Niko Iles, who had two of Scotts Valley's five sacks Saturday, gets his arms around San Lorenzo Valley QB Jack Dagan.
(John Hefti / Lookout Santa Cruz)
Recreation & Sports

High school sports roundup: Scotts Valley, Harbor, Monte Vista Christian remain unbeaten

A trio of 3-0 Santa Cruz County football teams are atop this week’s roundup, which also includes local girls volleyball leaders, SCCAL girls tennis contenders and cross-country and water polo action.

Editor’s note: Welcome to Lookout’s high school sports coverage. We’ll send you an email each week as it is published each Monday — just sign up here. Thomas Frey, an alum of Cabrillo College who has covered high school sports locally, leads our coverage, his column appearing weekly and his athlete of the month feature mid-month. We welcome your tips and stories — email and (with high school sports in the subject line).

After a big week of high school football in Santa Cruz County, Harbor High School, Monte Vista Christian School and Scotts Valley High School all remain unscathed with perfect 3-0 records.

“I’m really proud of our team, especially our defense,” said Monte Vista Christian coach Spencer Ferrari-Wood after the Mustangs’ 31-13 victory Friday over Rancho San Juan High. “Our home environment is tough to beat, so it’s always fun when you can win one at home in front of your school community.”

Scotts Valley will take its 3-0 record to Soquel High School (1-1) on Thursday for a rivalry battle between the two Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League schools.

“We are happy with where we are at, but we still need to improve in a lot of areas,” said Scotts Valley coach Louie Walters.

A week after scoring the most points in school history, the undefeated Pirates from Harbor scored often against Saratoga and rolled to a 28-7 victory. Another nonleague foe, North Monterey County High School, awaits.

“We’re on the road this week so it’ll be a challenge leaving Pirate Island,” said Harbor coach James Gaynor. “North Monterey County will be a tough task but we’re excited about the opportunity.”

Although the Condors are 0-3, the three losses are all against very good teams. A good game could break out Friday night in Castroville.

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Monte Vista Christian School 31, Rancho San Juan High School 13

The Mustangs moved to 3-0 after junior quarterback Dom Pierini went aerial, throwing for 426 yards and four touchdowns.

Junior wide receiver Nico Downie caught more than half of those yards, tallying up 10 receptions for 228 yards and three touchdowns. Junior running back and linebacker Max Torres led the team in tackles and had a pair of touchdowns, one via the ground and one on a pass from Pierini.

“It’s tough playing against a hard-nosed ground attack like Rancho’s offense,” Ferrari-Wood said. “Our guys played hard and competed for four quarters. Total team effort.”

Next up for Monte Vista Christian: At Monterey High School on Friday.

Scotts Valley High School 35, San Lorenzo Valley High School 13

The Falcons jumped out to a big lead before winning by 22 to improve to 3-0. Senior wide receiver Quinn Turowski scored two touchdowns, on 75-yard and 65-yard passes from junior quarterback Lucas Ringel. The signal-caller also tossed a touchdown to junior Jacob Womack. Womack also had an interception on defense.

Seniors Lucas Murphy and Niko Iles got into the end zone for rushing scores. The defense also had five sacks, two of them by Iles.

“The kids played well,” Walters said. “Any time they play SLV, they play hard. The kids know each other. They have competed against each other for years.”

Next up for Scotts Valley: At Soquel (1-1) on Thursday.

Next up for San Lorenzo Valley: At Watsonville (1-2) on Friday.

Mission College Prep 18, Aptos High School 15

Aptos fell to 0-3 after a very close loss to Mission College Prep on Friday. The Mariners always start the nonleague slate with very difficult opponents, and the cards didn’t fall their way this season. Senior quarterback Matt Hood ran for two touchdowns for Aptos, which begins league play next week.

Next up for Aptos: At North Salinas High School (3-0) on Friday.

Harbor High School 28, Saratoga High School 7

The score was 7-7 at halftime before Harbor turned on the jets, scoring three touchdowns in the second half to win 28-7. Senior running back Jeovany Linares ran for 191 yards on 21 carries. Senior Ferris Vitali led the team with five catches for 63 yards and a score, and also got into the end zone on a touchdown run. Senior linebacker Michael Stetson paced the Pirates in tackles.

“I’m proud of how our guys stuck together and finished the game on a strong note; though we almost finished with 400 yards of offense and had some big plays, we had a few hiccups as a unit and look forward to progressing this week,” Gaynor said. “Our defense stepped up big, especially in the red zone, causing turnovers and wreaking havoc in the backfield.”

Next up for Harbor: At North Monterey County (0-3) on Friday.

Greenfield High School 20, St. Francis High School 14 (OT)

The Sharks lost a close one in overtime to Greenfield and fell to 1-2. Junior Javier Fonseca did it all for the Sharks, passing for a touchdown, rushing for a score and recovering a fumble. His touchdown pass was to senior wideout Pedro “Junior” Ibarra.

Next up for St. Francis: Hosts Pajaro Valley (0-3) on Saturday.

Pacific Grove High School 34, Pajaro Valley High School 0

Next up for Pajaro Valley: At St. Francis (1-2) on Saturday.

Menlo School 51, Watsonville High School 6

Next up for Watsonville: Hosts San Lorenzo Valley (1-2) on Friday.

Soquel High School and Santa Cruz High School did not play.

Next up for Soquel: Hosts Scotts Valley (3-0) on Thursday.

Next up for Santa Cruz: Hosts Watsonville (1-2) on Sept. 22.

Girls volleyball

Kelaiah Wynn and Lily Pederson helped Santa Cruz High soar to a 3-0 road sweep of Scotts Valley.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

After the first week of Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League play, Santa Cruz High School and Harbor are at the top with 2-0 records. The Cardinals of Santa Cruz won each of their matches, with sweeps over Scotts Valley and the Mount Madonna School.

Big matchups are coming up Tuesday as Scotts Valley hosts Soquel, Aptos travels to Santa Cruz High and Harbor takes on San Lorenzo Valley.

Watsonville began Pacific Coast Athletic League Mission Division play with a thrilling five-set victory over Soledad High School on Thursday. Pajaro Valley looks to win its first match of the PCAL Santa Lucia Division season Wednesday at Pacific Point Christian School before hosting York High School on Friday.

County leaders

1. Jessie Dueck, Soquel, 88
2. Sabine Kemos, Harbor, 87
3. Natalie Monroe, Santa Cruz, 72

1. Antonia Wilson, Santa Cruz, 148
2. Kayla Rhee-Pizano, Soquel, 139
3. Julia Spinelli, Aptos, 127

Service aces
1. Grace Emanuelson, Scotts Valley, 21
T-2. Kayla Rhee-Pizano, Soquel, 20
T-2. Antonia Wilson, Santa Cruz, 20

1. Sabine Kemos, Harbor, 17
2. Katy Eze, Soquel, 14
3 . Kelaiah Wynn, Santa Cruz, 13

1. Jessie Dueck, Soquel, 81
2. Gianna Audisio, Soquel, 73
3. Chloe Luis, Aptos, 56

Please help me make these stats as complete as possible — send them to if they are not posted online.

Girls tennis

League play in tennis begins Sept. 19 with some exciting matchups — Aptos at San Lorenzo Valley, Scotts Valley at Santa Cruz High, Aptos and Scotts Valley and San Lorenzo Valley at Soquel. It is still unknown if Harbor will field a varsity team this year.

Aptos and Scotts Valley tied for the Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League title a season ago with 9-1 records.

“Aptos has got to be considered the top contender, but Santa Cruz, Soquel and Scotts Valley, not necessarily in that order, will certainly be in the mix,” said Scotts Valley coach Scott Goodrich. “It’s going to be an exciting and competitive league season for sure and we’ll be ready for the challenge.”

Scotts Valley is led by seniors Stella Cheney, Samantha Warner and Maya Benson; other top players include juniors Sofia Niklaus, Erin Szymanski and sophomore Aila Papadopoulous.

Aptos will be led by senior Holly Hegna, who won the SCCAL singles tournament last season. The Mariners also return No. 2 singles player Tiana Smith.

“It’s hard to say [who could win the league],” said second-year Aptos coach Tammi Brown. “There are a lot of good players and everyone keeps improving.”

Soquel is led by coach Betsy Maushardt, who has been at the helm of the Knights program for the past 13 seasons. After going 4-6 last season, her top senior singles player, Isla Garcia-McDougall, and doubles team Mia Gonsiewski and Mikayla Freiberg all return.

“My No. 1 doubles team should be a force to be reckoned with in the regular season as well as the SCCAL tournament,” Maushardt said. “I hope that this season will see some great battles between the top four teams — Soquel, Scotts Valley, Santa Cruz and Aptos.”

Santa Cruz High School has a new coach in Manas Kshirsagar. The Cardinals are anchored by seniors Ali Pierson, Paulina Doronhina, Mikayla Lombrozo, Sasha Wolfsen and Kira McGlashan and sophomore Francesca Garces.

“Garces is one of the league’s best players and will be a tough matchup with her consistency and determination,” Kshirsagar said.

San Lorenzo Valley is led by five seniors looking to rebound from a 2-8 season, according to eighth-year coach Matt O’Brien.


Santa Cruz High and Aptos battled in a dual meet at Pinto Lake on Thursday. Sophomore Maya Schiro of Aptos blazed through the course and won the 5-kilometer (3.11 miles) girls race with a time of 20 minutes, 14.06 seconds. Sophomore Chloe Hood of Santa Cruz, senior Malia Moreno of Aptos and senior Maya Kingsley of Santa Cruz rounded out the top four.

In the boys 5K race, Santa Cruz junior Eli Fitchen-Young won with a lightning-quick finish of 15 minutes, 26.33 seconds. Santa Cruz senior Kees Van der Meer, Aptos senior Evan Niles and Aptos junior Vincent Sandford-Carroll were the next three to cross the finish line.

Santa Cruz resident Evie Marheineke, a junior at Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose, finished in first place at the Ed Sias Invitational on Saturday.

Girls water polo

Aptos took second place in the Aptos Varsity Invitational Tournament after going 2-1 and falling to Morro Bay High School in the finals. The team won games against Carmel High School and Menlo-Atherton High School.

In the tournament, goalkeeper Mary Suarez-Abraham saved 20 shots and shut out Carmel. Fiona Carey had 11 goals while Adelaide Friedley had six.


Sae Ackerstein, an alum of Santa Cruz High, and Madalyn Price, a senior at Soquel, have been selected to represent the United States in the International Surf Rescue Challenge this year.

Both are local lifeguards, and they’ll compete against athletes from South Africa, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and more at the competition, which runs Sept. 17-24 in South Padre Island, Texas.

This week in history

On Sept. 13, 2013, Aptos football won its first game of the season against Seaside High School, 38-17. The Mariners went on to finish the season 11-2 and win the first Central Coast Section championship with Randy Blankenship as coach. The legendary coach with more than 300 career wins all over the state remains at the helm for Aptos a decade later.

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FOR THE RECORD: This story has been updated with the start date of SCCAL play in girls tennis.