Sports


Water polo titles for Castilleja, SHP and Menlo School

 
Gunn goalie Zoe Banks appears intensely ready to make this save. Photo by Malcolm Slaney.

Jayden Kunwar scored with two seconds remaining to lift Menlo School past host Menlo-Atherton, 5-4, in the championship game of the Peninsula Athletic League boys water polo tournament Saturday.

A few miles down El Camino Real, Larsen Weigle scored three goals to pace Sacred Heart Prep to a 9-6 victory over visiting Bellarmine in the West Catholic Athletic League championship contest.


Elizabeth Miksztal
In the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League championship at Lynbrook, Gunn fell to regular-season champion Los Altos, 5-3.

On the girls' side, Castilleja smothered Menlo, 11-1, in the PAL title tilt at Menlo-Atherton, host Sacred Heart Prep beat St. Francis, 7-6, to share the overall WCAL title with the Lancers and Gunn dropped a heart-breaker, 6-5, to SCVAL regular-season co-champion Los Gatos.

That's hardly the end of the season for any of the participants. When the Central Coast Section divisions are announced Sunday, expect Sacred Heart Prep (21-4) to be the top seed in the Open Division.

Menlo School (18-6) and Menlo-Atherton (17-10) have done enough to earn spots among the top eight, along with Valley Christian, Bellarmine, St. Francis, Los Altos and Soquel.

Gunn (17-12) is on the bubble, though it does own a win over Soquel. The Titans could end up as the top seed in Division I.

The top four seeds for the girls Open Division will likely be, in order, Leland (24-1), Soquel (23-3), Sacred Heart Prep (19-7) and St. Francis (16-9). Los Gatos, Castilleja (20-6), Gunn (17-11) and Valley Christian are strong possibilities to complete the bracket. Menlo School will be one of the top seeds in Division II along with Notre Dame-Belmont.

In the PAL boys' championship game, Menlo-Atherton held a 4-1 lead with about 10 minutes remaining in the game. The Knights scored twice to draw within 4-3 at the end of the third quarter.

Connor Enright scored the game-tying goal, which set the game's final play. Menlo coach Jack Bowen called time to set up a play design to appear standard but had Kunwar stray out of position.

In a flash, the ball went to Kunwar, who immediately fired it into the high corner for the dramatic victory.

"This is just another example of the character of this team," Bowen said. "They have a lot of heart and have so the entire season. They trust each other. They know how to play together and fight through tough times. I just love this group."

Niko Bhatia scored twice and had four steals for Menlo and Maxwell Patterson also netted a goal. Goalie Josh Poulos recorded eight saves, Sam Untrecht had three steals and Miller Geschke recorded a pair of assists.

Weigle scored the game's first goal and then Michael Sonsini and Walker Seymour scored to put SHP ahead, 3-0, in the first three minutes.

Andrew Churukian's goal at the end of the first half put the Gators up, 5-1, at the intermission and the Bells never got closer than three the rest of the way.

Alex Tsotadze added a pair of goals, Sonsini complemented his scoring with three assists and goalie Alexander Nemeth secured eight saves.

Bellarmine goalie Anthony Rethans, who played on the U16 Stanford club's 2016 national team championship, recorded 11 saves.

Castilleja's championship victory wasn't nearly as dramatic. It was, though, an accomplishment. The Gators claimed their fourth consecutive PAL tittle.

Georgia Lewis stopped nine of the 10 shots she faced, Madison Lewis scored four times, recorded three steals and added a pair of assists.

Minhee Chung added three goals, Claire Pisani scored twice and had four assists and Anjali Kambham and Scarlett Ackley also scored.

Sacred Heart Prep received two goals each from Addi Duvall, Annabel Facey and Claire Kerrigan.

Nadia Paquin also scored and goalie Nellie McAdams recorded 12 saves.

— Palo Alto Online Sports

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