Tennis: Bells quash team’s CCS dreams

May 30, 2017 — by Ryan Kim and Ethan Ko

Throughout the season, the Falcons competed with their main rival, Monta Vista, on two separate occasions and lost twice.  As it turned out, these were their only two league losses of the league season.

In the CCS tournament that took place from May 5-8, the players had hoped to play Monta Vista again and exact revenge. After defeating Fremont High in their first match 5-2, however, their plans were cut short when the Falcons were knocked out of the competition 4-3 in the quarterfinal match against Bellarmine at home on May 8.

“We all wanted to settle our season-long rivalry against the Matadors, but things didn’t turn out as we hoped,” junior doubles No. 1 player Tristan Xiao said.

Against the Bells, the Falcons were unable to win any of their doubles matches, which contributed heavily to their overall loss. Senior singles No. 1 player Andre Xiao partly blames the loss on Bellarmine’s decision to stack its doubles lineup, a controversial move in which better players play down from their usual slots to help ensure victories. He called the Bells’ move “shady.”

Another factor in the loss was injury. For example, the No. 1 singles player, senior Kailas Shekar, injured his wrist earlier, so for CCS, he was moved to No. 1 doubles with Tristan. Senior Matthew Kermin took Shekar’s place in singles.

Nonetheless, Shekar’s injury was difficult to overcome. “Our opponents picked up on Shekar’s weakness and kept hitting to his backhand. He couldn’t really do anything about that,” Tristan said.

In the individual CCS competition, senior singles player Andre Xiao made his way up to the CCS singles final on May 17 but was disappointed when he lost to a friendly rival, junior Mukund Madhabushi from Leland High School, with whom he often practices. The fact that he usually beats Madhabushi in club tennis added to his frustration.

Andre attributed his loss to being tired after some long matches earlier in day.

“I made a lot of unforced errors and didn’t convert on several opportunities,” Andre said. “If I had played at a higher level, I would have beaten him. But that happens, and you just have to learn to deal with it and solve problems to turn things around.”

Doubles players junior Varun Meduri and sophomore Derek Pinai also lost in the first round against Stevenson 2-1 on May 16.

Even with the underwhelming results from CCS, junior singles player Dean Stratakos has faith in the team’s performance next year, saying that the doubles pairings this year gave a lot to look forward to next season. The team primarily hopes to improve their doubles pairs to be solid at the baseline and aggressive up at the net. Tristan added that communication between the players about strategies is essential.

“Our team played well and I don't view the match against Bellarmine as a loss despite what the result says on paper,” Stratakos said. “Next year will be tough as we are losing three of our four singles players, so I believe we [will need to] improve altogether as a team in terms of team chemistry.”


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