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Castilleja volleyball gets 2015-16 prep season under way

 
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Castilleja will officially get the 2015-16 high school sports season under way when its volleyball team visits Hillsdale on Tuesday night at 7 p.m. For the Gators, there's much to improve on.

Castilleja struggled to a 1-9 mark in the tough PAL Bay Division last season and finished 13-21 overall, missing the Central Coast Section playoffs.

A new season, however, brings a fresh start for coach Jackie Heler's squad that features just one senior -- Madeline Johnson. Seven juniors and four sophomores make up the roster's core.

The match with Hillsdale is a CCS Sportsmanship match, which doesn't count on either team's record.

On Wednesday, volleyball continues with Gunn opening its season at Monta Vista at 7 p.m. The Titans are coming off a 16-15 season that ended with a loss to top-seeded Menlo-Atherton in the second round of the Central Coast Section Division I playoffs.

In girls water polo, Castilleja gets its season under way at Willow Glen (4 p.m.) as the Gators begin their quest to improve upon last year's solid 19-6 record that included the team's first-ever PAL Bay Division title. Seniors Celia Aldrete, Maddie Macdonald, Heejung Chung and Isabelle Arnheim return.

On Thursday, the Sacred Heart Prep girls will begin defense of their 2014 CCS Division II title by hosting Leland at 6 p.m. The Gators have won an unprecedented eight straight section crowns.

SHP will open its season without junior standout Maddy Johnston, who is playing for the USA Cadet Women's National Team at the UANA Youth Pan American Championship in Kingston, Jamaica.

Also playing for the U.S. is Gunn sophomore goalie Zoe Banks. She'll miss the Titans' season-opening tournament at home this Friday and Saturday.

— Palo Alto Online Sports

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