The Menlo School boys water polo team enters a big week of competition with the momentum of a season-opening 13-8 victory over visiting Acalanes on Saturday.
The Knights open West Catholic Athletic League play with a game at Serra on Wednesday and then hosts the 23rd annual Scott Roche Tournament on Friday and Saturday.
The early-season tournament is a good indicator of how well teams from all over Northern California and San Diego will do the rest of the way.
The win over Acalanes, a perennial East Bay powerhouse, has Menlo coach Jack Bowen feeling good.
"I'm loving this team," said Bowen, in his 22nd year. "They've worked really hard all summer but also exhibit a real sense of joy and just have a lot of fun together. It was great to start against a strong team like Acalanes to be aware of both how good we are, but, also, the many things we need to work on moving forward."
Menlo responded to an early 3-1 deficit with a 12-5 run to take control of the contest.
Senior co-captain Greg Hilderbrand led the Knights with five goals. Junior Tommy Kiesling followed with four goals as Menlo improved to 7-3 all-time against the Dons.
Juniors Ethan Babel and Michael Fang each recorded three assists to pace Menlo. The graduation of All American goalkeeper Zayd Mahmoud (now playing at UC Irvine) meant junior Fynn Byrne and sophomore Cormac Mulloy each had a chance to defend the net and both had eight saves.
Menlo opens its tournament against Grossmont at noon Friday. The Knights play either Buchanan or Vista at 5 p.m.