Boys’ tennis: Team suffers disappointing defeat in second round of CCS

May 9, 2018 — by Mathew Luo and Howard Tang

Boy's Tennis suffers defeat to end season.

Shuffling back-and-forth along the span of the tennis court with his No. 2 doubles partner sophomore Ronit Pattanayak, senior Varun Meduri smashed the ball toward his opponent and scored the final point, winning the first match of the game 6-0, 6-3.

The boys’ tennis team was taking on Saint Ignatius High from San Francisco in the second round of CCS on May 4. They had entered CSS with a season record of 13-6 and were seeded sixth out of 24 teams, granting them a bye from the first round of CCS on May 2. Pressure rose as the Falcons attempted to maintain their place.

Despite Meduri and Pattanayak’s victory, the team’s hopes were crushed when the team lost 4-3. After No. 1 doubles junior David Berkowitz-Sklar and senior Nikhil Mehta and No. 3 doubles freshman Avyay Koorapaty and junior Merrick Wang lost, pressure was put on the four singles players to win at least three matches for the team to progress onto CCS quarterfinals.

But only No. 2 singles player freshman Stefan Meier and No. 3 singles player senior Tristan Xiao were able to defeat their opponents, with Meier scoring 7-5 and 6-3 and Xiao winning 6-2, 3-6 and 10-7.

Both No. 1 singles player Derek Pinai and No. 4 singles player Anay Koorapaty lost their matches. The team suffered from the absence of their No. 1 singles player senior Dean Stratakos, who was at a tournament in Indiana.

“Going into the CCS, we knew that the singles competition would be tougher, so we couldn’t rely on winning singles anymore,” Xiao said. “Instead, we needed to focus on improving our doubles. Looking back, [the new strategy] was effective because we won No. 2 doubles easily and had close matches at No. 1 and No. 3 doubles.

Prior to CCS in their conference games, the Falcons won 4-3 and 7-0 in April 17 against Gunn and won 7-0 on April 18 against Palo Alto; however, they lost their second conference match on April 19 against Gunn 4-3. Coach Florin Marica attributed these losses to the injuries of their three best players: Stratakos, Pattanayak and Meduri.

“It was unfortunate that injuries resulted in us getting eliminated from CCS for the past two years,” Meduri said.

In addition to the team’s qualification for CCS, Stratakos was able to qualify for CCS singles individually by scoring second at SCVALs on April 24 and 25. His matches will be at Aptos High on May 16.

Despite their disappointing end to the season, Marica is still satisfied with the Falcons’ finish.

“We all knew at the beginning of the season that we would be facing the very best teams in all of NorCal, and this year’s competition was very fierce,” Marica said. “Getting second in the league was very impressive. Our boys played well and struggled well.”