With freshman Chloe Sales firing a 2-over 37, Castilleja clinched no worse than a tie for first place in the WBAL with a 214-251 dual-match victory over Menlo School at Palo Alto Hills Golf & Country Club on Wednesday. The Gators improved to 8-0 in league (9-0 overall) and can win the title outright by beating Mercy-Burlingame on Monday at Crystal Springs Golf Course before taking on Notre Dame-San Jose on Tuesday to close the regular season.
An outright title will give the Gators the league's automatic berth into the Central Coast Section playoffs.
Sales had two birdies in her round on the front nine while sophomore Caroline Debs had her low round of the season with a 41. Junior Taylor Wilkerson shot 42, and freshman Danielle Mitchell also shot her low score of the year, a 43. Frances Hughes shot a 55 to wrap up the scoring. Caroline Broderick shot the low score for Menlo, a 46.
The big showdown of the week came Monday as Sacred Heart Prep tried to duplicate last season's co-championship finish.
Just like last season, the Gators had lost to Castilleja in the first of two matches. Just like last season, all SHP needed was a victory to force a co-championship. Just like last season, the deciding match was to be played at Sharon Heights Country Club.
Unlike last season, however, SHP couldn't come up with a tying victory. Instead, it was Castilleja playing steady, consistent golf while posting a 226-245 victory as SHP fell to 5-2 in league.
"We had a great match today," said Castilleja coach Jim Miller. "I was very proud of how well the team played against a very solid SHP team, which is led by four seniors."
Castilleja, meanwhile, has no seniors and only one junior among the starters.
The match originally was to be played at Menlo Country Club, but switched after Menlo aerated its greens the previous Monday. In addition to that switch, the teams had to start on the par-5 fifth hole since there was another dual match scheduled on the course.
Castilleja had no problem with the changes as Sales and Wilkerson each had 4-over 40s to share medalist honors. Wilkerson had a pair of birdies while Sales was steady with six pars. Debs parred the final three holes for a 47, freshman Danielle Mitchell also shot 47, which included a birdie on the par-3 second hole. Sophomore Ellie Zales battled through some tough holes to cap the scoring with a 52.
"Castilleja was the superior team today, picking up shots in all three groups," said SHP coach Mark Dowdy. "In the first group, Chloe Sales and Taylor Wilkerson were 12 better than Rachael Henry and Shelby Soltau. In the second group, Caroline Debs and Ellie Zales were two better than Kennedy Shields and Emma Dake. Fourteen shots is just too many to make up, especially when Castilleja's No. 6, freshman Danielle Miller, shot her low round of the season."
Sacred Heart Prep bounced back from Monday's loss as Henry registered a pair of birdies to help fashion an even-par round of 36 to pace the Gators to a 213-285 dual-match victory over host Notre Dame-San Jose at San Jose Muni. The team score was the lowest for the Gators (6-2) this season in WBAL (Foothill Division) action.
Sacred Heart Prep still can qualify for CCS with an at-large berth at the CCS Qualifier at Poplar Creek Golf Course on Oct. 26. That's what the Gators did last season, advancing to CCS along with Castilleja.
In the PAL Bay Division, Ashley Utz fired a season-best 44 to earn medalist honors as Menlo-Atherton cruised to an easy 273-331 victory over Capuchino on Tuesday at Palo Alto Municipal Golf Course.
Sacred Heart Prep's slim chance of overtaking Menlo School in the WBAL Foothill Division race was eliminated on Tuesday as the Gators suffered a 4-3 upset loss to visiting Crystal Springs.
Sacred Heart Prep (2-2, 11-2), which previously had lost only to Menlo, looked in good shape after taking three singles matches behind victories by freshman Caroline Nordman at No. 1, Ceci Marshall at No. 3 and Ruthy Sarwal at No. 4. Sacred Heart, however, suffered a rare sweep in doubles with two matches going three sets.
In San Jose, the Knights (4-0) cruised to an easy 6-1 victory over host Notre Dame-San Jose while winning their 182nd straight league match. Giannina Ong, Kristy Jorgensen, Laura Gradiska and Sarah Schinasi swept the singles to pace Menlo (9-3), which dropped a 5-2 nonleague decision to defending CCS and NorCal champ Saratoga on Wednesday.
In the PAL Bay Division, Menlo-Atherton remained two games back of first-place Burlingame following a 6-1 triumph over host San Mateo on Tuesday. Erin LaPorte, Samantha Andrew and Lindy LaPlante gave the Bears a good start with straight-set victories in singles.
The Bears (7-2, 7-3) on Wednesday registered a 5-2 victory over visiting Hillsdale in a makeup match from a rainout last week.
Defending champion Palo Alto closed out the first half of SCVAL De Anza Division action with a perfect record following a 25-16, 25-13, 25-18 triumph over host Homestead on Tuesday. Senior Maddie Kuppe led the Vikings (6-0, 19-3) with 13 kills. Paly opened second-half play on Thursday night against Mountain View.
The Vikings head into this week ranked No. 56 in the nation, No. 19 in the state overall, No. 13 in the state (for Division I) and No. 3 in the CCS (No. 1 in Division I), according to MaxPreps.com.
In Palo Alto, Gunn had a hard time with Mountain View's Brittany Howard as the Stanford-bound senior registered 21 kills in 25-17, 25-15, 25-22 decision over the Titans (1-5, 11-11) on Tuesday. Julia Maggioncalda had eight kills for Gunn.
In Atherton, Menlo-Atherton remained in control in the PAL Bay Division race with a 25-12, 25-14, 25-18 triumph over visiting Woodside. The Bears (7-0, 14-4) subbed liberally in the easy victory, which was led by sophomore Pauli King's eight kills and three digs. Senior Seini Moimoli added six blocks and three kills.
In a battle between two 2010 state championship finalists, CIF Division II defending champ St. Francis disposed of Division IV runner-up Sacred Heart Prep, 25-21, 25-14, 25-16, in nonleague action Monday night in Mountain View. The Gators fell to 14-5 overall.
Sarah Daschbach had nine kills and 14 digs for SHP with fellow senior Jesse Ebner adding five kills and four blocks. SHP is playing without junior standout Sonia Abuel-Saud, sidelined for the remainder of the season after undergoing surgery for a torn ACL suffered last month.
Ellie Shannon added nine kills, Olivia Bertolacci contributed 13 digs and Cammie Merten dished out 20 assists in the loss. SHP committed 22 hitting errors in 98 attempts.
Girls' water polo
With sisters Elizabeth and Caroline Anderson combining for 12 goals, Gunn swamped host Homestead, 13-4, to remain a game back of first-place Los Altos in the SCVAL De Anza Division race. Elizabeth led the way with seven goals as the Titans improved to 6-1 (8-6 overall).
In Cupertino, senior Skylar Dorosin scored seven goals to power Palo Alto to a 13-4 victory over host Cupertino in SCVAL De Anza Division play. Shannon Scheel added three goals for the Vikings (4-3, 10-7).
In the PAL Bay Division, Menlo-Atherton remained unbeaten in the race as Emily Gran poured in four goals and Charlotte-Marie Popp added three in a15-1 dunking of host Menlo School on Wednesday. The Bears (2-0, 5-7) has assists on 11 of their goals in addition to coming up with 11 steals in the lopsided victory.