In this week’s high school sports roundup, the Soquel girls water polo team marks 11 years since its last league loss, a look at the week on the gridiron, Harbor and Santa Cruz High keep top SCCAL volleyball spots, Aptos High’s hot tennis start and plenty more from around Santa Cruz County.
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By defeating Santa Cruz High School and San Lorenzo Valley High School this past week in girls water polo, Soquel High School is alone at the top of the Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League with a 3-0 record.
It’s a spot the Knights are used to being in after dominating the pool for more than a decade. Soquel has won 12 consecutive league titles, and there is presumably no end in sight. Wednesday will mark 11 years since the Knights’ most recent league defeat — that is 109 straight league victories for Soquel, which is currently led by star seniors Leah Murphy and Kayla Matthies.
Matthies is committed to play at UC Santa Barbara and scored 3 goals in a 10-3 win over Santa Cruz High School on Tuesday. She now has 83 goals in her storied career. Matthies also dominated the water defensively, garnering 5 steals.
Murphy scored 3 goals of her own and is just six away from scoring 40 in three straight seasons. Murphy will continue her career at UC Berkeley, which finished the 2022-23 season ranked No. 7 in the nation.
Soquel High School 21, Monterey High School 7
The Knights got a huge league victory over a very good Monterey squad to improve to 4-2. Up 14-7 in the fourth, sophomore quarterback Sam Whelan hit three-star senior wide receiver Jordan McCord for a 34-yard touchdown. McCord had 7 catches for 80 yards in the game. Whelan also rushed for a touchdown, as did senior Justice Grauel Tebong.
Next up for Soquel: At Everett Alvarez High School (2-4) on Friday.
Aptos High School 68, Everett Alvarez High School 6
The Mariners ripped off 55 straight points to end the game and move to 2-3 on the season. Senior quarterback Matt Hood completed 75% of his passes, threw for two touchdowns and ran for two more. Senior running back Jordan Torres ran all over the defense, gaining a career-high 183 yards and scoring twice on just four carries. He also caught a touchdown pass. Senior Jasiah McKenzie contributed on both sides of the ball by returning a fumble for a touchdown and by hauling in a 43-yard touchdown reception.
Next up for Aptos: At Salinas High School (2-3) on Thursday.
Scotts Valley High School 28, St. Francis High School 0
The Falcons moved to 4-1 after a four-touchdown first half over the Sharks. Junior Eli Velez ran for two scores and junior Lucas Ringel completed 75% of his passes for two TDs. St. Francis fell to 2-4.
Next up for St. Francis: Hosts Santa Cruz High School (0-4) on Saturday.
Next up for Scotts Valley: At Watsonville High School (2-3) on Friday.
North Monterey County High School 28, Monte Vista Christian School 25
The Mustangs fell to 3-3 after a close loss to North Monterey County in league play. Junior quarterback Dom Pierini continues his fantastic season, passing for three touchdowns, including one to junior wide receiver Nico Downie that went for 50 yards. Senior Anthony Loredo also had a touchdown reception and junior running back Max Torres ran for a score.
Next up for Monte Vista Christian: At Scotts Valley (4-1) on Oct. 13.
Greenfield High School 42, Harbor High School 0
Harbor fell to 3-3.
Next up for Harbor: Hosts Marina High School (1-5) on Friday.
Seaside High School forfeit win over Santa Cruz High School
Next up for Santa Cruz (0-4): At St. Francis High School (3-3) on Saturday.
Stevenson High School 20, San Lorenzo Valley High School 7
Next up for San Lorenzo Valley (2-4): At Greenfield High School (4-1) on Friday.
Bye weeks: Watsonville High School and Pajaro Valley High School
Next up for Watsonville (2-3): Hosts Scotts Valley High School (4-1) on Friday.
Next up for Pajaro Valley (1-4): At Gonzales High School (3-3) on Friday.
Harbor High School sits at the top of the Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League with a 6-0 record, and Santa Cruz High School is right behind at 6-1.
Harbor played just one league game this past week, a 3-0 victory over the Mount Madonna School. Juniors Isla Johnson, Holly Rejfir and Sabine Kemos all made an impact, combining for 21 kills. Edna Fisher led the Hawks with 9 kills while Emma Monclus and Cy Harris each had 5.
Scotts Valley High School moved to 3-3 in the SCCAL after taking down San Lorenzo Valley in three sets. The Falcons were led by junior Ava Morrison, who had 10 kills.
Soquel High School and Aptos High School battled through a five-set match Tuesday, with Soquel taking it 3-2. Senior Kayla Rhee-Pizana had 40 assists for the Knights and junior UCLA commit Jessie Dueck had 19 kills.
For the Mariners, freshman Ella Dueck had 20 kills, 6 aces and 25 digs.
“This is the closest Aptos has gotten to beating Soquel in three years,” said Aptos coach Hunter Zeng. “I’m really proud of my team for the way they held up under pressure and supported each other on the court, especially in the fourth set.”
Watsonville High School is now 4-2 in the Pacific Coast Athletic League Mission Division and is coming off a 3-1 win over Gonzales High School. Juniors Daisy Cornejo and Danika Hernandez combined for 25 kills, 6 aces, 3 blocks and 20 digs in the victory.
Aptos High School is undefeated in the Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League with a 3-0 record after a 5-2 win over Santa Cruz High School. Senior Holly Hegna, junior Aviana Andrews and sophomore Coral Collins each won singles matchups for the Mariners while Isabella Calderon/Natalia Calderon and Gamble Kellermyer/Neci Hoeptner each won in doubles competition. For Santa Cruz, Francesa Garces won her singles match and Ali Pierson/Lou Ellis took doubles. Clara Weaver/Rainey Ruff added a doubles victory earlier in the week in a 4-3 win over Soquel High School.
Scotts Valley High School sits in second at 3-1 after taking down San Lorenzo Valley High School 7-0 on Tuesday and Soquel High School 4-3 on Thursday. Against San Lorenzo Valley, seniors Stella Cheney, Samantha Warner, Maya Bensen and Kendal Wright each won their singles matches. Erin Szymanski/Sofia Niklaus and Riya Kuriakose/Maya Wexler won doubles.
Thursday’s meeting with Soquel came down to the wire as sophomore Alia Papadopoulos, Niklaus and Warner each won singles matches for the Falcons. Kendal Wright/Montserrat Burgos put the match away with a doubles victory. For Soquel, Isla Garcia-McDougall won her singles match. The Knights won two doubles matches as Mia Gonsiewski/Mikayla Freiberg and Lucy Federspiel/Ayla Hymes were victorious.
In the Pacific Coast Athletic League Mission Division, Monte Vista Christian School and Watsonville High School had their second league meet of the year. In the boys race, junior Justin McCullick and sophomores Conor Gilliam and Gavin Beckmen took third, fourth and fifth. Senior Giancarlo Mendo of Watsonville took sixth.
Katelynn Ruiz of Watsonville won the girls race. Junior Kylie Brunelli and junior Finley Castro each finished in the top 10 for Monte Vista Christian.
Boys water polo
Santa Cruz High School is first in the Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League after defeating Soquel High School 12-10 on Tuesday and Harbor High School 18-4 on Thursday. Cardinals junior Pakalan Vaka-Saxton led the way with 7 goals, adding a pair of steals. Sophomore Hayden Johnson also had a key game by scoring 3 goals, passing for 2 assists and recording 4 steals.
For Soquel, senior Hayes Pizzica had 3 goals and senior Tucker Graessle and junior Cash Wolfe each had 2 scores.
Soquel won on Thursday 15-5 over San Lorenzo Valley High School after Wolfe scored four times. Pizzica, Graessle and sophomore Stryder Stelck all scored twice.
Aptos High School is tied with Soquel for second in the league after beating San Lorenzo Valley 18-5 on Tuesday. It was the Mariners’ second game of the week after they beat Pacific Grove High School 12-8 in a nonleague matchup. Freshman Gabriel Suarez-Abraham had 6 goals while sophomore Caden Yates had 2 goals, as did Jack Widman.
Girls water polo
After falling to SCCAL leader Soquel High School on Tuesday, Santa Cruz High School rebounded with an 11-4 win over Harbor High School on Thursday to move to 3-1 in league play. Sophomore Violet Rubin had 6 goals and senior Daisy Mueller added 3. Junior Serena Manildi led Harbor with 3 goals and 6 steals.
Aptos High School is 2-1 in league play after taking down San Lorenzo Valley High School 19-5 on Tuesday in its only league game of the week. Senior Fiona Carey had 7 goals and 2 steals. Juniors Scarlet Gleitsman-Miller and Adelaide Friedley and sophomore Bellame Breen all added 3 goals in the victory.
Aptos High School baseball alum Luke Keaschall wrapped up his first season of minor league baseball with a .288 batting average. Keaschall was selected in the second round of the 2022 MLB draft by the Minnesota Twins out of Arizona State and signed for $1.5 million.
The infielder reached the High-A level and had 14 extra-base hits and 11 stolen bases in 2023. MLB.com rates Keaschall as the 11th-best prospect in the Twins’ minor league system and projects him to reach the majors in 2026.
This week in history
Oct. 3, 2014: Monte Vista Christian junior running back D’Shawn Hopkins rolled over the North Monterey County defense for 160 yards and three rushing touchdowns on just 15 carries. The future UC Berkeley football player also had a 92-yard kick return for a touchdown, a sack on defense and was perfect on six extra-point attempts.
Three weeks later, Hopkins broke the Mustangs’ single-game rushing record with a 260-yard outing in a victory over Gilroy High School.
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