SHP, Menlo, Castilleja clinch league water polo titles

Chris Lobdell (13) had six goals and three steals in addition to his defensive skills.

The Menlo-Atherton boys water polo team, like many others, is getting ready for the postseason. The Bears ended the Peninsula Athletic League Bay Division season with a thoroughly convincing 22-6 victory over visiting Half Moon Bay on Wednesday.

It was Senior Night and who better than to lead M-A but seniors Chris Lobdell, who scored six goals and had three assists, Andy Maxwell, with five goals, team captain Nik Caryotakis, who scored three times, and Shon Alimukhamedov, who also scored.

Willem Holzrichter scored three times for the Bears.
Senior goalie Noah Smith, who recorded six saves and three steals, and Ilia Dzotsenidze were also part of the festivities.

The Bears (14-6, 5-1) finished second to Menlo School, which defeated Burlingame 18-6 on Wednesday as Niko Bhatia and Sam Untrecht each scored four goals. The Knights (14-6, 6-0) have won 16 of the past 18 PAL titles. Menlo-Atherton won the other two.

Menlo and M-A are the top two seeds for the PAL tournament, which begins Monday. Both teams have nonleague games before then. Menlo hosts Coronado on Thursday and the Bears host Orange Lutheran on Friday.

"We've had a good year," M-A coach Brandon Johnson said. "Hopefully we'll be in the Open Division. Our goal was to be one of the top eight teams."

M-A appears to have done enough, playing a tough nonleague schedule. A good showing this weekend against a few of the top teams in the state would secure the Bears a place in the Open Division.

M-A beat Gunn earlier in the season and the Titans are also a candidate for the top division.

The Bears reached last year's Division I title match, losing to Bellarmine, 12-2.

"These guys worked hard during the offseason after coming up a little short," Johnson said, "They've put in the effort and they're motivated."

Sacred Heart Prep, which beat Mitty 15-3 on Wednesday to complete the WCAL season undefeated, will likely be the top seed in the Open Division. Bellarmine, St. Francis and Valley Christian are likely candidates along with Menlo and Menlo-Atherton. Los Altos, Gunn, Santa Cruz and Soquel are also viable candidates.

Against Half Moon Bay, Willem Holzrichter added three goals and Cooper Gran scored twice.

For Menlo, Miller Geschke added three goals and both Jayden Kunwar and Atreya each had two goals. Goalie Josh Poulos recorded nine saves.

Sacred Heart Prep (15-3, 6-0) was led by James Plaschke with five goals, Jackson Clevenger with three and both Kyle Ballack and Xavier Marco with two apiece.

Goalie Alexander Nemeth even scored. He played a period in the goal and then became a field player when John Petrakian replaced him.

The Gators scored the first seven goals of the contest and were never headed. SHP opens the Memorial Cup tournament with a game against The Bishop's School at Bellarmine at 11 a.m. Friday.

Palo Alto beat Homestead, 9-8, in a SCVAL contest with Brian Look scoring the winning goal.

Girls water polo

Georgia Lewis and Sarah Pedley each recorded five saves in goal and Castilleja downed Carlmont 11-6 to earn the outright PAL regular-season championship on Wednesday.

The Gators (15-4, 7-0) got three goals from Madison Lewis and two from Minhee Chung.

Castilleja takes on defending Division I champion Leland on Friday at 2:10 p.m. in San Jose.

Menlo-Atherton edged Sequoia, 4-3, when Molly Banks scored a late goal. Cameron Bozdog recorded eight saves for the Bears (7-10, 3-4), who will participate in the PAL tournament next week.

Menlo School squeezed past Burlingame, 6-5, to finish third in the PAL. The Knights (12-12, 5-2) clinched a spot in the CCS playoffs for the second consecutive year after previously missing out for seven years.

Meg Reinstra had three goals and three steals for Menlo while Mia Rosenblatt had two goals. Gillian Bressie recorded 11 saves.

In the WCAL, Sacred Heart Prep beat Mitty, 10-4.

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