For Menlo-Atherton senior Emma Spindt, it’s more about getting a chance to play with her friends one last time before going off to college than it is about reaching another state title match.
A four-week, eight-match girls volleyball season is not the best solution, but given the alternative, Spindt said you do the best you can under the circumstances.
Spindt, who is headed to Division I UC Irvine in the fall, recorded nine service aces and six kills to help the Bears beat visiting Woodside in three sets Thursday night in a Peninsula Athletic League contest.
M-A also won Wednesday’s match at Woodside.
M-A recorded more aces than kills in its victory, which merely points to a discrepancy between programs that can exist in such an odd moment of time.
The Bears produced a varsity roster of 23, including 10 seniors, while Woodside showed up to compete with eight players, apparently a result of mismanaging testing procedures or some kind of miscommunication: Things that happen during uncertain times.
Both coaches, M-A’s Bryant Tran and Woodside’s Denny Falls, have extensive volleyball experience and both are in their first year at the respective schools.
Both have had to make major adjustments and both called the night a success.
“The whole season, we know, we’d have to be flexible,” said Tran, who also coaches volleyball at Menlo College. “Everybody plays for club teams so all I asked was for them to make a commitment, whether that be one or two days a week or more.”
Tran designed a 16-player roster for each match, one for Wednesdays and one for Thursdays. He also said the team’s 30 aces, as opposed to the team total of 28 kills, was by design.
“We’ve introduced a whole new serving system,” Tran said. “We’re serving completely different to open spaces.”
Spindt, whose 18U club season is finished, said serving has made a difference.
“We have been practicing a lot on serving and it has helped us quite a bit,” she said.
M-A’s roster is made of up of about half returning varsity players. Woodside has no one returning and there were no tryouts.
“We just used last year’s rosters,” Falls said. “We have four seniors on the team but only two could play tonight. We’re doing a little rebuilding. We hung in there.”
The Wildcats came to play though and had their moments. Michaela Velleno had five kills and two blocks. Paige Patton had three kills and an ace. Georgia Brook recorded two aces.
The Bears had 13 players record a kill or block. Miller Olson matched Spindt with six kills and added four aces. Becca Schulman contributed six aces; Elise Brahana added five.
“I think it’s cool to play back-to-back,” Spindt said. “It’s really about hanging out with a ton of seniors, being together and having fun.”
M-A also has matches against Sequoia, Carlmont and Half Moon Bay coming up in the abbreviated season.
Aidan Braccia scored 26 points, which included five 3-pointers, and Harrison Carrington added 19 as Sacred Heart Prep beat host Menlo, 69-49, in the WBAL.
Hunter Riley scored 18 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for Menlo (1-4, 1-3), while Lucas Vogel added 14 points.
Priory topped visiting Harker, 77-46, with Tayo Sobemehin and David Ajanaku-Makun each scoring 12 points.
Priory (6-1, 4-0) had 13 different players score in the game, including nine points each from Ashton Axe and Rostand Olama Abanda.
Sacred Heart Prep (4-1, 4-0) plays at Harker and Priory travels to Menlo for league games Wednesday.
Megan Tinsley produced a goal and assist and Sacred Heart Prep beat Mercy Burlingame, 4-0, in a West Bay Athletic League contest Thursday.
Sydney Adas, Juliana Rosen and Fiona Perkocha also scored for the Gators (2-1), who host undefeated Notre Dame Belmont on Saturday afternoon.
NDB beat host Priory, 4-0, in another WBAL contest.
Tor Micaelian scored three goals and added an assist, helping Menlo beat The King’s Academy, 6-1, in a WBAL match Thursday.
Micaelian gave Menlo an early lead when he scored off a rebound from Chris Corcoran. Micaelian added two more goals, with assists from seniors Ilan Listgarten and Kevin Sandoval, respectively.
Junior Daniel Louie closed the first half with a goal, on a pass from Jonah Blaydes-Greenberg.
In the second half, Corcoran scored off Micaelian's corner kick and juniors Cisco Argueta scored with an assist from Amari Makasini.
Girls water polo
Siham Araslane scored six goals, added three assists and recorded two steals to help Gunn beat visiting Harker, 13-6, in a SCVAL match Thursday.
Kate Mallery added three goals, three assists and earned four ejections. Molly Wilkinson had a goal and three assists for the Titans (5-0, 4-0), who travel to Los Gatos for an important match Saturday.
Syd Lowell scored four goals to help Castilleja beat visiting Homestead, 14-4, in another SCVAL match.
Elsa McElhinney, Anjali Kambham, Talula Seale and Janet Meng each scored twice. Abena Ofori-Nyako recorded five saves for the Gators (4-1, 3-1).
Boys water polo
Gunn remained unbeaten in SCVAL play following a 19-7 win over visiting Wilcox on Thursday.
Cole Vale lead Gunn with four goals. Blake Snyder and Wolfgang Edholm each added three.
Menlo topped visiting Pinewood, 6-1, in West Bay Athletic League play Thursday.
The Knights (3-0) got singles wins from four juniors: Soren Sutaria, Alex Volgin, Rishi Jain and Nik Khuntia.
Junior Nishan Rajavasireddy and sophomore Will Perez won at No. 1 singles, and sophomore Nikhil Agarwal teamed with freshman Nikhil Kothari for a win.
Menlo plays The King's Academy on Tuesday.
Luke Jensen won at No. 1 singles and the No. 1 doubles team of Maksim Jukic and Ryley Ross also won as Menlo-Atherton downed visiting Burlingame, 5-2, Thursday in a PAL match.
Gunn dropped a 6-1 SCVAL decision to Monta Vista. The No. 2 doubles team of Adam Kahn and Devan Perkash won for the Titans.
Rowen Barnes threw a four-hitter and Menlo-Atherton beat visiting El Camino, 9-0, in a PAL Ocean Division game Thursday.
Barnes struck out three and walked one, needing 73 pitches to complete the game.
Tommy Eisenstat collected two hits and drove in four runs for the Bears (8-5, 4-0), who host Sacred Heart Prep on Saturday.
John Quinlan also drove in a run and Max Coupe added two hits.
Lynbrook rallied for three runs in the bottom of the seventh to edge Gunn, 6-5, in a SCVAL game Thursday.
The Titans (2-4) held a 4-0 lead going into the bottom of the fourth. Taehwan Jung and Eugene Kim each drove in two runs for Gunn. Ryan Barahona had two hits.
Freshman Eric Yun shot a 37 to earn medalist honors and Menlo beat Sacred Heart Prep, 195-225, at Baylands Golf Links in a WBAL match Thursday.
Senior Jeremy Yun and junior Marcus Ying each finished with a 38. Troy Demmon came in with a 40, Ryan Shaefer with a 42, and Saaz Ahuja with a 43.
Thomas Molumphy led Sacred Heart Prep with a 38.
Gunn sophomore Allison Lee, with teammate Francesca Corbett, beat a team from Mexico, 21-16, 21-16, in the first round of the Pan Am Individual Championships in Guatemala City on Thursday.
Lee and Corbett are scheduled to play the Colombia team of Juliana Giraldo and Maria Julieth Perez Tangarife on Friday at 3 p.m. (PDT).