Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - April 30, 2010

A Menlo sweep in finals

Knights take singles, doubles at the WBAL tournament; M-A improves to 18-0

by Keith Peters

It wasn't an all-Menlo tennis finale at the West Bay Athletic League Individual Tournament on Wednesday at Menlo. But, it was close enough and three Knights walked off the courts as champions.

Menlo senior Patrick Chase won the singles title with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Pedro Robinson from Sacred Heart Prep, while the tandem of junior Andrew Carlisle and sophomore Justin Chan claim the doubles crown with a 6-3, 6-2 triumph over teammates Kyle Sum, a junior, and freshman Daniel Morkovine.

An all-Menlo finale was prevented by, perhaps, the seeding. Menlo sophomore Jonathan Katzman wound up in a semifinal opposite Chase and dropped a 6-3, 6-4 decision. Otherwise, it was an all-Menlo day.

"I thought Patrick did fine," said Menlo coach Bill Shine. "Sometimes it's hard to win when your're a really, really heavy favorite to win."

And for his doubles team?

"Justin Chan and Andrew Carlisle are just an unbelievable doubles team," Shine said. "They have great chemistry and they really know each other. I didn't think they would have a problem going through the tournament, which they didn't."

Perhaps the best outcome of the day for Menlo was just getting in the final matches. After rain delays on Tuesday and early Wednesday, Shine was concerned the tournament might get pushed back to a Thursday finish. Had that happened, Shine would have had to cancel a dual match at Saratoga.

"We really needed that match," Shine said. "We really haven't been tested since nationals."

The Knights (19-0) haven't needed to put their best lineup on the court since March 20, when they capped a four-victory performance by winning their first-ever National Invitational championship in Newport Beach. Since then, Menlo has won eight straight and none of the matches have been close.

The CCS seeding meeting will be Monday night, with first-round matches starting on Wednesday, May 5. Menlo is the likely No. 1 seed while Saratoga should be No. 2, with Bellarmine probably the No. 3. The Knights and Falcons should get byes into the quarterfinals on May 7.

At the rain-delayed Peninsula Athletic League tournament in Burlingame, Menlo-Atherton senior Alec Haley advanced to the singles finale on Thursday with a 7-6 (7-1), 6-2 victory over senior teammate Alden Mitchell.

Both players helped Menlo-Atherton finished off its finest regular season in program history with a 7-0 nonleague victory over host St. Francis at Cuesta Park on Monday. The Bears finished 18-0, their first unbeaten regular season ever.

"We got off to a slow start," said M-A co-coach Carlos Aguilar. "Monday matches are tough for the guys and we had our Bearathon (fundraiser) on Saturday, so they were a bit burnt out. Once they got going, they won handily."

Neither Aguilar nor fellow co-coach Tom Sorenson, however, had water dumped on them to celebrate the perfect regular season.

"Let's just say there were smiles, but to their credit, they acted like they'd been there before!" Aguilar said. "A very mature group!"

Haley led the way once again at the top of the singles ladder with a 6-2, 6-1 victory. Mitchell battled for a 6-3, 3-5, 10-4 triumph while sophomore Nick Oliver (6-4, 6-1) and freshman Richie Sarwal (6-4, 6-2) finished off the singles sweep at No. 3 and 4, respectively. The Bears now await the CCS seeding meeting this weekend.

In the SCVAL De Anza Division, Gunn finished the regular season with its eighth-straight victory, a 4-3 triumph over visiting Palo Alto on Monday. The match, which started last week but was delayed by rain, resumed with only two matches remaining to be finished. Gunn's Clifton Wolak, who was leading in his match with Chase Cooper, finished off his Paly rival, 7-6, 6-1, to clinch the triumph.

Gunn finished the regular season 8-4 in league (14-6 overall), tying Palo Alto (8-4, 13-6) for second place.

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