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CCS girls tennis tourney has a very different look this week

 

If the Central Coast Section Team Tournament in girls tennis seems a bit brief this season, it's because it is. Normally spread out over 1 1/2 weeks, the 2015 event -- thanks to Monday's rainout -- is now held in just five days.

There's a very good reason for the shortened event.

"We, as a section, have been in violation of CIF rules for a number of years," explained Steve Filios, an assistant CCS commissioner.

Previously, the CCS finale would be held on a Wednesday, followed by the NorCal finals on Friday and Saturday. CIF rules, however, dictate a full week off before regional play begins.

Thus, the CCS had two options. One was to back up the regular season a week, which would have cut into various league tournaments. The other option was to condense the section tourney into just one week.

"The coaches came up with the idea of playing in one week," Filios said. "There's actually less school time missed . . . Everybody thought it was a good idea."

Previously, the tournament was played over five days during the week, with players missing school time. Now, a team starting on the first day and reaching the finals will miss only parts of three days. That's because the semifinals and finals will be held this Saturday at Monta Vista High in Cupertino.

Those are firsts for the CCS tournament -- finishing on a Saturday and at a high school campus.

"We couldn't get the tennis club for the finals," Filios said of Bay Club Courtside in Los Gatos, the previous CCS site. "Bay Club is hosting a youth tournament this weekend and clubs don't want to give up free space to a high school event on Saturday."

The boys never had this problem because the CCS finals would be a Friday, followed by NorCals the following Friday.

Filios said that CCS girls tennis, unknowingly, has been violating the CIF rule for at least eight years. Thus, a change in the schedule was necessary.

"Who knows if we'll stick with it," Filios said of the week-long event. I"It's not like it's set in stone year to year."

This new schedule was passed by the CCS Board of Managers in January. Monta Vista High coach Gene Fortino offered to host the finals at 2 p.m. The semifinals (9 a.m.) will be played at Monta Vista or Lynbrook.

"We'll sit down at the end of the season and evaluate it," Filios said. "I applaud them (the tennis coaches) for their rationale. We'll see how it goes."

M-A coach Tom Sorenson, for one, doesn't mind the new look of the tournament.

"Monta Vista high school complex is as nice as any club, and I think the one week schedule is sufficient," he said.

As for the top seeds playing a possible four matches over four days (due to the rain on Monday), Filios said those squads have played tougher schedules already. The Battle of the Bay had teams like Menlo School, Gunn, Menlo-Atherton and Sacred Heart Prep playing four matches over 48 hours.

All of those teams are in the CCS Team Tournament, which began Tuesday with Sacred Heart Prep defeating visiting St. Ignatius, 5-2.

Action continued Wednesday with top-seeded Menlo School (20-1) eliminating St. Francis, 6-1; No. 4 Gunn (18-4) edging Mitty, 4-3; No. 7 Menlo-Atherton (19-4) defeating PAL Bay Division rival Burlingame, 6-1; and SHP (13-9) falling to No. 8 Harker, 4-3.

Defending CCS champion Menlo will host Harker (14-3) on Thursday in a quarterfinal at 2 p.m. The Knights defeated the Eagles twice (6-1 amd 5-2) during an unbeaten WBAL Foothill Division season.

In a rematch of last year's CCS and NorCal finals, Menlo freshman Ashley Vielma took a 6-1, 7-6 (7-4) over Cate Liston of St. Francis at No. 1 singles. Taylor Gould, another freshman, fell in a tight battle that went to a third-set super-tiebreaker 3-6, 6-4, 16-14 to Emily Kha. Junior Georgia Anderson and sophomore Elika Eshghi won in straight sets at No. 3 and 4 singles, respectively.

Seniors Melissa Tran and Mia McConnell started a doubles sweep 6-3, 6-4. Senior Schuyler Tilney-Volk and junior Kathryn Wilson won 6-3, 6-1 at No. 2; and junior Kaitlin Hao and freshman Vivian Liu teamed for a 6-0, 6-3 win.

Menlo-Atherton will visit No. 2 Los Gatos (13-3) on Thursday after beating Burlingame for a third time this season.

Lanie Van Linge set the tone at No. 1 singles with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Halle Martinucci in a rematch of last week's PAL Tournament singles finale, also won by Van Linge.

Julia Marks rallied for a 6-0, 4-6, 6-3 win at No. 2 and freshman Yvette Leung won at No. 3, 6-1, 6-4. The Bears swept the doubles behind the tandems of Sally Carlson and Julia Chang at No. 1 (6-1, 6-4), Beata Brenner and Amanda Scandalios at No. 2 (6-0, 6-2) and Amanda Kelly and Natasha Auer at No. 3 (6-4, 6-3), which clinched the victory.

Gunn, meanwhile, defeated visiting Mitty in a rare tennis meeting between the two schools.

"My boys beat them in Fresno a year or two ago," said Gunn coach Jim Gorman. "They usually will not play us."

The Gunn girls have not had the kind of lineup to take on Mitty in recent years, but this season is quite different as the Titans are loaded with young and talented players.

It was freshman Olivia Aspegren who clinched the exciting victory as she rallied for a 6-2, 1-6, 7-5 win at No. 3 singles.

"A nail-biter," said Gorman.

Aspegren was down 2-0 in the third set, but held a 5-4 lead before losing serve for a 5-5 match. She then broke Premila Rowles and held serve to clinch the triumph.

Aspegren's win gave Gunn a sweep in the singles with sophomore Julia Pham posting a 6-2, 6-1 win at No. 1, freshman Anna Yu cruising at No. 2, 6-0, 6-2, and freshman Yarden Gaffan posting a 6-4, 6-3 victory at No. 4.

Gunn will host unseeded Leland (18-3), a 4-3 winner over No. 5 Cupertino, on Thursday at 2 p.m.

2015 GIRLS' CCS TEAM TOURNAMENT

First round

Sacred Heart Prep 5, St. Ignatius 2

R.L. Stevenson 6, Monte Vista Christian 1

Sacred Heart Cathedral 7, Santa Catalina 0

Burlingame 7, Scotts Valley 0

Evergreen Valley 6, York 1

Leland 7, Salinas 0

Mitty 7, Piedmont Hills 0

St. Francia 7, St. Francis-CCC 0

Wednesday's second round

Monta Vista 7, R.L. Stevenson 0

Saratoga 7, SH Cathedral 0

Menlo-Atherton 6, Burlingame 1

Los Gatos def. Evergreen Valley, forfeit

Leland 4, Cupertino 3

Gunn 4, Mitty 3

Harker 4, Sacred Heart Prep 3

Menlo School 6, St. Francis 1

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