Cate Finishes Regular Season 8-2, 7-1 in League

Cate Girls’ Tennis split a pair of matches on Wednesday and Thursday of last week, dropping a 14-4 decision against San Marcos before rallying to a 17-1 victory over St. Bonaventure on Senior Day.

Cate played solidly in the first round against 14-0 San Marcos High School, with the match hanging at 2-3 with a tie-breaker under way at #3 doubles. In the end, the partnership of Julianna Forry and Ellie Tunnell wasn’t quite enough to overcome a stacked #3 San Marcos team, dropping the tie-breaker 6-8.

The trend of closer sets going in San Marcos’ favor continued in the remaining two rounds, with Cate dropping 4 more sets that went 4-6 or 5-7, managing to only snag two more set-wins (both in the second round). The top performer on the day was senior captain Aminah Hill, who picked up two wins and played a solid 3-6 set against Natasha Gill, the top San Marcos player.

The St. Bonaventure match was a different affair altogether, with a total of 16 Cate students (including four JV players) participating in the 17-1 victory. Junior Ellie Tunnell went 3-0 on the day, as did sophomore Sophie Alijani, as the only two Cate students to play all three rounds.

Senior captains Aminah Hill and Emily May won their doubles matches 6-0, 6-0, while senior Ashi Kamra took Hill’s place at #1 singles and went 6-1, 6-1 on the day. The fourth Cate senior, Julianna Forry, won her lone set on the day playing at #2 doubles with Alijani by a 6-2 score.

Coach Thorpe’s Comments:

The St. Bonny match was a real joy to participate in, with so many parents around for parents’ weekend and so many of our girls able to be involved in the match. It’s always fun to switch up the lineup, and the truth is, the way we practice and learn cohesive strategy (particularly in doubles), the new roles tend to come easily to the girls. I’m also happy to see that our top JV girls have improved this season and hopefully one or two of them will reach the next level and join us on varsity next season.

As far as the San Marcos match goes, I feel that match was just what we needed as we turn our attention towards the high level competition of individuals and team playoffs. San Marcos the #5-seeded team in D2, so I see that team as equivalent to the best we could potentially face in our D3 playoffs next week.

I have seen time and time again at Cate that when these girls are challenged and take a tough loss, they take the experience well and are better the next time. For example, we turned a 5-13 loss against Foothill Tech earlier this season into an 11-7 win just a few weeks later.

Going farther back, we moved from D4 to D2 in 2014 after a CIF QF appearance, and struggled with the higher level in the playoffs the following season. However, in 2016 and 2017 we rallied, reaching the CIF D2 QF’s and earning our spot amongst the top teams in California in D1 for 2018-2020.

As I try to tell my teams every year, the latin root of the word competition means “to seek together.” This means the goal of competition is to push your opponent to their best and have them do the same for you, which results in everyone rising to their full potential. When you take this approach, it’s hard to be disappointed in a hard-fought loss like our match against San Marcos, because we earned ourselves access to that higher potential level for the future.

What’s next for Cate Girls’ Tennis?

Cate fields two singles players and two doubles teams in the Tri-Valley League Individuals Tournament today at Thacher School. Aminah Hill and Alyna Takahashi enter the draw as #3 and #4 seeds, respectively. In doubles Emily May/Ella Chang are the #2 seeds, while Ashi Kamra/Colette Chang enter the draw at #3.

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 Rolls St. Bonny, Takes Two Wins Over Previously Undefeated TVL Singles Player

Cate seniors made the most of their final home game today with a 16-2 victory over St. Bonaventure. The victory was punctuated by two wins over previously undefeated TVL player Helena Insua.

Grace Fuss opened proceedings with a heady display of tactics, mixing slice forehands with devastating down-the-line backhand winners for a 6-3 result. Carol Cai then followed suit with a serving display that saw her take Insua to 6-5 with just one break each, before Cai broke again to take the set 7-5. Insua rallied to beat the third Cate senior, Mia Foster, who went 2-1 on the day.

Thanks to the dual victories, Cate’s pair of senior captains leap-frogged Insua for the top-two singles records in Tri-Valley league play. Fuss is currently 11-1 in league singles play, while Cai is 13-1 in league (9-1 in singles play), while Insua falls to 12-2. Instead of going after the Tri-Valley League Singles Title next week, Fuss and Cai will return to the doubles draw as defending champions, in a bid to make a deep run into CIF Individuals in November.

Junior Madeline Vanica subbed for Fuss after the first round, going 1-1 on the day, while freshman Ellie Tunnell took Cai’s place in the final round, with a 6-0 victory against St. Bonaventure’s #3 player.

In doubles, Cate completed the full nine-set sweep. Junior/sophomore combo Fritze Mayer and Ashi Kamra won their sets 6-1, 6-0, 6-0 as they begin their push towards Tri-Valley League Individuals. The other Cate pairings of Julianna Forry/Maesa Vongkusolkit and Yuki Kobayashi/Emily May also went 3-0 on the day.

Coach Thorpe’s Comments:

I was so happy for my seniors today as they competed in their last home match. Mia had a great singles debut, and Grace and Carol got back on terms after losing to Helena in our away match against Bonny earlier this season. 

It’s incredible to think that across these four seasons, these girls have helped, and in many cases led Cate to a 44-3 record in regular season play. They’ve only lost to San Marcos High and to a couple of stacked D1 teams in the playoffs. What they’ve accomplished in their time at Cate is nothing short of spectacular.

What’s Next for Cate Girls’ Tennis?

The win mathematically clinches Cate’s 5th consecutive TVL team title, with tomorrow’s match against Foothill Tech the final barrier to a 5th consecutive season without losing a single league match. The match will be played at Ventura College at 3:15pm.

Fit and Firing Owls off to 2-0 Start with Convincing Early-Season Wins


Hard work (including the team tradition “rain run” pictured above) has put the Owls in prime position to take another step forward this season. Laguna Blanca has begun the 2018 campaign with a pair of victories, with another four matches to be played in the next 9 days. Here are the recaps: Continue reading