Cate’s Grace Fuss advanced to the singles league finals for the second time in two seasons on Thursday at Pepperdine University. Fuss finished the regular season a perfect 23-0 in TVL singles play and 33-2 across all matches.
Last year as a freshman, she lost a close contest against senior Sophie Aulicino from La Reina. In this year’s final, it was another La Reina player (Tiara Nourishad), who denied Fuss the title.
Though Fuss went in as the favorite, it was clear from the early points that it would be a battle. Three hours later, Fuss led 4-6,6-3, 5-3 but it was Nourishad who mustered the winners to take the last few games of the match, winning the deciding set 7-5.
Cate was also represented in singles play by junior Sydney Burton, who won her first round match by a wide margin, before losing to Malibu’s top player in Zoe Nathan. Though Burton went down 8-2 in the pro-set against Nathan, nearly every game went to deuce, with the difference between the two only apparent in break point conversions.
In doubles, defending TVL champions Jackie and Carol Cai advanced to the finals with a quick 8-1 pro-set in the quarterfinal round before defeating Thacher’s #2 team 6-0, 6-1 in the semifinals.
Sarah Polowczak and Janice Ng faced a stiffer challenge in the quarterfinal round against a creative lob-and-poach strategy from Malibu’s #1 doubles team. They came through the pro-set 8-6 and then defeated Thacher’s #1’s 6-3, 6-0, getting significantly stronger as play continued.
In the all-Cate final, the Cai sisters used their natural connection to take a 6-0, 6-1 victory.
Fuss, Cai/Cai, and Polowczak/Ng will all play in the CIF Individuals tournament on Monday, November 20th and achieved TVL 1st Team All-League Honors. Burton did not advance to the CIF round, but earned the 2nd Team All-League nod.