Boys’ tennis surges as season opens

March 19, 2024 — by Lawson Wang
Junior Alex Lu prepares to volley a ball during their practice rally.
With a few graduations and rising stars, the tennis team hopes for a successful season, going further than last year and past CCS semifinals.

Head Coach: Florin Marca

Last year’s record: 7-5 Recap: A relatively good season with an impressive underclassmen lineup led to the team advancing to CCS before losing to No. 1 seeded Menlo Park in the semifinals.

Key Matchups: Los Altos, Cupertino

Star Players: singles No. 1 sophomore Somei Ogata, No. 2 singles sophomore Nikhil Srivatsa, senior singles No. 3 Johan Amirineni, No. 2 doubles senior Luke Stratakos

Key losses to graduation: Julian Berkowitz-Sklar

Division: De Anza

Prognosis: 

The tennis team has its sights set on going far in CCS; they have many strong upperclassmen and only one major loss to graduation, doubles player Julian Berkowitz-Sklar. The team has added three new freshmen in varsity: No. 3 doubles player Joshua Amirineni, and Sina Mohtaj-Khorassani and  Mason Cheng. These two will rotate into the lineup as needed.

“We have lots of experienced players,” said senior captain Luke Stratakos, who plays No. 2 doubles with junior Teddy O’Yang. “Other high schools have lost some pretty good players, so I think this year would be a better year than the other three years I’ve played.” 

As a sign of a strong season to come, the Falcons won 4-3 on March 12 against Homestead, beat Los Altos 5-2 on March 7 and defeated Gunn 5-2 on March 5 Gunn. Their record as of March 13 was 3-0.

Although senior Kosei Ogata is not planning to come back to the school team as he does club tennis as part of his dream to one day play professional tennis, his brother, sophomore Somei Ogata, is set to play No. 1 singles for the Falcons as he did last year, with sophomore Nikhil Srivatsa at No. 2 and senior Johan Amirineni at No. 3. Last year, Kosei helped provide guidance to players as an informal assistant coach, and players hope he is willing to help out again this year.

“He [Kosei] helped out a lot last year, showing up to some practices and matches,” junior doubles No. 2 Teddy O’Yang said. “He was like another captain.”

Thankfully for the team, the weather has been improving recently. Due to heavy rain in the start of the season, tryouts for tennis that were originally supposed to be three days were extended to two weeks. The frequency of rain has also caused practices to get canceled often, since playing tennis in the rain is too dangerous, and the ball bounces differently than when it’s dry. 

Going forward, Stratakos hopes to improve their teamwork to become a more cohesive team.

“We need to make sure we keep up the energy. While tennis is not usually a team sport, I believe focusing on working as a team would help improve the whole,” Stratakos said.

Tags: recap, tennis
3 views this week