By Keith Peters
Palo Alto Online Sports
The last time the Menlo School and Monta Vista girls' tennis teams met, the host Knights got off to a great start by winning the first set in four of the seven matches. Unfortunately for Menlo, it didn't finish as well and lost two of them.
That wound up making the difference in a 4-3 nonleague loss on Oct. 20. The Knights, however, now have a chance for redemption. That opportunity will be Monday when No. 3 Menlo (19-5) takes on No. 2 Monta Vista (19-4) in the semifinals of the Central Coast Section Team Tournament at Courtside Tennis Club in Los Gatos. First serve is at noon.
Monta Vista advanced with a 6-1 victory over No. 7 Burlingame on Friday.
Monday's other semifinal will pit No. 1 Saratoga (20-0) against No. 4 Mitty (19-2) at 2 p.m. Mitty eliminated No. 5 St. Francis, 6-1, while Saratoga bounced unseeded Sacred Heart Prep, 7-0.
Monday's winners will advance to the CCS finals on Wednesday, also at Courtside, at 2 p.m.
Menlo earned another shot at Monta Vista with a 7-0 quarterfinal romp over visiting Menlo-Atherton on Friday. The loss ended the Bears' fine season at 15-6.
It was a solid tuneup for the Knights, who lost only eight games in doubles and 14 in singles. The Bears didn't win more than two games in any sets of singles.
Menlo sophomore Giannina Ong won at No. 1 singles over Paige Keating, 6-2, 6-2; freshman Kristy Jorgensen won at No. 2 singles over Julia Sommer, 6-2, 6-2; freshman Christine Eliazo produced a 6-2, 6-1 win over Erin LaPorte at No. 3 and sophomore Laura Gradiska won over Lauren Diller at No. 4, 6-2, 6-1.
Three of Menlo's four seniors – Eliza Adams, Stephanie Carlisle and Lauren Robinson – all won in doubles on Senior Day. Monica Rosenkranz, the fourth senior, also was on hand to celebrate the team's latest victory.
Menlo is 5-0 since losing to Monta Vista and Menlo coach Bill Shine believes his team will have a better mindset for the Matadors.
"The first time, I didn't think they thought they could win," Shine said of his players. "Now, I think they know they can beat them."
Shine said his team will go in as the underdog once again and that's just fine.
"I'm just going to tell them that Monta Vista is supposed to win," Shine said. "So, just go play and have fun."
Shine, of course, is hoping for a win. Just getting to the CCS finals earns an automatic berth into the NorCal Championships.