opponents have to put up with 6-foot-2 junior middle Amelia Gibbs, one of the top hitters, well, in the Central Coast Section. Try dealing with her and 6-foot-1 freshman outside Amelia Vugrincic at the same time.
Gibbs had 14 kills and sophomore outside Sophia Krugler added another 10 as Palo Alto beat visiting Mountain View, 25-13, 23-25, 25-17, 25-18, on Thursday night in a Santa Clara Valley Athletic League De Anza Division match and knocking the Spartans out of a share for first place.
"The team is coming along," Paly coach Benjamin Saetang said. "They're understanding the system more and more. Even better, this team cares; they're compassionate toward each other."
Saetang likes the way Gibbs has seized her opportunity as one of the team leaders and the way she continually works on her game.
"Percentage-wise she's the best hitter in the league," Saetang said. "And she's till trying to see things. She's on top of her game and understanding how her body moves in the air. She doesn't always have to hit but good players will make adjustments in the air and that's blocking too."
Vugrincic doesn't get the same kind of playing time as her elder teammate but Saetang thinks she can be a special player.
"I want her to play all the way around," he said. "She knows the game and she'll be a better hitter."
Gibbs was held to a season hitting percentage of .290 against the Spartans, who hit .133 as a team. Her season hitting average fell to .485 as a result.
Krugler has also been a nice addition for the Vikings. She's recorded at least nine kills in each of her past four matches and reached double figures in five of eight matches, including a season-high of 30 in a five-set victory over Menlo School, who won the Division IV state title two years ago.
Sophomore Kylie Mies and freshman Hillary Cheung continue to share setting duties for the Vikings (6-2, 3-0), combining for 41 assists and 14 digs. Kimi Lillios added 11 digs.
Palo Alto plays in the Chris Chandler Invitational on Saturday, in the same pool with Peninsula Athletic League Bay Division leader Menlo-Atherton. The Vikings meet The King's Academy and M-A plays Mills in the opening round.
The Bears beat visiting Hillsdale, 25-19, 25-19, 25-15, and knocked the Knights out of a share of first in the PAL. M-A (5-1, 3-0) also beat the Vikings in the first game of the season.
Menlo-Atherton ended Hillsdale's seven-game winning streak as senior right side hitter Alicia Letvin was nearly unstoppable in recording 13 kills with a .600 hitting percentage.
Sophomore Emma Spindt added three aces and 12 kills on a .571 hitting percentage with no errors. Juniors Natalie Grover and Marit Hoyem chimed in with nine kills and five kills respectively, and Grover added three aces and 14 digs. Senior Erica Fischer ruled the back row with 17 digs.
The first set was close until Letvin and Spindt went to work and the Bears pulled away to finish 25-19. Junior setter Mariah Grover skillfully managed the Bear offense, tallying 40 assists, two kills and two aces.
Woodside stayed in the title chase following a 26-24, 25-21, 25-21 victory over San Mateo. Elena Campbell led the Wildcats (8-8, 2-1) with 12 kills. Senior McKenna Brown added nine kills on a .692 hitting percentage.
Woodside recorded nine service aces with Sarah Strus leading way, nailing four of them. Senior Madeline Mendes added 14 digs and Katia Kishinsky, half the setting duo with Molly Buddie, added 10.
Woodside opens play in the Chris Chandler Invitational against Aptos and could get a rematch with Sacred Heart Prep, which beat the Wildcats in the season opener.
In the West Bay Athletic League Skyline Division, host Castilleja dropped a 25-16, 25-17, 21-25, 25-16 decision to visiting Crystal Springs Uplands.
The Gators (5-3, 2-1) play at Priory at 5:15 p.m. Tuesday.
Sarah Ranzetta recorded 10 kills while Eveliena Pasmooij added seven to go with 22 digs. Suzzy Wang led the defense with 33 digs.
Lexi Stull delivered six kills and 17 digs and Rebecca Mak had 11 digs.
In a nonleague match, Sacred Heart Prep fell to host Presentation, 25-18, 25-21, 25-22. The Gators (5-8) received 30 assists and eight digs from Millie Muir and 12 digs from Evelyn Sutton.
SHP takes on June Jordan in the opening round of the Chris Chandler Invite.
A day after beating Menlo-Atherton, Sacred Heart Prep went on the road and swept Mitty, 7-0, in a nonleague match Thursday.
The third doubles team of Skylar Schuman and Ella Sheehan recorded a 6-4, 6-0 victory to highlight the day. The Gators (3-2) recorded 6-0 scores in five of the 14 sets played and 6-1 scores in four others.
SH Prep, winners of three straight, travels to Palo Alto for a nonleague match with the Vikings at 4 p.m. Monday.