Prep roundup: Los Gatos edges Branham in a thriller to reach CCS D-I volleyball final

Los Gatos advances to face top-seeded Salinas in the championship match on Saturday. Water polo teams from Monte Vista and Las Lomas have advanced to the NCS quarterfinals.

Female Volleyball


Los Gatos 3, Branham 1 in Division I

Los Gatos coach Nicole Ciari described the game as a “absolute battle.”

The second-seeded Wildcats and third-seeded Branham played an epic semifinal match on Thursday night for a spot in the Central Coast Section Division I final.

Los Gatos won 26-24, 27-25, 28-30, 25-22 on its home court to advance to play top-seeded Salinas on Saturday at Palo Alto High. The championship match is set to begin at 3 p.m.

Salinas advanced to the finals by defeating fourth-seeded Mountain View at home on Thursday, 25-13, 26-24, 25-11.

“Branham brought their A game and really pushed us to step up to the challenge,” Ciari told the Bay Area News Group in an email. “Going point for point (to) the end of all four sets demonstrated both teams’ mental toughness and desire to win the match.” I am so proud of how our team worked together for every point, regardless of the score.”

Manon Raux-Mariwaki came off the bench and hit “two amazing aces” to take the second set. According to the coach, the junior “really set the tone for the next two sets.”

Sarah Herman had a high motor throughout the match, according to Ciari, and “was determined not to let a single ball hit the floor without her touching it.”

Los Gatos’ two middles, Ally Black and Portia Zeidler, were creative on offense, creating space for hitters Mia Halsey and Nicole Steiner to score, according to Ciari.

“I could not be more proud of this team,” Ciari said. “We are truly peaking and all the hard work they have put in this season is paying off at the perfect time.”

Other games

In Division II, sixth-seeded Woodside upset second-seeded Monta Vista, winning 23-25, 25-17, 14-25, 25-19, 15-13. The Wildcats will face top-seeded Aragon in the final at Palo Alto High on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. Aragon defeated fourth-seeded San Mateo in five sets, 16-25, 25-21, 25-21, 22-25, 15-12. … Top-seeded Burlingame and third-seeded Sacred Heart Cathedral breezed through semifinal matches in Division III. They will compete for the championship on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. at Gunn High. … The Division IV final will be played on Saturday at Gunn High at 5:30 p.m. between fourth-seeded Notre Dame-Belmont and second-seeded Harbor. … Second-seeded Crystal Springs Uplands and fourth-seeded Castilleja will compete for the Division V championship on Saturday at 3 p.m. at Gunn High.

CCS Open championship

The Open Division championship game between top-seeded Archbishop Mitty and second-seeded St. Francis will take place on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. at Palo Alto High. On Wednesday, Joseph Dycus recapped their semifinal victories.

Water polo for girls


Fifth-seeded Monte Vista defeated No. 12 seed Amador Valley 14-6 in Division I on Thursday in the North Coast Section, while sixth-seeded Washington-Fremont defeated No. 11 California 15-6. No. 9 seed Castro Valley was defeated 10-6 by James Logan, and No. 10 seed Redwood defeated No. 7 seed Liberty 10-6. The winners all advanced to Saturday’s quarterfinals.

Water polo for boys


Fifth-seeded Las Lomas defeated No. 12 seed Amador Valley 13-7 on Thursday, sixth-seeded Northgate defeated No. 11 seed Liberty 16-13, seventh-seeded College Park defeated No. 10 seed Foothill 12-10, and eighth-seeded Terra Linda defeated No. 9 seed California 13-10. The winners will face off in the quarterfinals on Saturday.


Fall sports playoff schedules can be found here: NCS (volleyball and water polo) and CCS (all sports)

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