The Santa Barbara Athletic Roundtable has recently announced Carol Cai and Grace Fuss as the co-winners of the “tennis player of the year” award for the 2019-2020 school year.
I’m very excited for Grace and Carol to be receiving the player of the year award as a doubles team. Together, they were a top-16 team in CIF Southern Section this year and were also excellent Co-Captains of our team at Cate.
They led our squad to a 10-0 regular season record, including wins over the top-3 public schools in Santa Barbara County. In addition, they helped us qualify for three-consecutive CIF D1 Playoff appearances (as freshmen they led us to a top-5 seeding in D2 Playoffs). During that time, Cate tennis had a 45-3 regular season record and went undefeated in Tri-Valley League play.
Grace has been an absolute game-changer for us, playing number one singles all four seasons at Cate. During that time, she was twice runner-up for the Tri-Valley League singles title and shared two Tri-Valley doubles titles with Carol. Even though she came in as a nationally-ranked singles player, it was incredible to watch Grace develop from a gritty, defensive-minded player into a powerful, confident striker who was a force in both singles and doubles.
It’s hard to understate what Carol has been for this Cate team. She never lost a Tri-Valley Individuals match, finishing her high school career as the four-time Tri-Valley League doubles champ. A doubles specialist with killer instincts and quick hands, she twice reached the Round-of-16 in CIF Sectionals, first with her sister Jackie as a sophomore, and again with Grace as a senior. It’s hard to argue that Carol is probably the most dominant doubles player in Cate school history.