Team tries to rebuild itself after key losses

April 1, 2018 — by Mathew Luo and Howard Tang

Having lost top players Kailas Shekar, Andre Xiao and Matthew Kerman to graduation, the boys’ tennis team has been focused on rebuilding so far this spring. Three freshmen — Anay Koorapaty, Avyay Koorapaty and Stefan Meier — along with sophomore Ronit Pattanayak have been the four key additions to fill those spots.

In a preseason game, the Falcons beat Lynbrook 6-1 on Feb. 13, but lost their first league match against Monta Vista 6-0 (one match was called because of darkness) on Feb. 27. Later on, they defeated Cupertino 6-1 on March 6 and Palo Alto 4-3 on March 8. Some recent matches have been postponed because of rain, and the California Classic Tournament at Stanford, their biggest tournament of the year, was canceled because of the recent weather.

The match against Monta Vista was a closer one than the final score indicated, with Stefan Meier having a tough loss to a Monta Vista senior. No. 1 singles player senior Dean Stratakos said Monta Vista’s team competes in USTA tournaments year-round, making them more experienced overall.

“As a team, we definitely are not as strong as last year,” Stratakos said. “But we still are one of the best teams in CCS, so we might have a good shot at the championships again.”

The tennis team began its training over three weeks ago and has ramped up to include 15 minutes of daily conditioning along with warm-up and technical drills. According to Stratakos, this conditioning is important for maintaining performance rates throughout games that can last up to two to three hours.

Besides physical conditioning, the team has also worked on improving the quality of their doubles play. According to senior Tristan Xiao, many of the players were brought up playing mainly singles, so doubles partners have to spend a lot of time drilling and training together to improve their teamwork.

“Tennis is an individual sport, so usually it’s everyone for themselves,” coach Florin Marica said. “But for two months you have a chance to be along with the other guys as a team and train as a unit with a partner. That’s something unique. For two months, those kids play and fight together.”

 

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