The Sacred Heart Prep girls volleyball team is off to its best start since 2012 and coach Allison Magner isn't the least bit surprised.
SHP opened West Bay Athletic League play with a 24-26, 25-6, 25-11, 25-18 victory at Harker on Thursday and improved to 12-1 overall. The Gators started 13-1 in 2012 en route to a Northern California Division IV title and a spot in the state final.
"It's a tribute to the team chemistry," Magner said. "The upperclassmen leadership has been incredible."
That leadership has led to a rapid development from the four sophomores who are significant contributors for the Gators. They've been taken in and welcomed by the older players.
"The younger players have really stepped up when we needed them," Magner said.
Against the Eagles, Mia Radeff (who celebrated her birthday), Isabelle Marco, Ellie Wheeler and Eduarda Sjobom combined for 21 kills, eight service aces, 25 assists and seven blocks.
Senior Millie Muir is a highlight reel onto herself. She's a setter in the back row (22 assists) and a fearsome outside hitter in the front row (11 kills). SHP draws a lot of energy from her.
Muir's serving ability helped turn the match around for the Gators. After Harker rallied to win the first set, Muir served 10 straight points, including four of her six aces, to open the second set. The Gators rode that momentum the rest of the way.
Marco is the other half of the two setter system, adding 25 assists and nine kills in addition to four aces and four blocks.
Junior Tatum Baker led SHP with 14 kills.
Menlo School also opened the league season with a convincing 25-7, 25-23, 25-8 victory over Mercy Burlingame in a match played at Serra High in San Mateo.
Sophomore Cleo Hardin recorded 15 kills to lead the Knights (12-5). Senior Hanna Hoffman distributed 27 assists, had eight kills and 16 digs.
Senior Zoe Gregory recorded 10 assists and four aces. Junior Brooke Dombkowski added eight kills while seniors Hallie MacDonald and Simone Adam each picked up nine digs.
Menlo and SHP both participated in Spikefest to open season and both went 4-1, with the only loss to Mitty (12-0). The Gators lost in the championship semifinals while the Knights lost in the final of pool play.
Sacred Heart Prep meets Mercy on Tuesday in San Mateo while Menlo goes to Notre Dame San Jose.
In the PAL Bay Division, Menlo-Atherton fell to visiting Hillsdale 25-18, 28-26, 25-19 on Thursday.
Summer Prescott and Anna Ryan each had five kills for the Bears (6-7, 2-1), who travel to Aragon for a league match Tuesday. Clara Cronin added 19 digs.
In the SCVAL De Anza Division, Gunn fell to host Los Altos 20-25, 14-25, 25-22, 25-23, 15-13. Hailey Yuan served eight aces for the Titans.
Carolyn Dormady had 25 kills and 17 digs for the Eagles (7-5, 1-1). Shannon McCabe added 23 digs.
Tessa Hunter recorded 13 kills and 13 digs as Mountain View beat host Monta Vista 25-19, 25-23, 26-24 in another SCVAL contest. Millie Kopp added 11 kills. Lydia Weeks had 14 digs.
Boys water polo
Gavin West scored five goals and Sacred Heart Prep opened the South Coast Tournament with a 12-8 victory over Foothill on Thursday.
Harrison Rohlen added three goals and Luke Johnston scored twice for the Gators (3-0), who meet Cathedral Catholic (San Diego) in Friday's quarterfinals at 6 p.m. Jack Vort produced three assists and Griff Price recorded eight saves.
SHP opened an 8-2 lead toward the end of the first half.
In the PAL Bay Division, Andrew Mills scored four goals and Woodside beat Carlmont 16-3.
In the SCVAL De Anza Division, Gunn beat host Los Gatos, 14-13. The Titans play Jesuit at 1 p.m. Friday in the opening round of the St. Francis Invitational.
In other SCVAL action, Los Altos beat Homestead 10-4.
Girls water polo
Gunn rallied with five unanswered goals in the fourth period but could not catch host Los Gatos, dropping a 13-10 SCVAL Bay Division contest to the undefeated Wildcats on Thursday.
The Titans (2-2, 2-2) faced a 12-5 deficit early in the final quarter. Siham Arsalane sparked the rally with a pair of goals. Mia Knezevic and Sawyer McKenna followed with scores and Knezevic's goal with 29 seconds remaining brought Gunn within 12-10.
Kenza Ashworth scored four goals and Jayden Kratt recorded 14 saves for Gunn, which hosts Palo Alto on Tuesday afternoon. Castilleja and Los Gatos are both 4-0 in league play.
In the PAL, Arianna Gerola recorded five blocks and Luc Worden scored three goals and made six steals to help Woodside beat Carlmont.
Defending Central Coast Section champion Harker beat host Sacred Heart Prep 7-0 in a West Bay Athletic League contest Thursday.
The Gators (1-5, 0-1) host Mitty in a nonleague match Monday.
Alanna Lee shot a round of 41 and four of her Gunn teammates were within three strokes in a 214-290 SCVAL Bay Division victory over Los Gatos at Baylands Golf Links Thursday.
Athina Chen came in with a 42, followed by Catherine Chu with a 43, Stephanie Yang and Namya Kasturi both fired a 44. Ashley Siu finished with a 54.
Menlo won its WBAL match with Mercy Burlingame, 226-244, also playing at Baylands Golf Links.
Menlo's Joelle Kim earned medalist honors, shooting a 35. Fellow sophomores Hailey Kim and Chloe Lee each shot a 40. Freshman Rhea Nandal shot a 53, freshman Alexa Muchnick 58 and Claire Raney had a 64.
Senior Brooke Barron was Mercy's top scorer with a 38.
In another WBAL match, Sacred Heart Prep topped Notre Dame-Belmont 251-303 at the Golf Course at Moffett Field.
Mischa Chaikovsky fired a 47 and Gabby Srinivasan added a 50 for the Gators (3-3, 3-2).
In the PAL Ocean Division, Sequoia beat Capuchino 177-189 at Mariner's Point. Gianna Flores led the Ravens with a round of 27.
Flores was followed by Noelle Bargainer (35), Shawnee Schwartz (35), Taryn Szeles (37) and Jenna Swei (43).
Keilyn Scheel scored the only goal and host Palo Alto beat Valley Christian on Thursday.