In the first round of play, the Cate team drew Frontier League #1’s from Villanova Prep. Wasting no time and giving nothing away, Gan/Madden clinched a second-round berth with a 6-0, 6-0 victory.
After a short break, they took the court again to face much more seasoned competition in the form of Thousand Oaks duo Mahli Silpachai and Emily Ackerman. The two freshman are both ranked in the top-25 in California and top-150 in the country in their class after years of competitive national-level tournament play.
The match was tense in the first few games of play, with the Cate girls losing the first four games, despite several deuce-games. Gan held serve with the help of Madden’s aggressive poaching to put Cate on the scoreboard, but the Thousand Oaks pair went on a run.
Through the middle part of the match, the Cate pair struggled to find a winning strategy, but found their feet again at 0-5 in the second set. With their backs against the wall, Julia Gan and McKenna Madden rallied to win the next three games on exciting, offensively-minded play from the baseline and net.
Silpachai/Ackerman were then able to regain their composure and serve out the match, but not before the Cate girls made it clear that they were capable of playing on-level with their higher-ranked opponents.
The Thousand Oaks team would go on to win their next match by a greater margin and will play in the final rounds of CIF Individuals next week.
In other local news, Carpinteria High senior Kelsie Bryant finally put three wins together to get her shot at the final rounds of CIF singles play. Bryant entered the tournament via her Tri-Valley League title, and so we will be following closely and cheering her on as she represents our league the final CIF tournament.