Menlo News October 05, 2022

Girls’ tennis overturns Harker in rematch of NorCal final

Knights win a thriller 4-3 as doubles sweep

10.5.2022 – The showdown between WBAL leaders lived up to its billing, and the Menlo girls’ tennis team prevailed over Harker 4-3 in a hard-fought duel at home Wednesday.
It was a rematch of the NorCal and CCS finals, but this time, Menlo triumphed.
Harker took a 3-1 advantage after singles with Knights freshman Elise Chen picking up a victory at No. 2. Andra Braicu played to third-set super tiebreaker at the tough No.1 spot. Seniors Charlotte Yao fell to the defending WBAL singles champion at No. 3 and Hannah Satuito lost a tough fight at the No.4 spot.

Meantime, No. 3 doubles of senior Ellie Hardegree and sophomore Kate Hsia rallied from one set down to finish first among doubles in a third set tiebreak.
Shortly after, senior Charlotte Makoni and sophomore Izzy Klugman won after wrapping up a second-set tiebreak and tying the team score. In front of a crowd for the No. 1 match, Menlo seniors Natalie Westermann and Sofia Labatt were up a set, but trailed 5-6 in the second set. The Knights fell in the next set and the match would be determined by a third set tiebreak. Menlo ended up with a 10-8 win.

“I tried to stay calm and keep my emotions down and play one point at a time. I was also trying to ensure a balance of hitting it hard and keeping it in with spin, which proved to be a little bit difficult in such a tense situation but we figured it out,” Labatt said. “Natalie is one of my closest friends so having her there with me was incredibly reassuring as well. …I think it was not just a sense of pride from the two of us but a sense of relief as it was such an important match for our team.” 

Westermann and Labatt said they thought the match was over during the second-set tiebreaker, Once they were headed to third set, that’s when they learned their match would be the deciding factor.
“After hearing the news, I have never been so nervous in my life. We were the underdogs coming into the match so being in a position to win was such a privilege and something we absolutely could not mess up,” Westermann said. “The score was extremely close throughout the tiebreaker and I don’t think I could have made it through without Sofia by my side. After such a stressful tiebreaker, the main feeling we felt winning our match point was relief. But once the team ran onto the court, we were able to celebrate our win and the hard work each and every player on the team put in.”

After falling to the Eagles the past two seasons in league and postseason, the Knights were more than ready to turn the tables.

“In the past few years, Harker has had some of the top players in the state on their team,”  Westermann said. “Beating Harker changes the playing field. It makes winning CCS and NorCals a much more tangible possibility and will definitely inspire us to keep putting in the work as we continue our season.”

Menlo 4, Harker 3
Singles: Emily Novikov (H) d. Andra Braicu 6-4, 1-6 (7); Elise Chen (M) d. Rachel Hernandez 6-4, 6-3; Audrey Feng (H) d. Charlotte Yao 6-0, 6-3; Sara Wan (H) d. Hannah Satuito 6-2, 6-0. 
Doubles: Natalie Westermann-Sofia Labatt (M) d. Olivia Guo-Anushka Mehrotra 6-4, 6-7 (1), (8); Izzy Klugman-Charlotte Makoni (M) d. Pavith Khara-Anika Akkiraju 7-5, 7-6 (8); Kate Hsia-Ellie Hardegree (M) d. Medini Halepete-Charlize Wang 2-6, 7-5 (4)


Menlo 7, Notre Dame-Belmont 0

10.4.2022 – Menlo girls’ tennis defeated Notre Dame-Belmont 7-0 Tuesday at College of San Mateo to improve to 3-0 in West Bay Athletic League play.

Andra Braicu d. Pam 6-4, 6-3; Elise Chen d. Klein 6-0, 6-1; Sofia Labatt d. Fitzgerald 6-1, 6-1; Charlotte Yao d. Svansberg 6-0, 6-0. Doubles – Izzy Klugman-Charlotte Makoni d. Ettrick-Tang 6-1, 6-4; Kate Hsia-Ellie Hardegree d. Peterson-Carlson 6-0, 6-1; Alexa Hua-Sophie Lenart d. Gallegos-Liu 4-6, 6-0 (6).

JV: Menlo 7, Notre Dame-Belmont 0