Two golf showdowns took place on a warm Wednesday afternoon to all but decide two league races involving four of the top girls teams in the Central Coast Section. Castilleja had a shot and missed while Gunn, perhaps appropriately, was on target.
While Menlo School's upending of Castilleja in the West Bay Athletic League delayed a celebration, Gunn's toppling of Palo Alto in the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League moved the Titans to within a victory of a co-title.
In the WBAL, Castilleja saw its perfect season come to an end in a 200-207 dual-match lost to Menlo. The Gators (7-1), thanks to Sacred Heart Prep's upset of second-place Harker on Tuesday, could have wrapped up a second straight league crown by beating the Knights at the hilly Palo Alto Hills Golf & Country Club.
Any celebration, however, now has to wait until next week when Castilleja hosts Harker (5-3) on Wednesday and Sacred Heart Prep (5-3) on Thursday. The Gators need to win either match to claim the WBAL title.
Menlo (5-3) threw a monkey wrench into Castilleja's plans as sophomore Sophie Siminoff set the tone for the Knights by recording birdies on the first three holes. She faltered on the seventh hole with a double-bogey to finish with a 1-over 37. Siminoff shared medalist honors with Castilleja freshman Niav Layton, who also posted a 37.
Menlo senior Lauren Yang chipped in on the third hole for a birdie while posting a 39 and teammate Claire Wilson was steady as ever while also posting a 39. Other contributing scores for Menlo were Jessie Rong (42), Nicole Henderson (43) and Erin Broderick (49).
Castilleja'ss other scores were Divya Tadimeti's 39, a 40 by fellow freshman Alyssa Sales, Anika Tse's 45, a 46 by Risa Yang 46 and Paris Wilkerson's 48.
While Castilleja is still favored to wrap up the league title and earn the WBAL's automatic berth into the CCS playoffs, Menlo's win on Wednesday had to provide some momentum into the postseason.
"Definitely," said Menlo coach Ron Driscoll. "We had a very slow start (to the season). Seniors had too much on their minds. Life is just more complicated and serious as seniors. We started relaxing and playing better a couple of matches ago. Today, Lauren Yang and Claire Wilson played their best matches of the year, more in line of what they are capable of.
"I expected to win, because the girls seemed ready and they actually thought they could win. They were talking with confidence on the ride to the course."
While Menlo is out of title contention, the Knights still have a shot at winning the league tournament and earning an at-large berth into the CCS tourney.
While Menlo was delaying Castilleja's celebration, Gunn moved a step closer to clinching the SCVAL crown with a solid 197-200 win over Palo Alto in San Jose.
Lydia Tsai pace the Titans (10-1-1) with a 3-under 33 with six pars and three birdies -- on the par-5 second, par-3 fifth and par-5 ninth.
Gunn's Isha Mohan got off to a slow start, but shot even par on the final five holes to finish with a 40. Lucy Lamb and Tiffany Yang shot steady 41s while Margaret Redfield birdies the eighth and ninth holes for a 42.
Emily Hwang led Paly (7-3-1) with a 1-over 37 with Stephanie Yu and Celia Willner adding 40s. Jasmine Choi (41) and Candance Wang (42) rounded out the scoring.
Gunn's victory gave the Titans a slim lead over Lynbrook, which has only two losses, with two to play. Gunn can earn no worse than a co-title on Monday by beating host Saratoga.
Gunn continued its strong season with a 5-2 nonleague win over Los Altos. The Titans improved to 13-3 by sweeping the singles. Julia Pham led the way with a come-from-behind 5-7, 6-3, 11-9 victory at No. 1 against Carina Burdick.
Boys water polo
Sacred Heart Prep continued its strong play following last weekend's fifth-place finish at the S & R Sport Tournament in Irvine with a 15-9 romp over host St. Ignatius on Wednesday.
The Gators (4-0, 11-3) remained tied with Bellarmine for the West Catholic Athletic League lead as junior Jackson Enright poured in seven goals and senior Finn Banks added three. Andrew Churukian and Alex Tzotadze split four goals for the Gators.
In the PAL Bay Division, Menlo School (4-0, 9-6) held on to a share of first place following a 19-6 victory over Burlingame at Castilleja. Senior Chris Xi tallied six goals for the Knights with James Thygesen scoring four and Wells Costello adding three.
In Atherton,host M-A (3-1, 10-5) rolled to a 17-2 win over Half Moon Bay. Mostyn Fero tallied six goals with Jack Beasley, James Calhoon, Christian Huhn and Jorge Pont all scoring twice.
Girls water polo
Castilleja all but wrapped up a second straight regular-season title in the PAL Bay Division with a 9-5 victory over visiting Burlingame on Wednesday.
The Gators improved to 5-0 in league (9-4 overall) as Jenna Kotcher tallied three goals to lead the way. Celia Aldrete, Madison Lewis and Claire Pisani all added two goals apiece while goalie Georgia Lewis came up with 10 saves.
In Atherton, host M-A (3-2, 5-9) got three goals from Maddie Maxwell and two from Olivia Jackson in a 7-3 win over Half Moon Bay.
In the WCAL, Sacred Heart Prep (4-0, 11-4) maintained its hold on first place following a 16-3 romp over visiting St. Ignatius. Junior Maddy Johnston had five goals, senior Malaika Koshy added four and junior Layla Waters finished with three.