The Palo Alto girls volleyball team is enjoying a monster year and the Vikings seem to be getting better every time out.
Palo Alto won all four of its matches Saturday to capture the title of Spikefest II in Milpitas and San Jose. The Vikings topped Carlmont, 10-25, 25-17, 12-8, to capture the championship.
The Vikings (21-3) don't lose that often either. They take a 14-match winning streak into Monday's SCVAL De Anza Division match against visiting Saratoga at 6:45 p.m.
Paly's losses have been to Menlo School, St. Ignatius and Valley Christian. In fact, the Vikings have won 19 of their past 20 matches, which includes a nonleague win at home over Menlo.
This senior-dominated team seems to be on the verge of something special. Paly is a clear choice for the Open Division this year, which means a guaranteed spot in the Northern California playoffs.
The Vikings, because of their eight seniors, also have a lot of experience that can off the bench, extremely valuable in a tournament setting.
Paly used three different setters in winning Spikefest II. Junior Britney Fan led the offense in Paly's 25-12, 25-7 win over Santa Clara. She had 11 assists to go with eight digs. Seniors Susanna Limb and Chelsea Fan also factored in the win.
The elder Fan took six swings in the match and delivered six kills. She hit .424 for the day. Limb had four aces and eight digs.
Senior Julianna Roth took over setting duties in the second round, an eventful 27-25, 25-17 win over Evergreen Valley. Roth distributed 16 assists, many going to Chelsea Fan, who had 12 kills, and sophomore Amelia Gibbs, who added seven. Limb tossed in another three aces to go with 14 digs.
Setter Tanli Su took on setting duties for the final two matches, the first a 25-19, 25-19 win over SCVAL rival Homestead. Su had 17 assists, Fan had 11 kills and 12 digs. Oh yeah, Limb did her thing too, adding a service ace and seven digs.
After getting pummeled by Carlmont in the first set, Palo Alto changed tactics and went with a kill-by-committee approach. The Scots keyed on Fan, who still had six kills and 10 digs, so Su, who had 24 assists, started going to the Vikings other top offensive weapons.
Remember that part about experienced depth? Yeah, so senior Denise Ringwalt came up big with 10 kills. Gibbs added another seven and Limb, while no aces this time, did add seven digs.
In another tournament:
Menlo-Atherton, which reached the past two state Division I championship matches, won its first two matches at the Tiger Cup in Belmont Saturday and then lost three straight.
The Bears (8-17) host PAL Bay Division leader Burlingame on Tuesday at 6:15 p.m.
It was a team effort in M-A's 25-23, 25-22 opening victory over Salinas. Lauren Heller, Alicia Letvin and Emma Spindt each recorded six kills for the Bears. Nicole Kang added 16 digs and Erica Fischer had seven.
Bella Shermis, Rachel Park and Spindt made things a little easier as they each recorded three service aces. Shermis and Heller added six digs each and Letvin recorded a pair of solo blocks.
Kathryn Jones took center stage in M-A's 25-9, 25-19 victory over Cardinal Newman. Jones collected nine kills on a hitting percentage of .652. Kang contributed six aces.
Spindt had nine kills for the Bears in a 25-17, 25-18 loss to Bishop O'Dowd, which fell to host Notre Dame in the championship match.
Marin Academy beat M-A, 25-16, 25-21, and Gregori topped the Bears 25-21, 18-25, 15-7.
Menlo senior Robert Miranda placed fourth at the prestigious Mt. Sac Invitational Individual Sweepstakes on Saturday in Walnut.
Miranda ran the 3-mile course in 15:01, the fastest Division IV runner in the meet overall.
Despite limited outdoor training due to the poor air quality, Miranda showed no signs of slowing down amid his fellow state elite runners.
Miranda, like everybody else, had to deal with a restart after a runner fell at the starting line.
He finished 10 seconds behind one of the state's top runners, Redwood's Liam Anderson, who ran the state course at the Clovis Invitational in 15:02.2, taking second overall, earlier this season.
The Knights next race for the West Bay Athletic League championships at Crystal Springs on Nov. 3.