All for one and one for all in Menlo-Atherton's victory


Menlo-Atherton took a holistic view of its first-round Central Coast Section girls' team tennis match on Monday.

"Every match was key," Bears' coach Tom Sorenson said. "Going in, each of them approached it like they would be the deciding match."

Julia Marks
The most interesting match of M-A's 6-1 victory over Castilleja at Rinconada Park turned out to be at No. 1 doubles, where Menlo-Atherton senior Natasha Auer and junior Kate Perri were pitted against Castilleja's senior Wallis Hess and sophomore Lexi Bundy.

"What you want is everybody shouldering the burden," Sorenson said. "Do the best you can and win by not letting it be up to someone else. We did not let their lineup change affect the way we played. We took it as a challenge."

Hess, one of the top singles players in the section, seemingly gave the Gators the edge at the position. Auer and Perri took on the challenge and managed to earn a third-set tie-breaker, 6-3, 3-6, 11-9.

M-A (18-5) advances to play at sixth-seeded Sacred Heart Prep (15-4) at 2 p.m. Tuesday.

Castilleja freshmen Mabelle Pasmooij and Roxy Scott earned the lone point for their team with a come-from-behind, 2-6, 6-4, 11-9 victory, at No. 2 doubles over Nia Zisman and Sarah Marks.

"This is the first time we've been to CCS in a while and we were fired up about that accomplishment, Gators coach Cassie Shaw said. "We put it all out on the court."

Hess was the lone senior on the court for Castilleja (13-9), which featured three freshmen, four sophomores and a pair of juniors in its lineup. The Gators made their first trip to the CCS tournament in three years.

The No. 4 singles match between M-A senior Julie Chang and Castilleja sophomore Sophia Nesamoney was more competitive than Chang's 6-2, 6-1 victory might indicate.

"I felt she was on a level with the other girl," Shaw said. "It was a point here or there that made the difference."

Sorenson agreed.

"She played as well as she could and gave them a chance," he said of Nesamoney. "Kudos to Castilleja, their doubles teams played inspired tennis."

The top three singles players for the Bears all return and all three were sharp in delivering straight-set victories. They combined to drop just three games.

Lanie Van Linge played precision tennis at the top of the ladder to beat Kaitlin Rhee, 6-0, 6-0, and walk off the court just over a half-hour after the match started.

No. 2 Julia Marks won, 6-1, 6-0 and No. 3 Sofia Longo earned a 6-2, 6-0 victory.

"To a player, they gave all their attention to the match at hand," Sorenson said. "That's the best we've done in that regard all season."

Van Linge, who has been dealing with injuries, decided to focus on the team tournament and forego participating in the individual tournament that begins next Monday.

SCVAL El Camino Division champion Palo Alto also advanced, beating host Aptos, 6-1, in a match held at Seascape Sports Club.

The Vikings (17-2) play at No. 2 seed Cupertino (18-4) at 2 p.m. Tuesday. Fifth-seeded and defending CCS champion Menlo (14-6) hosts Leland (16-4) at the same time. Leland beat host North Salinas, 7-0.

Of the eight first-round matches, six were won by the visitors.

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