Boys’ tennis blazes undefeated path through early division season

March 29, 2024 — by Daniel Wu
Courtesy of Luke Stratakos
Senior captain Luke Stratakos loads a forehand return on March 27 against Gunn.
Senior captain Luke Stratakos is confident in the team’s ability to sweep CCS.

The boys’ tennis team has settled into a winning groove as they ease into the midseason. As of March 28, the Falcons were undefeated, holding a 7-0 record and standing in first place in the De Anza division. 

Recent game results include beating Gunn 6-1 at home on March 27, taking down Cupertino 6-1 in an away match on March 21, beating Monta Vista 5-3 on the road and defeating Lynbrook 5-2 at home on March 14.

Senior captain Luke Stratakos, who plays No. 2 doubles with junior Teddy O’ Yang, attributed the team’s winning streak to a strong lineup of players consisting of veteran upperclassmen leading a strong group of underclassmen. In total, the team has 15 players: seven underclassmen and eight upperclassmen. 

“Our roster from the top down across both singles and doubles is just so strong, so we find ourselves winning matches across the board,” Stratakos said.

Notably, the team has found reassurance with sophomore Somei Ogata and Nikhil Srivasta occupying the No. 1 and No. 2 singles positions often held by well-vetted seniors.

“They [Ogata and Srivasta] are basically guaranteed wins for us every match, so we hold that advantage over the other schools,” Stratakos said.

As the two continue to gain experience, Stratakos is confident the team will remain strong after the current seniors graduate.

As April turns into May, the team is looking forward to a deep CCS run. 

Last season, the team made it to the semifinals of CCS where they fell 7-0 to the No. 1 seeded Menlo Park. They also finished the season No. 2 in division.

Stratakos feels confident that the team can reach the semifinals or finals, given their relative success compared to the previous season, when they stood 3-3 at the end of March. 

In stark contrast to some other sports on campus, the team has taken a relatively relaxed approach to practices, which are held every day. Head coach Florin Marica allows players to exercise a high degree of independence, allowing them to use practice times as they wish, whether it is working on serves or running practice matches with one another.

Stratakos mentioned the laid-back practice approach has been in place for years, as Marica’s strong trust in his players allowed them to find and focus on the areas they most require work on. Senior Samik Pattanayak, who plays No. 1 doubles with senior Shrey Jain, emphasized the duty seniors on the team have taken in preparing freshmen for the upcoming loss of six seniors due to graduation at the end of the season. 

“As a senior I definitely think most of us [seniors] are asserting a leadership role and setting an example for the underclassmen on the team now,” Pattanayak said.

The team has focused on training underclassmen who are playing doubles, notably freshman Joshua Amirineni and Sina Mohtaj-Khorassani, who currently play No. 3 doubles and will be expected to step up to the No. 1 or No. 2 doubles seats in the upcoming season.

“We’re already looking ahead to upcoming seasons and ensuring the freshmen are prepared to take on a larger role in the more challenging positions,” Pattanayak said.

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