Tennis: Falcons rebound from early season losses, finish league with 10-game win streak

April 29, 2019 — by Andrew Lee and Alan Zu

Stefan Meier, the No. 2 singles player, jogged back onto the courts at Fremont High School on April 23, loosening up for a second set under the blistering sun. Though he had lost the first set 6-2, Meier felt relaxed and less pressured to win the next set; the No. 1 doubles pair freshman Benjamin Bray and senior David Berkowitz had just exited the court with the fourth Saratoga win to round out the Falcon victory.

This final matchup against Fremont marked the last league match for the boys’ tennis team, ending the Falcon’s 10-game win streak after two disappointing losses against Monta Vista and Gunn High at the beginning of the season. The boys’ tennis team ended with a 10-2 record, placing second in the league behind Monta Vista.

The Falcons managed to avenge earlier defeats, beating Gunn 4-3 on April 4 and Monta Vista 4-3 on April 18. These wins came as a surprise to the team, considering how the Falcons had previously struggled with Monta Vista, the league champion for three consecutive years.

Sophomore No. 3 doubles player Daniel Izrailevsky characterized the team’s season was “pretty successful.”

“We had some close losses at the beginning of the season,” Izrailevsky said, “but we got it together and went undefeated after that, which is pretty cool.”

In order to compensate for the overall tough teams in the league, which caught many of the new players off guard at the beginning of the season, the team spent more time at practices experimenting with their lineups.

“The most difficult part definitely was those two close losses we had at the beginning of the season,” Izrailevsky said. “We knew that it would be a real struggle to secure a good spot in the league so we knew as a team that we all had to perform well.”

Learning from their losses, the team made several adjustments to their lineup by experimenting with switching around their doubles teams. For example, Bray, who initially played No. 2 doubles, was moved up to play No. 1 doubles where the team found him to perform effectively and consistently; accordingly, No. 2 and No. 3 doubles players were constantly swapped around depending on what was required from each match.

“After those early losses I think we all just started taking our matches a lot more seriously,” Izrailevsky said. “We saw how those matches were easily winnable, but we just needed to focus.”

The team is focused on CCS, with the first round taking place on May 1.

“Though we definitely could have ended with a stronger record than 10-2, it’s still pretty amazing how well we performed given the absence of our elite seniors who graduated last year,” junior No. 2 singles player Ronit Pattanayak said. “We worked hard and focused even harder, and the team is looking forward to a satisfying CCS performance in a few weeks.”

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