Top field awaits local water polo trio in MacDonald Invitational


Three local girls water polo teams hope they'll be better than their seeds for the 21st annual Amanda K. MacDonald Invitational this weekend at Menlo School and Menlo-Atherton High.

Castilleja is seeded No. 6, Menlo-Atherton is No. 13 and Menlo School is No. 15 in the 16-team event that kicks off Friday.

The event features some of the top teams in Northern California, including three-time defending Central Coast Section Division I champion St. Francis and 2014 Division II runner-up Soquel.

The top teams will finish up at Menlo on Saturday with the third-place game at 3:30 p.m. and the championship game at 4:35 p.m.

The tournament is dedicated to the memory of Amanda K. MacDonald, a former Menlo School student ('93) who was captain of both the water polo and soccer teams.

Menlo (6-2) will host No. 2 Acalanes on Friday at noon with Castilleja (4-2) taking on No. 11 Presentation in the Menlo pool at 2:10 p.m. At M-A, the Bears will host No. 4 Drake at noon.

Of the three local entrants, M-A last won in 2009 and Menlo took the 2004 title. Castilleja has yet to win the invitational, which began in 1995.

Castilleja tuned up for the weekend with a 9-4 win over visiting Half Moon Bay on Wednesday. The defending PAL Bay Division champion Gators for four goals from Celia Aldrete and nine saves in goal by Maddie Macdonald. Serena Rivera-Korver added a pair of goals as Castilleja improved to 2-0 in the PAL.

Menlo-Atherton got five goals from Annabelle Paris in a 15-1 dunking of visiting Hillsdale on Wednesday in PAL Bay Division action. The Bears jumped out to an 8-0 halftime lead.

In other girls action, Sacred Heart Prep opene defense of its West Catholic Athletic League title with a 15-2 romp over visiting Mitty. The Gators (1-0, 5-2) got four goals from juniors Maddy Johnston and Maddie Pendolino while senior Malaika Koshy and junior Layla Waters each tallied two goals. First-year varsity goalies Nellie McAdams and Jane Rakow combined for nine saves for SHP, which will compete in the California Capital Classic this weekend in Sacramento.

Boys water polo

Four-time defending CCS Division II champion Sacred Heart Prep opened defense of its WCAL crown with a 15-4 dunking of host Mitty. The Gators (1-0, 2-1) were led by Alex Tsotadze's three goals. Sophomore Corey Tanis scored two goals as did freshmen Andrew Churukian and Larsen Weigle while helping pace the Gators to a 12-1 halftime lead.

In the PAL Bay Division, defending champ Menlo-Atherton rolled to a 17-7 victory over visiting Mills. Christian Huhn, Mostyn Fero, Jorge Pont and Spencer Gran all tallied three goals for the Bears (1-0, 8-4) with Nik Caryotakis adding two.

At Castilleja, Menlo School moved to 2-0 in the PAL (5-2 overall) following a 19-5 win over Half Moon Bay. Senior Chris Xi led the Knights with five goals with Ben Wagner and Sam Untrecht adding four apiece.

Menlo will join SHP in the St. Francis Acalanes Varsity Invitational this weekend. SHP will open Friday against Palo Alto at St. Francis High at 3 p.m., with Menlo taking on De La Salle at Acalanes High at 2 p.m. The top teams in the 32-team tourney will advance Saturday to Acalanes.

— Palo Alto Online Sports

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