Cate Girls’ Rally for 10-8 Win over DPHS

Cate Girls’ Tennis overcame a 2-4 start in the first round-of-play to defeat Dos Pueblos High School 10-8.

Cate struck first with quick wins from Grace Fuss at #1 singles and Carol Cai/Fritze Mayer at #1 doubles, but that would be it for the Rams in round one. Dos Pueblos fielded got quick wins at #2 and #3 doubles and Alessa Sommer came from 2-3 down to win the next four games against sophomore Aminah Hill.

Cate quickly righted the ship in the second round, winning the next three sets and pulling even at 6-6 by the end of the second round, thanks to strong play from senior Mia Foster and sophomore Ashi Kamra at the #2 position.

Kamra and Foster continued their strong play in the third round with a 6-2 victory to duplicate their win in the second round. 

Cai/Mayer and Fuss remained undefeated on the season with convincing second and third round wins.

Hill rallied from her first round loss to collect two key wins, including the 10th and match-clinching win in the final round.

Coach Thorpe’s Comments

I think it’s been 10 years since we last played DP, and I remember the last one not going so well for us, so this was a good win. They’ve got a very balanced team and with this being our first week of match-play, they really had us on the back foot in that first round.

We’re fortunate to have unmovable rocks at #1 singles and doubles, but it takes more than six sets to win a match. So far this season, both against Santa Barbara and Dos Pueblos, we’ve had some less experienced players step up and get us big wins in the clutch. 

Ashi Kamra and Mia Foster were a combined 0-5 on Tuesday against Santa Barbara, but today, their two wins were the key to us taking this match. 

To me, that’s one sign of a quality team; on any given day, any player on the team is capable of stepping up for the big win when the match is on the line. I’m very proud of the way my girls competed and managed the pressure today.

What’s Next for Cate Girls’ Tennis

Cate, now 2-0 on the season, will open Tri-Valley League regular season play at home against La Reina at 3:45pm on Tuesday, September 24th.

Cate Girls Off to 10X Start to 2019 Season with Win Over SBHS

Cate girls tennis opened their 2019 season account with a 10-8 win over Santa Barbara High School.

Cate overcame SBHS, a school ten times its size, with dominant play at the top singles and doubles positions.

Senior Grace Fuss was a perfect 18-0 in games across her three sets of play, while the senior/junior duo of Carol Cai and Fritze Mayer won theirs 6-3, 6-3, 6-0.

Cate sophomores also played a crucial role in the victory. Aminah Hill chipped in two 6-2 sets, before dropping her final set 4-6 against SBHS #1 Sophia Ostravany.

The 10th and match-clinching set was won by sophomores Julianna Forry and Maesa Vonkusolkit, who were both making their varsity debuts on the day. The 6-4 win was all the more impressive having come against the top SBHS team of Hannah Mendez and Natalie Brewer.

Coach Thorpe’s Comments

I couldn’t have asked for a better start to our season. We shook off some first-match nerves and got a lot of great match-play against a solid opponent. 

Of course, coming out with the win makes it even better. We’ve got a goal of being the top girls’ tennis team in Santa Barbara County this season, and this was a solid first step towards that goal.

Our experienced players really carried us through the early rounds, but we got some nice wins from younger players, too. I was really impressed by the way Maesa Vonkusolkit rallied from losing her first two matches and Julianna Forry was ready to step in and take full advantage of the opportunity joining Maesa in the final round. To get the match-clinching win from a team who have never played a varsity doubles match before is huge.

What’s Ahead

The Rams will have another chance to lay claim to that title on Thursday, when they play away at Dos Pueblo’s High School at 3pm.

Thorpe Tennis: 2018 Year-in-Review

This post is coming a little later than my typical annual review, but there was no shortage of great things to write about.

As I looked back at last year’s review, I noticed a trend. It’s actually something I think about often. Tennis, and specifically the Thorpe Tennis community, returns every effort I give, with interest.

In 2018, I worked on 258 days, including one stretch of 51 consecutive days. I loved almost every minute of it. That’s not to say there aren’t difficult moments, but every time I step on-court I am filled with a passion for what we can do together to grow as players and as people.

This last spring, Laguna Blanca Boys’ Tennis rewarded me with my 100th win in 9 seasons as their head coach. We graduated a class that went 52-12 in four years of regular season play and reached the CIF D4 Quarterfinals in each of their last two seasons.

The summer was filled with several blocks of group training weeks, where players got 2-4 hours in per day and made some big gains. I also did many hitting lessons this summer, with students of all ages. Of particular satisfaction was the time spent continuing to improve the tennis of some recent graduates of my high school programs (Conrad Perry, I’m looking at you!).

Also, this summer, I had the pleasure of preparing a special group of incoming freshmen girls for high school tennis. Madeleine Nicks, Ava Rice, Amara Murphy, and Lauren Neubauer all put in big time over the summer to hit the ground running at Laguna Blanca. While I don’t coach that team, I am very excited to see what that core unit can do in the coming years and love that I get to be part of it.

Speaking of girls’ high school tennis, when I think about the program that we’ve developed together at the Cate School, it always gets me fired up. This year, Cate Girls’ Tennis went 12-1 during regular season play and put in a solid effort against eventual CIF D1 Champions, Mira Costa, in the playoffs.

During this period, my girls also helped me to reach the 100-win mark across 10 seasons coaching at Cate. Cate Girls’ Tennis has been utterly dominant in Tri-Valley League play, as well as fielding some of the best players in CIF Individuals year after year.

One of the biggest revelations of the year was the progress I got to make with one of my most dedicated students, Jake Gidney. Over the last year, Jake has improved by leaps and bounds through his commitment to being a better tennis player every day. He’s now wading into tournament play and is quite comfortable playing with players several years older than him. Keep an eye on that kid 😉

Part of the reason players like Jake get to reach new levels and play against stronger competition is that Thorpe Tennis has such a great participation rate with group sessions.

I have been working to expand these groups to offer players the opportunity to 1) play more often 2) play with different opponents at different levels 3) have a ton of fun! We had some absolutely ridiculous moments in 2018, let me tell you.

All of this is to say, I feel very honored to be a coach and a role model to this wonderful group of people. I get so much positive feedback and support from my students and their families. I am filled with the joy of passing on my knowledge and just being part of the process. This motivates me daily to improve what I have to offer as a coach and to reach my full potential as a human being. This is truly a virtuous cycle!

Sincerely,

Coach Trevor

Cate Dominates Prep School Tournament

IMG_20180928_153851_1Cate Girls’ Tennis was utterly dominant over the weekend against Stevenson (Pebble Beach) and the Webb School.

The tournament, hosted at the Cate Mesa, brought the three prep school programs together for a round-robin format tournament. The Nor Cal high school format was used, meaning each team fielded four singles players and three doubles teams in the head-to-head matches. Matches were played best-of-three sets, with a 10-point tie-breaker to decide the third set. Continue reading

Cate Girls’ Tennis Opens Season 3-0

IMG_6606Cate Varsity Tennis had to be off-and-running very quickly this year, with the first match of the season coming with just four days of practice. Despite the early start, the girls came through with a victory against Rio Mesa High School and then followed that up with a win over Santa Barbara High School before outings week.

Returning from outings week can always be tricky and the 10-day break was apparent in the first days of practice. Still, when match-time came last Friday against Carpinteria High School, the Cate program was ready to take care of business.

Match Recaps

Cate @ Rio Mesa, 11-7 Win

The singles lineup was led by junior Grace Fuss, who battled fiercely with the higher-ranked Jupneet Singh of Rio Mesa, before going on to win her other two sets on the day.

Freshman Aminah Hill also impressed in her team debut, winning two sets as well. Senior Sydney Burton added a win in two sets-of-play before being substituted in the final round.

In doubles, Cate could count on the experience of two-time Tri-Valley League Doubles Runner-Up Sarah Polowczak, who paired with standout sophomore Fritze Mayer for two convincing victories. The pair were substituted in the third round-of-play, yielding the court to Mia Foster and Tali Nam, who picked up a nice 7-5 victory.

Seniors Kate Tunnell and Jennifer Soh also came out strong in their season debut, winning their first two sets, before dropping a closely contested set with the Rio Mesa #1 team in the third round.

Cate v. Santa Barbara, 10-8 Win

For the second year in-a-row Cate girls tennis has overcome Santa Barbara High, a school with 10x its enrollment, to validate their position as one of the top teams in Santa Barbara County.

Cate was led by junior Grace Fuss, who looked untroubled in three quick victories on the day. Senior Sydney Burton added two wins and freshman Aminah Hill added another, giving Cate a 6-3 advantage in singles play.

In doubles, the match was more even, with senior/sophomore combo Sarah Polowczak and Fritze Mayer moving to 5-0 on the season with a sweep of their three rounds. Wins were harder to come by at the #2 and #3 positions, with seniors Jennifer Soh and Kate Tunnell earning a single, but decisive win in the final round.

Coach’s Comments: “I’m very pleased with the match today. It was competitive, particularly in doubles, and we came out with another win against a large public school. Given that we’re only a week-and-a-half into practicing together, to be 2-0 going into Outings Week is awesome.

Santa Barbara may not be the powerhouse they once were, but they’ve got what is clearly a nice group of girls who are eager to maximize their potential as tennis players. That’s exactly what we do here at Cate so it’s always a pleasure to play like-minded programs.”

Cate v. Carpinteria, 14-4 Win

In a comprehensive decision in the Carpinteria cross-town rivalry, wins were spread evenly between singles and doubles, with Cate earning 7-of-9 sets in each half of the scoresheet.

The home team earned sweeps at the #1 and #2 singles positions from juniors Grace Fuss and Carol Cai. Cai is active in match-play for the first time this season after an off-season shoulder surgery, but is already showing signs of the form that saw her finish amongst the top-16 doubles teams in CIF-Southern Section last year.

Senior Kate Tunnell, normally a staple of the Cate doubles lineup added a win, defeating the Carpinteria #2 singles player 6-2 in the second round-of-play.

In doubles, Sarah Polowczak and Fritze Mayer remain undefeated on the season, winning their sets 6-2, 6-2, 6-0. Pairings Jennifer Soh/Madeline Vanica and Yuki Kobayashi/Mia Foster both added two sets to the Cate tally.

Cate is now 3-0, while Carpinteria moves to 7-4.

What’s Up Next?

Cate begins Tri-Valley League play at the Thacher School next Thursday at 3:15pm. Expect more of these match recap posts as well as other tennis content in the near future!

Laguna Blanca Surges to CIF Quarterfinals

ORG_DSC00096Laguna Blanca advanced to the CIF D4 Playoffs Quarterfinal Round for the second consecutive year with a 13-5 victory over rival Rio Mesa of Oxnard. The teams have played each other in each of the last five seasons, with every match decided 10-8 or 9-9, including a 10-8 win for Laguna earlier this season.

How it Happened

Rio Mesa relied on their nationally-ranked top player Andy Hess to put the first set on the board, though Alex Furukawa gave Hess a strong challenge in the second half of the set. After going down 0-3 in the first five minutes of play, Furukawa began to find his rhythm, taking two games and creating a number of opportunities for himself through aggressive play.

Laguna’s top doubles pairing, seniors Conor Scheinberg and Jason Barnick began the match at #3 doubles, making a quick response to Hess’s 6-2 win with a 6-0 win of their own.

At the end of round one, Laguna took a 4-2 lead on the back of a tie-break win from senior Kelvin Chen and freshman Ryan Purkait, who fought back from a 2-4 deficit. “I’m just so thankful to have all my teammates standing there and cheering for us,” said the senior at the end of the match. In what was a very tight set, Chen and Purkait came through at all the critical moments, buoyed by the support of their teammates.

Victor Liu (pictured above) had a stand-out performance on the day, with the senior taking two-of-three sets and beating two players he had lost two earlier in the season. After his victory over Rio #2 Andrew Diaz, Laguna Blanca continued to roll, finishing the second round-of-play with an 8-4 lead.

In the final round, only Rio’s Andy Hess was able to take set from the Owls. Despite having a solid lead, Laguna continued to compete at a high level, not only to ensure victory, but to practice strategies that might be useful down the line.

Scheinberg and Barnick completed a sweep of their three sets, avenging a 4-6 loss against the #1 Rio combo with a 6-3 victory. After trailing 0-2 earlier, the veteran Owls rallied and looked dominant, winning six of the next seven games. This match appeared to be a turning point for the seniors, who had struggled against opponent #1 teams throughout the season.

Coach’s Notes

I’m so proud of the way my guys competed today. This was our best performance of the season and it came against a tough opponent at an important time. We’ve been on the cusp of reaching another level for most of the season and today we found that extra level.

The difference was the way we supported each other, which I think led to more engagement. This was the first match that really felt like full-on playoff intensity from all our guys. All ten of our guys were totally committed on the court and they got great energy from the rest of the team looking on.

We’re looking forward to another CIF Quarterfinals appearance on Monday and hoping to take it a step further.

What’s Next?

Laguna Blanca will play away against the #4-seeded Laguna Beach at 3pm on Monday.