Girls’ tennis achieves victory over longtime rival Matadors

November 13, 2008 — by Annie Lee

The Monta Vista Matadors were in for a surprise when they arrived at Saratoga on Oct. 21 to find junior Mika Padmanabhan dressed in uniform. The Falcons had released their secret weapon.

The addition of Padmanabhan was all it took to push the team over the edge to victory. They lost 3-4 earlier this season to the Matadors, but with the addition of the talented junior they were able to turn the tables and come out on top 5-2.

Padmanabhan was put into the line-up at No. 3 singles behind senior co-captain Lindsey Marsh and sophomore Catherine Nguyen at No. 1 and No. 2 singles, respectively. Although she lost her match 6-2, 6-2, everybody below her moved down, adding to the depth of the overall team.

“Even though she lost her individual match, she helped out the team in terms of strengthening our line-up,” said coach Tom Uyehara.

Padmanabhan, who originally elected not to play for the school this year due to the academic stress of junior year, decided that she really missed being on the team.

“I had to focus more on academics this year,” said Padmanaban. “At the beginning of the year, I was really frustrated [because I wasn’t on the team], but now I’m really glad that I can help out and play on the team again.”

Although Padmanabhan is an accomplished player, she adds much more to the team than her skill.

“She has a lot of enthusiasm on and off the court,” said Uyehara. “With the chemistry we have on the team right now, I think she is a perfect fit.”

The win was especially gratifying for the team because they have been close to beating powerhouse Monta Vista several times in the past few years, but have repeatedly failed to come home with the victory.

“We were all pumped up and we came out ready to play and determined to win,” said Uyehara. “We wanted it just a little bit more than they did this time. The curse has been broken.”

Saratoga’s victory was not entirely Padmanabhan’s doing, however. Without a concentrated team effort, the win would not have been possible. Uyehara felt that in the season’s earlier match, doubles had been a point of weakness for the team; however, in this second match-up, the doubles teams came out swinging.

“A lot of the credit has to go to our doubles because we were able to sweep them in straight sets,” said Uyehara. “I think it was some of the best doubles we’ve
played all season long.”

No. 1 doubles team junior Annie Lee and freshman Sarah Lum won their match 6-3, 6-2, while No. 2 doubles team freshman Crystal Yen and sophomore Samantha Tseng coasted to a 6-2, 6-2 victory. Although they had a bit tougher time, No. 3 doubles team sophomore Mary Edman and freshman Lisa Asai pulled out their match 7-5, 6-3.

The girls are now in a position to win the leauge championship. They only have one match of their season left against Palo Alto. They are currently first in league ahead of Palo Alto, but if they lose that match, they will be tied.The match was originally scheduled for Oct. 30, but due to rain it was moved out to Nov. 3. Due to publication deadlines, the results of the match were unable to be printed.

However, the girls beat Palo Alto earlier this season 4-3. If they can repeated that victory, they will win the El Camino Division. If not, they will have to play Palo Alto again to determine the league winner.

With pivotal wins over powerhouse Monta Vista, all the girls need is a win over Palo Alto to take the league title and earn the No. 2 seed in the CCS Championships behind Archbishop Mitty.

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