Girls tennis CCS Champions!
11.11.2023 – With a youthful lineup expected to be a strong contender, the Menlo School girls’ tennis team did one better and won the Knights 11th Central Coast Section Championship in program history.
The third-seeded Knights improved to 21-6 after defeating top seed and CCS defending champion Monta Vista 5-2 on Saturday at Bay Club-Courtside.
Menlo now moves on to the NorCal Round I at 10:00 am Friday at Broadstone Racquet Club in Folsom against the winner of Monday’s Oakand-Lowell match.
“They grew up, they showed me how much they really wanted it,” said Menlo coach Bill Shine,. “They listened all year and just took a bit to sink in. This team is going to be incredible moving forward. I expect more good things out of them.”
Shine’s Menlo team went against his good friend Gene Fortino’s Monta Vista team - which won CCS last season and was a NorCal finalist.
“They’re the defending champ and didn’t lose anybody. This (Monta Vista) team is a great time. It felt a little like David vs. Goliath, but they pulled it off, and I’m really proud of them.”
The Knights first dispatched Los Altos earlier in the day, handing the No. 2 seed a 4-3 loss in the semifinals.
In the final, junior Kate Hsia and freshman Sophia Jia were the first off the court with a 6-2, 6-2 win at No. 2 doubles. Junior Elise Chen followed not long after, picking up the win at No. 2 singles against Zoe Laruelle 6-2, 6-0 before freshman Emily Li at No,. 3 singles triumphed in straight sets 6-1, 6-4 at No. 3 singles. Junior Izzy Klugman won in a tiebreaker to clinch the match victory 6-2, 3-6 (5) at No.4 . Junior Andra Braicu made it a clean sweep at singles, playing center court at No. 1 by holding off Monta Vista’s Lelani Laruelle, Zoe’s twin, 6-2, 7-6 (5).
“She came back in the seond set. I think the support from the team and parents and everybody helped me go through and motivate myself to just play my own game, and I’m very thankful for that,” Braicu said. “It feels so good. The last year we made it to the final my freshman year, we lost in the finals and also lost NorCals (finals) so that was tough, but I’m so happy for the team.”
Sulia Gayle and Milla Bardony rallied, but fell in a second-set tiebreak at No. 1 and Rosalyn Zhou and Sophia Faris also fell in tiebreaker.
Menlo’s team features two seniors, a handful of juniors, and the rest underclassmen.