Menlo News December 06, 2023

Historical season for girls’ tennis ends at state

In first state championship, Knights fall to powerhouse Mater Dei

CIF state finalists Menlo girl's tennis 2023

CIF state finalists Menlo girl's tennis 2023 CIF state finalists Menlo girl’s tennis 2023

Writing its own chapter in Menlo School history, the girls’ tennis team fought in the first CIF Championship before falling to Mater Dei 7-0 on Saturday at Fresno Pacific University.
The NorCal and CCS champion Knights finished the season 25-7 far exceeding expectations for this young team. It also marked the final match with the girls’ team for Bill Shine, who will coach the boys’ team in spring, and after 29 seasons, plans to retire.
Even though Menlo was swept by a powerful Mater Dei team, the Knights could look back on their season with great pride in that they reached the ultimate match.
“It really was a perfect season to me,” Menlo junior Izzy Klugman, who captains the team with Andra Braicu, Elise Chen and Kate Hsia. “I saw so much improvement in everyone on the team, and the team environment became so much closer. This match was really the product of our hard work over these past almost four months, and that match will be something I will remember for the rest of my life.
Menlo was missing two starters from the lineup, but fought tooth and nail. Chen, a sophomore, played No.1 singles and Emily Li, a freshman, played No. 2- both took an early lead before falling. Chen lost first set 7-5 and had more tough points played to the wire before falling 6-4 in the second.
No. 3 doubles of senior Alexa Hua and Sophie Lenart won the second set 6-0, but lost their match.
Hsia and Sophia Jia lined up at No.1 doubles. Klugman played No. 3 and freshman Milla Bardony at 4. Sofia Faris and Rosalyn Zhou teamed at No. 2 doubles.
“It’s obviously bittersweet because it’s our last match with Bill as our head coach,” Klugman added. “His impact on me and the entire team is felt every time we step on the court. He will be missed greatly, but I’m so glad we got to extend the season as long as we could for him to coach us as long as possible. The players make up the team and contribute to the success and atmosphere, but Bill is Menlo girls tennis and it will be difficult to fill his spot with everything he’s brought to the program.
“I’m sad to see the season end because I love this team so much, but I know we will be back and even better next year to hopefully be back at states again!”