Last updateWed, 18 Oct 2017 10am


St. Francis golfers finish 5th at state

Courtesy of Phil Marrone
The St. Francis High girls golf team – featuring, from left, Nancy Xu, Caitlin Crosby, Bibilani Liu, Alexis Opsasnick, Valerie Wang and Jacqueline Sun – won the NorCal title last month.

Doomed by a bevy of bogeys, the St. Francis High girls golf team finished far from first at last week’s state championships. The Lancers took fifth out of six teams, 74 strokes behind winner Torrey Pines.

St. Francis’ top five finishers (whose rounds counted toward the team score) combined for 33 bogeys and 19 double bogeys, while totaling just three birdies.

Not the kind of day the Lancers – who claimed the Northern California crown two weeks earlier – expected or could overcome against the state’s top teams.

Although the Nov. 20 event was held in the north, squads from the south felt right at home on the course at Quail Lodge & Golf Club in Carmel Valley. Defending champ Torrey Pines shot 364; runners-up Diamond Bar and Walnut each tallied 396 to beat fourth-place Palo Alto by 27 strokes.

“Those SoCal schools are really good,” St. Francis coach Phil Marrone said. “Torrey Pines is flat-out amazing.”

While the Lancers were less than amazing, Marrone deemed the event beneficial to the growth of his young team.

“The state tournament was good experience for us,” he said.

West Catholic Athletic League champ St. Francis won the NorCal title – the first in program history – with a lineup comprising two seniors, a junior, a sophomore and two freshmen.

“I’m pleased and excited for the girls – not only for this season, but for some seasons to come,” said Marrone, whose team had never before made it to state. “We have a solid core of young players in the top six.”

Freshman Bibilani Liu led the Lancers last week, shooting a 3-over-par 75 to tie for 13th individually. Sophomore Valerie Wang followed with an 80, tying for 30th, and senior Nancy Xu shot 84 to place 38th at state. Xu qualified for state as an individual last year, finishing 33rd.

Boys water polo

In a back-and-forth game, No. 3 Menlo-Atherton edged second-seeded St. Francis 9-7 last week in the Central Coast Section Division I semifinals.

The Lancers led 2-1 after the first quarter, but the host Bears tied the game at 3 by halftime. In the third quarter, St. Francis pulled ahead again, 6-4, only to watch Menlo-Atherton go on a 2-0 run in the fourth to force overtime. The Bears sustained their momentum in OT, outscoring the Lancers 3-1 to advance.

“It is always tough to lose your last game, especially such a well-played, competitive game like (this one),” St. Francis coach Terry O’Donnell said after the Nov. 19 semifinal. “Menlo-Atherton and St. Francis both battled, and I thought both defenses were amazing.”

Sophomore Andrew Goodenough was the lone Lancer to score more than one goal, tallying two. Shawn Welch, Trevor Raish, Quinn Vitakis, Adam Antony and Sean Elmurib added a goal each.

St. Francis finished the year with a 12-17 record and placed fourth in the ultracompetitive WCAL.

“This has been a great season for us,” O’Donnell said. “We worked hard everyday and really had a great attitude.”

Field hockey

For the second consecutive year, St. Francis’ season ended in the CCS semifinals. No. 2 Los Gatos edged the third-seeded Lancers 2-1 Nov. 20 at Leland.

St. Francis went 18-2-1 this year.

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