The CIF Division 2 match was played at Oak Park, with morning rain giving way to sunshine on a windy autumn day. Despite a valiant effort, Cate Girls’ Varsity Tennis was unable to extend the 2022 season, falling 7-11 to #6-seed Oak Park.
Cate got off to a slow start, with #2 singles player Frances Davis out sick and a nationally-ranked singles player leading the line for Oak Park.
Niyati Guram defeated Cate #1 Alyna Takahashi 6-1, although Takahashi would recover to finish 2-1 on the day. Only the #2 doubles pairing of senior Ellie Tunnell and junior Sophie Alijani were able to take victory in the opening round, with a 5-5 set that ended in an injury default.
Cate rallied mightily in the second round, with a tie-break win for freshman Claire Bianchi against Oak Park #3 Shrya Alavarti, helping to keep the match from getting out of reach. Ella and Colette Chang came back from 1-3 down to add a doubles win and Tunnell/Alijani also won, bringing the match score back to 5-7.
In the third round, Cate received a quick win from Takahashi and the Chang Sisters ended older sister Ella Chang’s high school career with a dynamic performance ending in a backhand poach-winner from the older sister on match-point.
Oak Park took a 9-7 lead with wins at #2 and #3 singles, before their top doubles team rallied from love-40 at 4-5 down just as their #2 doubles team also recovered from 4-5 down to regain the lead over Cate’s senior/freshman #3’s Athena Ke/Pyper Davis. In the end, Oak Park would take the win 7-5 over Tunnell/Alijani to clinch the match and moments later a 7-5 win over Ke and Davis completed the match.
Cate finishes the season 6-4, having taken 2nd place in Tri-Valley League play and qualifying for CIF Playoffs for the 10th-consecutive season. Cate girls’ tennis also has the honor of being the smallest school (by enrollment size) to compete at the CIF Division 2 level and will likely return 6-of-9 starters for the 2023 season.