Nathan Mollat/Daily Journal
Devin Joos, a transfer from St. Francis making her Menlo-Atherton debut, finished with a match-high 27 kills, helping lead the Bears to a five-set victory over Carlmont.
Football may have “The Battle for Seattle,” but it seems Peninsula Athletic League volleyball now has “The Battle for Atherton.”
Menlo-Atherton’s student-run volleyball fan club, The 7th Woman Club — ironically made up of predominantly boys — caused a halftime show of quite some controversy yesterday at Menlo-Atherton. Play was halted midway through Game 3 to quiet the fan club of 20 or so M-A students, but they were silenced to no avail, as Menlo-Atherton (5-0 Bay Division, 11-3 overall) went on to score a monumental win over first-place Carlmont (4-1, 11-6) – 25-18, 22-25, 26-24, 22-25, 15-9.
The heated contest boiled down to an exciting Game 5. With Menlo-Atherton leading 7-6, Carlmont put a ball over the net that scattered M-A’s defenders. But junior Katie Wilcox made a remarkable diving save to prolong the rally and eventually win the point, averting a Carlmont tie. M-A led the rest of the way to score the win in a battle of Bay Division unbeatens.
Junior hitter Devin Joos made her debut for Menlo-Atherton, and the powerful transfer from St. Francis looks to be a game-changer for the Bears. Joos tabbed a match-high 27 kills, and commanded the net throughout the decisive Game 5.
“I’ve been sitting on the bench just cheering for our team all season and I just wanted to bring intensity because that’s when we play our best,” Joos said.
Joos didn’t waste any time showing what a formidable tandem she and senior hitter Pauli King will be, now that the two are taking the court for the first time ever. King blazed M-A to a win in Game 1 with eight of her 16 match kills, and proved a strong defensive presence at middle court.
But by Game 3, a third hitter emerged from the Bears fray in the person sophomore Leanna Collins. After the fan-club hijinks midway through Game 3, Collins was repositioned to right-side opposite setter, and the move paid off. The second-year varsity player turned in the best performance of her career, totaling 17 kills.
“We know [Carlmont is] a really good team, and we had to come out and play strong,” Collins said. “I’m really happy right now that we were able to do that.”
Now Menlo-Atherton head coach Ron Whitmill has the best problem a coach can have. The Bears have a slew of talent, but Whitmill is still trying to find a way to get all that talent on the court.
“We’ve got a lot of great players,” Whitmill said. “We’re still trying to get them all on the court at the same time.”
Whitmill said the problem is he has four or five good outside hitters, but can only play three at a time. But yesterday, the recipe seemed just right.
“It’s really easy (for opposing teams) to key on Devin and Pauli,” Whitmill said. “So, having that third option (such as Collins), it can really pay off.”
Carlmont senior Ella McDonough tallied a team-high 22 kills. The Scots played an all-around solid match, with a depth of contributions, including 11 kills from Charlotte Jackman, and six blocks from Sabrina Miller.
As for The 7th Woman Club, the group’s leader, Josh Weiner, was called to the referee podium midway through Game 3. Weiner was admonished because the fan club wouldn’t refrain from cheering while Carlmont was serving. Weiner, a senior who has been a member of the club for four years, said he felt the group was cheering within the bounds of the Central Coast Section rules.
“I checked the CCS rulebook,” Weiner said. “They told us to cut it back, but we did everything by the book.”
Other Bay action
Aragon (1-4, 10-6) triumphed over South City (1-4, 10-8) – 25-13, 25-13, 17-25, 25-21. Miranda Taylor paced the Dons with 12 kills, while freshman middle hitter Melanie Moore totaled nine kills.
Burlingame (3-2, 11-6) downed Hillsdale (0-4, 6-7) – 25-16, 25-19, 27-29, 25-20.
Ocean Division results
Terra Nova (4-1, 11-2) defeated Westmoor (3-2, 10-3) – 31-29, 25-17, 25-12. Alvina Tat had five kills and four blocks for the Tigers, while junior Marleen Alcantara tabbed 21 digs.
Sequoia (5-0, 13-4) downed Capuchino (1-4, 4-8) – 25-9, 25-5, 25-11. Joy Robinson returned to action for the Cherokees, and tied for a team-high eight kills with sister Leanne Robinson.