SHP's Choy completes perfect tennis season with CCS title


It's one down and perhaps three to go for Sacred Heart Prep freshman Sara Choy when it comes to her place in Central Coast Section girls' tennis history.

The top-seeded Choy wrapped up her first section singles title on Tuesday with a 6-2, 6-0 victory over No. 3 Mariko Iinuma of Hillsdale at Bay Club Courtside in Los Gatos.

That triumph came on the heels of a hard-fought 2-6, 6-3, 7-5 victory over Menlo-Atherton freshman Lanie Van Linge in the semifinals earlier in the day.

The section title puts Choy in position to accomplish something that no other player has done -- win four straight CCS titles.

There have been eight multiple winners in section history since Barrie Bulmore of Gunn won back-to-back titles in 1977-78. Leslie O'Keefe of San Mateo won in 1987, missed in '88 but came back to win a second in '89.

No one has ever won more than two. Menlo School's Elizabeth Yao knows how tough it is to defend. She won last year, but was knocked out in the second round this week.

Choy likely has made some history already in just her first season of high school tennis. The wins on Tuesday wrapped up a 31-0 season and made her the third SHP player to earn a section title -- following Jean Hepner in 1975 and Sam Rosekrans in 2005.

"It was great to see a freshman go undefeated through the year," said SHP coach Losaline Mafileo.

Choy swept through four CCS matches while losing only five games in the opening two rounds. She wound up losing more games to Van Linge to her three other opponents combined.

While she was tested by Van Linge, Choy was surprisingly dominant against Iinuma, who defeated Van Linge for the Peninsula Athletic League singles title a few weeks ago.

In the NorCal team playoffs, Menlo School has to wait until next week to finish off its postseason run after rain washed out the semifinals and finals on Saturday at the Natomas Racquet Club in Sacramento.

The top-seeded Knights (21-4) opened with a 7-0 win over No. 7 Chico, but couldn't get its semifinal match with No. 5 Miramonte under way after the rains came.

The playoffs will resume Wednesday at the Fremont Tennis Club at 3 p.m. Second-seeded Monte Vista (Danville) and No. 3 St. Francis meet in the other semifinal.

Girls volleyball

Menlo-Atherton will face a familiar foe in the semifinals of the Northern California Division I playoffs after dispatching No. 7 Lowell of San Francisco, 25-17, 17-25, 25-26, 25-14 in a first-round match on Tuesday in Atherton.

The No. 2-seeded Bears (29-3) will host No. 6 Homestead (25-14) on Saturday at 7 p.m. The same teams met last Saturday in the CCS title match with M-A winning in four sets.

Menlo-Atherton, of course, will be up to the task as it continues its journey toward a possible berth in the state finals. Two more victories will make that dream happen.

Against Lowell, the Bears had plenty of offense and defense with a .370 hitting percentage and no digging errors. With the fourth set tied at 13, M-A went on a 9-0 run to close out the victory.

Senior outside hitter Devin Joos, the Most Valuable Player in the PAL Bay Division this season, led the way once again with 14 kills and 20 digs. She had only two hitting errors in 26 attempts while hitting .460. Junior Leanna Collins was equally impressive with 22 kills and a .510 hitting effort as Lowell concentrated on stopping Joos.

Senior libero Katlin Tavarez contributed 22 digs, sophomore setter Kirby Knapp finished with 53 assists and 10 digs, senior Ally Ostrow added 15 kills and Eliza Grover came up with five blocks.

Scholastic awards

Castilleja had the top golf and tennis teams this fall season to lead local school on the CCS Falll Scholastic Championship Team list.

The golf team had a combined grade-point average of 3.7647 while the tennis squad led the way with a combined 3.8571 GPA. Castilleja also ranked second in girls cross country (3.8475) and second in volleyball (3.7018).

Menlo School ranked No. 2 in boys cross country (3.7143), fifth in girls cross country (3.7906) and second in football (3.4736).

Sacred Heart Prep was third in girls golf (3.723) and fifth in boys water polo (3.446).

— Palo Alto Online Sports

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Like this comment
Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Terman Middle School
on Nov 26, 2014 at 12:24 pm

Congrats to Sara Choy for winning CCS. You missed the point that unlike 70 percent of the young people you mention in your prep coverage Sara is actually a Palo Alto resident (and in fact, my neighbor). She went to Terman, before Sacred Heart. She gets a pass on that in that SHP tennis coach is former Gunn and Stanford All-America Jeff Arons.

You might have mentioned not the random San Mateo player but Rebecca Dirksen, like Barrie Bulmore a Gunn player and 2-time CCS champ. (And Dartmouth "Wearer of The Green").

Sara with due respect dodged a bullet in the form of Menlo-Atherton ace not Van Linge but Sami Andrew, a senior playing doubles but maybe not singles in the post-season, who is the daughter of another Gunn CCS champ Stephanie Savides. (Savides by the way, reminded me apropos of Sara that by age 16 she was California State Champion women's not just 16s, because I asked). Sara would likely beat Sami at least until she learns to tap her inner-Savides, then all bets are off.

Tom Savides meanwhile played Harvard tennis with PAUSD Kevin Skelley.

Like this comment
Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 26, 2014 at 1:04 pm

ok, stand corrected, or you can update and edit as you see fit:

The five Gunn CCS ladies champions individually, total of seven crowns: Bulmore ('77, '78), Serena Wu ('86), Tammy Robertson ('88), Vedica Jain ('92) and Dirksen ('94, '95). Stephanie Savides despite being ranked #1 in every age division in her youth career for NorCal never won CCS invididual title, but did win team championship with Gunn in 1982, her junior year. She played for Stanford, went as high as #263 in the world and is a successful realtor in Menlo Park, and mother of Menlo-Atherton's Sami Andrew, a quarterfinalist in doubles this her senior year.

Kudos to Sara Choy of Palo Alto and Sacred Heart. Here's to a 4-peat!

(I met Stephanie at Fremont Hills of Palo Alto school in 1974, never hit with her in tennis but wrote about her as sports editor of the Gunn Oracle...and Plastic Alto my blog; I met Sara meanwhile in the laundry room of our building in 2012).

I last saw Dirksen meanwhile at a restaurant owned by the wife of Mac MacCaughan of Superchunk rock band (Cubberley, 1999) and Merge Records in Chapel Hill, North Carolina circa 2003, she coaching Lady Tar Heels and me managing Blue Eyed Devils band on tour. I saw Dirksen win CCS in 1995 and then one match for Dartmouth circa 1998.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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