Cate girls’ tennis had to do without three key members of the team in today’s Tri-Valley League match, but rallied behind the new lineup to take a 13-5 win.
Freshman Ellie Tunnell, playing for the first time in the singles starting lineup, took a big win in the first round over Foothill Tech’s Clare Duganne, while Carol Cai moved at the last minute from the doubles lineup to beat Ella Duganne 6-0. Cai’s win matched top Cate player Grace Fuss’ 6-0 victory over Noelle Haywood for a Cate singles sweep in the first round.
Moving Cai from the doubles lineup meant that first-year varsity player Emily May would make her debut as a starter, pairing with junior Fritze Mayer at the #1 position. The two went down 0-3 early, but gamely battled Foothill’s senior tandem of Alyssa McClain and Jolie Seemayer all the way to a tie-breaker. Despite dropping that breaker, the two would rally to take 6-1, 6-2 victories in their remaining rounds.
The Cate doubles pairings of Mia Foster/Ashi Kamra and Julianna Forry/Maesa Vongkusolkit fared equally well against Foothill’s #2 and #3 doubles team, but no one could take down the experienced McClain/Seemayer combo on the day.
Coach Thorpe’s Comments:
We went down from 11 players to 9 in the two hours before the match, which is definitely the way to go into a match against a team sporting a 6-1 record, but injuries and illness happen. What makes this one of the best matches of the year in my mind is the way we handled it.
I had a good talk with my captains Grace and Carol and we put together the lineup we felt would put us in a position to win a close match, but then everyone kind of performed to “best-case-scenario” expectations.
Ellie was the epitome of heart in both of her matches and took a big win against a player who clearly had more training and match experience. She’s only beginning her time at Cate and we’re already seeing that she has the same heart and determination that her sister Kate displayed over the last couple of seasons.
I was also thrilled with the way Emily stepped up at #1 doubles. She’s very new to tennis compared to her peers, but she’s going to be an absolutely deadly doubles player and she gave us a good preview today.
We definitely owe our success to Carol and Fritze today, too. They are unbeaten in doubles together this season, but Carol stepped up and got the sweep today when we need her in singles, and Fritze played some of her best tennis today, which was key to allowing Emily to do what she did.
What’s next for Cate girls’ tennis?
Cate, now 6-0 on the season, plays away on Thursday against La Reina in a Tri-Valley League match.