Things are back to normal as the girls' tennis season unfolds, with the Central Coast Section playoffs returning to the four singles, three doubles format this postseason.
Menlo School and Palo Alto also have returned to their winning ways, not that either team was lacking that in recent years.
The Knights opened their dual-match season on Wednesday with a 6-1 nonleague victory over Burlingame while the Vikings did the same with a 6-1 triumph over visiting Aragon.
Both Menlo (4-1) and Palo Alto (4-0) were coming off tournament performances on the weekend. The Knights finished fifth at the California Classic in the Fresno area after dropping a 4-3 decision to Buchanan when some lineup changes went array. The Vikings wound up winning the Santa Catalina Invitational, a round-robin affair in Monterey.
Paly managed its title without No. 1 singles player Aashli Budhiraja. She was back in the lineup Wednesday and produced a 6-3, 7-5 win over Kaede Ishikawa to get things rolling.
Freshman Avanika Narayan, who won all her matches at No. 1 singles in Budhiraja's absence during the week, couldn't keep up that success and suffered a 2-6, 7-5, 11-9 setback to Aragon's Vicki Sun.
Felicia Wang and Julianne Le won at No. 3 and 4 singles while the doubles tandems of Sam DeWess-Caroline Nore, Hollie Kool-Kelsey Wang and Madeline Lee-Sarah Tayeri all won in straight sets.
In Atherton, Menlo bounced back from its near-perfect weekend with a solid triumph over Burlingame to begin a stretch of eight straight home matches.
What is significant about that is Menlo is closing in on two milestones, both of which should be achieved at home.
If the Knights go unbeaten during that stretch, head coach Bill Shine will earn his 400th dual-match win with the Menlo. Shine is 394-73 in his 18th season.
The Knights also are two wins away from reaching 200 straight league victories. Menlo has won 198 consecutive league dual matches since 1994 and can reach 200 by beating vising Crystal Springs on Oct. 1 and then Harker on Oct. 3, the final match of the homestand.
Against Burlingame, Menlo swept the singles behind Yao, senior Christine Eliazo, sophomore Alice Yao and junior Helena Ong.
In other tennis action Wednesday, Sacred Heart Prep dropped a tough 4-3 nonleague decision to host Carlmont. Kate Ackley won at No. 4 singles, 6-1, 6-4, for the Gators' only win there. The No. 2 doubles team of Allison Harman-Maddy Jones and the No. 3 tandem of Caroline Parsons-Lauren Trihy also won.
The Menlo-Atherton boys and girls opened their league seasons with solid efforts at the first Peninsula Athletic League meet, held on a 2.4-mile course at Westmoor High in Daly City.
The M-A girls won the team title in a tiebreaker after tying with Half Moon Bay, with 29 points each. The victory was decided by the No. 6 runner for each school. That turned out to be freshman Faith Dunn, who finished 19th for the Bears in 16:37. She finished ahead of Half Moon Bay's No. 6, who was 26th.
M-A was led by the 1-2-4 finish by sophomore Madeleine Baier (15:16), senior Taylor Fortnam (15:29) and senior Annika Roise (15:36). Sophomore Cat DuPuy was 10th (16:13) and sophomore Elizabeth Muenzen took 13th (16:21). Half Moon Bay went 3-5-6-7-8 with its top five.
Fortnam's finish also was crucial as she clocked the same time as third-place finisher Carmen Contreras of HMB, but beat Contreras to the finish line. Otherwise, the Cougars would have won.
In the boys' varsity race, Menlo-Atherton (86 points) finished third behind Carlmont (24) and Half Moon Bay (55). The Bears were led by senior Zach Plante, whose third-place finish of 12:41 produced the second-fastest time ever by an M-A runner on that course. Junior Adam Scandlyn was 10th overall in 13:09.
Menlo-Atherton also won the Open boys, Open girls, girls' and boys' frosh-soph team titles plus the JV boys' crown.
Gunn remained unbeaten in the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League with a 198-248 victory over Lynbrook at Palo Alto Municipal on Wednesday. Senior Jayshree Sarathy led the Titans (3-0) with a 1-under 33 on the shortened layout. Junior Anna Zhou added a 39 after winning medalist honors Monday with a 35.
Boys water polo
Menlo School maintained its one-game lead over rival Menlo-Atherton in the early going of the PAL Bay Division season with a 19-7 dunking of visiting Burlingame.
Nick Bisconti led the offense with six goals with Chris Xi adding five. Seven players scored for the Knights (2-0) and eight players had assists, while Andreas Katsis had five steals. Senior goalie John Wilson played just one quarter and had eight saves, with Spencer Witte finishing up with seven.
Menlo will host St. Francis on Friday in a good early season test at 6 p.m. The teams split their two matches against each other last year, both decisions decided by one goal.
Also in Atherton, host Menlo-Atherton (1-1) swamped visiting Carlmont, 23-1, as Evan McClelland tossed in five goals. Sophomore Mostyn Fero and Demitri Herr each tallied four times and John Knox added three goals.
Girls water polo
New head coach Paul Felton is off to a perfect start at Menlo-Atherton following his team's 17-7 swamping of visiting Carlmont on Wednesday in PAL Bay Division action.
Jessica Heilman led the Bears (2-0) with seven goals and now has 15 on the season.
Elsewhere in the Bay Division, Alex Zafran tallied six goals with teammates Anna Yu and Celia Aldrete adding three each as Castilleja (1-1) posted a 14-5 win over host Burlingame.
In the PAL Ocean Division, host Menlo School (2-0) got 17 saves from senior goalie Donya Dehnad in a 12-7 triumph over visiting Mercy-Burlingame. It was the Knights' official season opener after earning a forfeit win over Capuchino last week.
Menlo took a 7-3 halftime lead and, ultimately, got goals from eight players. Kate Huneke, Audrey Flower, Anna Miller and Chloe Ebrahimian each had a pair of goals for the Knights.
"The girls played really well," Menlo first-year coach Matt Jones said. "We have a lot to improve on but they used the skill sets that we have been working on in practice in the game and played hard which is all I can expect from them."