Volleyball (28-5) advances to CCS Open title match
Menlo School volleyball kept St. Ignatius out of the CCS Open Championship match with a 3-1 victory in San Francisco to advance to Saturday’s final against top seed Mitty.
The third-seeded Knights (28-5) beat the second-seeded Wildcats 25-22, 25-18, 23-25, 25-19 on the road. West Bay Athletic League champion Menlo is the first non-WCAL school to advance to the finals since the CCS Open began in the 2016 season.
“We knew they were aggressive offensively so we talked about mirroring that aggression with our defense,” Menlo coach Tony Holland said. “We thought we could win the serve-and-pass game, and I am happy with the way we executed that part of the game plan.”
The Knights have extended their match win streak to 18, and their last loss was to Newport Harbor on Sept. 11.
“I think that our preseason schedule has really paid dividends this past week, falling behind 2-0 to SHP and dropping that third set tonight. The way we responded to each situation is a direct reflection of what we learned about ourselves as a team.”
The Knights got contributions throughout. Senior Simone Adam delivered 13 kills and had 11 digs. Hanna Hoffman distributed 28 assists, had 11 digs and three aces. Fellow senior Sharon Nejad tallied 12 kills and sophomore Cleo Hardin added 10 more.
Seniors Hallie MacDonald paved the way with 17 digs and three aces and Zoe Gregory contributed 23 assists and 12 digs.
The Knights led early in Set 4, but a persistent SI team tied the game at 14 on Claire Untalian’s kill. The Wildcats drew to a tie four more times before a Nejad cross-court kill. With MacDonald serving, Hoffman delivered two hits and placed a third deep in the left corner for a 22-19 lead. Nejad put away the match with a tip and a hit.
In Set 1, the Knights jumped out early but SI would challenge the lead and tie three times before Menlo took the lead for good on a kill by sophomore Hardin. Hoffman’s tip brought on game point, and an SI error gave Menlo the first set.
Menlo led after the first point in Set 2, and never looked back, stretching the lead to six on senior Jazi Chen’s kill. Nejad tooled a pair of hits off the block for the win.
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