Cate Moves into 1st Place in Tri-Valley with 11-7 Win over Foothill

Cate Girls’ Tennis went 2-0 this week, with a dominant 18-0 performance on Tuesday at St. Bonaventure leading into an 11-7 victory over league rival Foothill Tech today. Cate now stands at 5-1 on the season and holds the top spot in the Tri-Valley League standings with just 3 more matches on the league calendar.

Cate @ St. Bonaventure: 18-0 Win

Cate was unblemished in it’s Tuesday match at Ventura College, completing the first round of league play with an 18-0 victory over the Seraphs.

In singles play, Aminah Hill went 2-0 before giving way to Caroline Batchelder, who took a nice 6-3 victory in the third round. Alyna Takahashi and Nikita Nautiyal were both 3-0 on the day.

In doubles, senior/freshman combo Ashi Kamra and Colette Chang moved to 8-0 on the season, while Ella Chang/Ellie Tunnell and Julianna Forry/Sophie Alijani also went undefeated in three rounds-of-play.

Cate v. Foothill Tech: 11-7 Win

In the second match of the week, Cate avenged their only loss of the season with an 11-7 victory that was unequivocally the best performance of the year thus far.

Cate’s #1 singles and doubles led the charge, with senior Aminah Hill taking a 6-3 victory over her previously undefeated opponent and Ashi Kamra/Colette Chang putting in a dominant 6-1 showing in doubles.

Kamra and Chang moved to 11-0 on the season and are the only undefeated team in the Tri-Valley League, which puts them in poll position to claim the league individuals title in doubles.

Aminah Hill finished the day 2-1, defeating the Foothill #1 and #2 players, Frances and Anna English, only dropping a tight 4-7 tie-breaker to Kira Branson after going down 0-3 to start that round.

Alyna Takahashi also went 2-1 in singles for Cate, taking a 6-4 victory over the #2 and then benefitting from the work Hill had done to wear Branson down in the second round to take a 6-1 victory in the third.

Senior Julianna Forry went 0-3 on the day, but had, perhaps, her best performance ever at Cate, taking valuable games and wearing down the Foothill singles players in what was her first singles match appearance in years.

The partnerships of Emily May/Ella Chang and Ellie Tunnell/Frances Davis both went 2-1 on the day and nearly pulled off sweeps, with both teams losing in the final round after the match had already been decided.

Coach Thorpe’s Comments:

These are the matches that keep me coming back after 13 seasons. High school coaching gigs are not well-paid, they’re not lauded, and they come with significant commitments of time and energy. But I love it!

The reward, at least for me, is almost entirely in seeing my players grow and reach their potential. This was one of the most enjoyable matches I’ve coached in 25 seasons of high school tennis, between two very successful teams.

This group of girls is extremely coachable and determined. They are a joy to work with every day and I was very disappointed for them after our first match against Foothill, because I knew they didn’t show their best. We worked really hard in practice and in our matches over the last two weeks to be ready for this re-match, and I’m delighted that the girls’ got the result they deserved.

Today, this team showed its full potential while maintaining the same level of class and sportsmanship that has always characterized Cate Girls’ Tennis.

What’s next for Cate Girls’ Tennis:

Cate plays league opponent Laguna Blanca next Tuesday in Hope Ranch in the only match of the coming week. The San Marcos match previously scheduled for October 15th has been moved to October 20th.

Cate Girls’ Split First Week of League Matches

Cate Girls’ Tennis opened the Tri-Valley League season with a 5-13 loss against last year’s league champions (Foothill Tech), but rallied gamely for a 15-3 win over previously undefeated Laguna Blanca two days later.

Tuesday, September 21: Foothill Tech d. Cate 13-5

In the first round of play, Cate managed to win just one set as the girls returned to matchplay for the first time in four weeks. Playing at #3 doubles, senior Julianna Forry and junior Nikita Nautiyal cruised to a 6-2 win, while #1 doubles lost a 7-9 tie-breaker and #2 doubles lost a tight 5-7 set.

It was a struggle in singles as well for the Rams, as Foothill Tech fielded three tournament-level players and more recent match-play. In fact, it was not until the final singles match on-court that Cate drew blood in singles, with new sophomore Alyna Takahashi taking her first win of the season against the Foothill #2, Anna English.

The later rounds proved better for Cate doubles as well, with seniors Emily May and Ashi Kamra rallying for 6-2, 6-4 wins and sisters Ella and Colette Chang also picking up a win over the Foothill Tech #3 team.

Thursday, September 23: Cate d. Laguna Blanca 15-3

In a complete reversal to Tuesday’s match, Cate came out firing against a 5-0 Laguna Blanca team, sweeping the first six sets-of-play.

In the first round, senior Aminah Hill struck a devastating blow to Laguna’s chances, defeating their ace #1 singles player Mina Yazadhiev 6-3. Hill finished 3-0 on the day, while junior Ellie Tunnell and sophomore Alyna Takahashi collected two wins each in singles play.

In doubles action, Cate’s #1 pairing Ashi Kamra/Colette Chang won three convincing sets (6-1, 6-3, 6-0), while Emily May/Ella Chang also swept (7-6, 6-3, 6-0). Julianna Forry went 1-1 with partner Nikita Nautiyal in the first two rounds, before partnering with Sophie Alijani to take an impressive 6-1 victory over the Laguna #1 team in the final round-of-play.

Coach Thorpe’s Comments:

While we had practiced well after outings week, it was clear on Tuesday that we lacked some match-readiness. I think had we managed to win those tight doubles sets in the first round to go 3-3 instead of 1-5, the match might have ended differently.

That being said, we improved markedly in our match on Thursday against Laguna Blanca and I think we’re on-track to give Foothill Tech a run for their money in our next meeting. Throughout both matches, I saw lots of good teamwork and support, and coupling that with the progression of our match-play as we get deeper into the season will yield dividends.

Also, this year’s team has shown some excellent marketing skills! Drawing attention to our home match against Laguna by wearing blazers to school was a genius move, so it’s clear we’ve got some creative intelligence to work with should we need it later in the season.

What’s next for Cate Tennis?

Cate will travel away to Thacher on Thursday, September 30th for the classic Santa Barbara Area boarding school rivalry!

Cate’s 44-Match Win-Streak Snapped by Strong Foothill Tech Singles Lineup

Cate Girls’ Tennis lost a league match for the first time since October of 2014 today while playing visiting Foothill Tech. The match was a cliff-hanger until the third round-of-play, but in the end, the Servons came up short in a 7-11 defeat.

How the match unfolded

Foothill Tech fielded a lineup featuring several several seniors who will be playing at the D3 level in college next year, as well as a third tournament-level player. The formidable singles lineup left Cate as the considerable underdog coming into the match, but Cate pushed the Dragons to their limit.

The first round of play ended in a draw, with Foothill Tech sweeping singles play 6-1, 6-0, 6-1. Cate fired off a similarly dominant performance in doubles, taking three wins of their own (6-0, 6-1, 6-3).

In the second round-of-play, it was much the same, with Cate dominating against Foothill’s #2 and #3 doubles lines, while the Dragons picked up 6-0, 6-0 wins from their #1 and #2 singles players. Junior Aminah Hill broke through with a 6-3 victory playing against the #3 singles opponent, but senior Yuki Kobayashi and junior Ashi Kamra dropped a 4-1 lead against the Foothill #1’s in a 5-7 defeat.

The Foothill #1 doubles team got hot after their comeback and took a 6-1 victory over junior/sophomore combo Julianna Forry/Ella Chang, who had registered quick wins in their first two rounds.

Senior Fritze Mayer and junior Emily May finished the day undefeated with 6-0, 6-1, 6-2 victories to move to 10-0 on the season, but it wasn’t enough for the Servons, who lost 2 doubles matches in the final round.

Despite a mathematically inevitability of losing games, Aminah Hill and Ellie Tunnell battled on to try for a 9-9 tie in the last two matches on-court. Tunnell came back from 0-4 to fall just short at 4-6, while Hill, dropped her final set against the UC Santa Cruz-bound Jolie Seemayer 5-7.

Coaches Thorpe’s Comments

Our streak came to an end, but we competed hard and showed our character. The girls were both fierce competitors and exhibited exceptional sportsmanship. Sometimes you learn more in defeat than in victory, and what was revealed today leaves me feeling very proud as a coach. We faced a tough opponent who took a well-deserved win from us today, but I feel strongly that this match will be a big motivator for us going forward as a team and we’ll be looking forward to the rematch in the fall!

What’s Next for Cate Girls’ Tennis

Cate plays its next few matches in Ojai, with Villanova High School on Thursday at 3:30pm, followed by an exhibition match against Thacher on Saturday at 3pm.

Match Week 2: Cate Girls Go 2-0, Laguna Boys split while playing short-handed

It was a busy week for Coach Thorpe, with four matches in five days that also included a match between Cate and Laguna Blanca, but there will be little respite as the same is scheduled for the following week. On to the recaps!

Monday, April 19: Cate d. Providence 14-4

Cate Girls’ Tennis played Providence High School for the first time and came out with a convincing victory. Read more about it here.

Wednesday, April 21: Foothill Tech d. Laguna Blanca 12-6

The Owls took their first defeat of the season while playing short-handed. Freshman #1 Keanu Nakamura lost a tight 4-6 set in the first round before subbing out and Laguna struggled for wins in singles. Senior Andreas Jackson picked up the lone win with a 6-2 victory against the Dragons #3 player.

In doubles, the Owls faired much better, taking 5-of-9 sets despite going winless against Foothill’s #1 team.

Senior combo Ryan Purkait and Nic Richmond took 6-1, 6-0 victories and junior/sophomore combo Ben Rodgers and Aden Meisel added two wins. In the first round, Rodgers and Meisel battled to an 11-9 tie-break win against the Foothill #2 before cruising to a 6-0 win in the third round. George Nicks and Cody Busch-Weiss added a 6-4 set against the #3’s to the Laguna win-column.

Thursday, April 22: Cate d. Laguna Blanca 12-6

Despite winning just one game in three sets against Laguna’s freshman #1 Mina Yazadzhiev, Cate managed to put another match in the win column.

Buoyed by sweeps at #1 and #2 doubles, Cate finished the match with seven wins in doubles and five in singles for a 12-6 final score.

Senior Fritze Mayer and junior Emily May won their sets 6-1, 6-1, 6-0 to move to 7-0 on the season, while senior/junior combo Yuki Kobayashi and Ashi Kamra won 6-4, 6-0, 6-1. Kamra is now a perfect 9-0 on the season. Julianna Forry and Sophie Alijani added a 7-5 win in the first round.

Juniors Aminah Hill and Ellie Tunnell each finished the day 2-1, while sophomore Ella Chang rallied from losses in the first two rounds to defeat the Laguna #2 6-3 in the final round of play.

Cate moves to 3-0 with the win and will play next on Monday, April 26th against an undefeated Foothill Tech team that threatens to end a 44-match win-streak in Tri-Valley League play that stretches all the way back to 2014.

Friday, April 23: Laguna Blanca d. St. Bonaventure 14-4

The Owls tasted victory for the second time this season (2-1 overall) with a convincing victory over short-handed St. Bonny, who had to forfeit all three rounds at #2 and #3 doubles. The match was anything but boring though, as Bonny fielded a solid singles lineup and a determined #1 doubles team.

The stand-out performance of the day came from sophomore Aden Meisel, playing at the #3 singles position for the first time. After watching his teammates fall to the #1 singles player from St. Bonaventure 4-6 and 0-6, Meisel turned it around for the Owls with a 6-4 victory in the last match of the day. The Laguna sophomore finished the day undefeated with a 6-4, 6-2, 6-0 line.

Laguna took two-of-three in doubles, with Ryan Purkait and Nic Richmond collecting a 6-1 win and frosh combo Cody Busch-Weiss and Jake Gidney also defeating the Bonny #1’s with a 6-4 score.

In singles, senior Andreas Jackson took two-of-three and looked to be building back some of his old form after a long layoff from regular competitive play, while junior Ben Rodgers took a nice 6-4 victory over the St. Bonaventure #2.

Laguna Blanca plays next on Friday, April 30th in the second Laguna/Cate rivalry matchup, where Coach Thorpe will hope to turn the tide for the Owls, who lost to his Cate girls’ team earlier in the week. Confused yet? So am I! So am I. What a crazy year this has been over at Thorpe Tennis!

Cate Alternates Step Up in 13-5 Win over Foothill Tech

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.

Cate Moves to 7-0 with Two More Decisive Wins

Cate Girls’ Tennis continues to pick up steam headed into the big show-down with San Marcos High.

Cate v. La Reina, 16-2 Win

Cate took another overwhelming victory last Thursday against Tri-Valley League
opponent La Reina.

Sophomore Grace Fuss led the charge with a sweep, including a convincing 6-1 victory over Tiara Nourishad, who is currently ranked #85 in California amongst juniors. Nourishad rallied to collect La Reina’s two wins on the day.

All eleven active players on the Cate roster picked up at least one win on the day. Continue reading

Laguna Blanca Tennis Now 10-3, Ranked #7 in CIF

With just three matches left, Laguna Blanca Boys’ Tennis continues to roll towards a CIF Playoff appearance. The team will need to win its final three matches to clinch a playoff spot. Here’s a quick recap of the last two weeks of play:

Laguna Blanca @ Foothill Tech (9-9, 72-68)

In what has been the closest match of the season, the Owls narrowly defeated a strong Foothill Tech team. The teams were evenly matched in the singles positions, with Alex Furukawa taking two wins and Victor Liu and Kai Nakamura pitched in wins over Foothill #3 player Ethan Wang.

Doubles was a lopsided affair, with the Foothill #1’s easily taking their three sets, while Laguna gave just a handful of games up against in the other six sets. In the end, the margin of victory on the doubles side of the match set Laguna up to win by four games.

Laguna Blanca v. Cate School (3-15)

The Cate School remains undefeated on the season, having already beaten Dos Pueblos, San Marcos, and Santa Barbara High Schools on the strength of the Ha brothers (Kevin, Ethan) in singles and a stellar #1 doubles pairing. This is the big year for Cate, as three of these four players will graduate or be ineligible for the 2018 season.

Although the score appears lopsided, the Owls took great satisfaction from the match, coming away with some high-quality experience and the knowledge that four of the lost sets were very evenly contested (6-7, 6-7, 5-7, 5-7). In particular, Laguna’s #1 doubles duo Conor Scheinberg and Jason Barnick impressed with their gutsy performances on the day, winning two sets and losing to Cate’s #1’s in a tie-break set.

Laguna Blanca v. Carpinteria (12-6)

In the first match of the season against Carpinteria, Laguna barely squeaked by with a 10-8 victory after struggling in doubles play. This time, with partnerships more settled, Laguna was able to take and hold a steady lead throughout the match.

Alex Furukawa was dominant at #1 singles, dropping just a couple games. Victor Liu also beat the Carpinteria #2 by a much greater margin than he had in the first match. Kai Nakamura nearly ended the match with a win over Jeremy Saito (Carp’s #1) after battling for nearly an hour to a 7-9 tie-break loss.

Laguna Blanca @ Thacher (4-14)

In what was a somewhat forgettable performance, Laguna failed to pull in a single set in doubles play. Singles play was more evenly matched, with Furukawa taking two wins and Liu and Nakamura each winning once and playing close sets against the Thacher #2. Thacher held a 7-1 record going into the match while playing a division above Laguna and their strength in depth was just too much for the Owls.

Laguna Blanca @ Lompoc (16-2)

The owls dominated every position in the lineup except at #2 doubles. Though the windy conditions played to the advantage of the home-team, the Owls brought too much experience to the match to be challenged. This win also marks the 10th victory of the season, making it five consecutive season the Owls have achieved double-digit wins. For more about past performances, check out the Laguna Blanca Team History page.

Looking Ahead

Laguna Varsity Boys’ Tennis faces three more opponents in the regular season, including two that have already been beaten by the Owls earlier in the year. Assuming a sweep of these matches, Laguna would finish the season 13-3, clinching a wildcard playoff berth with a more than 80% win-percentage. In addition, Laguna Blanca remains a top-10 ranked team in CIF D4, coming in at #7 in the most recent poll.

CIF April 24 Rankings