Menlo-Atherton, Menlo out of CCS team tennis tournament


There's a lot of tennis left in Lanie Van Linge's future but there's not a lot of team tennis left, so she values all the time she has with her Menlo-Atherton High teammates.

"This year was one of my favorites," Van Linge said after the Bears' season ended with a 5-2 loss to St. Francis at Cuesta Park in the quarterfinals of the Central Coast Section tournament Thursday. "I just thought that everybody was super spirited more than other years and that led to our success."

Van Linge plans to play in two or three more USTA tournaments this year before taking care of a torn ligament in her wrist, something she has been able to deal with successfully. She's also aware she needs to give it a rest and will have a cast put on the wrist in December.

"We have a lot of talent on this team and it just seems we are motivated to give our best effort for each other," said Van Linge, who won her match in straight sets, 6-1, 6-1, in less than an hour.

The third-seeded Lancers (16-6) move on to play No. 2 Los Gatos (19-3) in Saturday's 9 a.m. semifinal round. Top-seeded Saratoga (22-1) plays No. 4 St. Ignatius (20-1) in the other semifinal. The finals also take place Saturday at 2 p.m. at Lynbrook High.

St. Ignatius reached the final four by beating No. 5 Menlo (15-7), the defending CCS champion, 6-1, at Golden Gate Park on Thursday.

"They fought hard. It was closer than the score indicated, but SI had a very good team," Menlo coach Bill Shine said. "I'm proud of them and of the season they had."

The Knights close the season with a West Bay Athletic League-Foothill championship, their 23rd consecutive league title.

It was the final high school match for Georgia Anderson, Amanda Crisci, Avery King and Ellie Lieberman. Another senior, Kaitlin Hao, will be teaming with sophomore Vivian Liu for next week's CCS doubles championships.

"For the seniors, I reminded them of what the past four seasons brought - they brought the program back to the top," Shine said.

The five Menlo seniors helped lift the Knights to regional dominance with two back-to-back CCS and NorCal championships.

"This team was very unselfish, had a great attitude," Shine said. "They were all on the same page and they all wanted what's best for everyone."

M-A's doubles team of Nia Zisman and Sarah Marks, who seem to have a penchant for playing tiebreakers, also earned a point, beating their counterparts at No. 2 doubles, 6-3, 4-6, 10-7. The pair also clinched M-A's 4-3 victory over Sacred Heart on Tuesday.

Bears' No.2 singles player Julia Marks put on a courageous display of tennis, dropping her match, 7-5, 5-7, 11-9.

"We all sat there amazed at her level of tennis," Van Linge said. "You could hear people talking about what a great match it was. I was so proud of the way she handled herself. It was a tough loss and she handled it with class."

Marks, who plays a couple of tournaments every month, will be participating in the CCS individual tournament that begins Tuesday at Bay Club Courtside in Los Gatos. Her first-round opponent is No. 2 seed Ashley Yeah of Los Gatos.

"Mainly it's about playing good competition," Marks said. "I love the school season. It's fun to play with a team and I think we all meshed so well together. We're all supportive of each other."

It was that intangible that gave M-A coach Tom Sorenson reason to smile.

"We have a likable, competitive group of girls who, on any given day, can compete with anyone," he said. "We had the resources to compete and these girls found ways to give themselves a chance."

M-A's Julia Chang and Sarah Tiemann will participate in the CCS doubles tournament along with Lui and Hao.

Chang and Tiemann are scheduled to meet the top-seeded pair of Saratoga's Stephanie Ren and Monica Stratakos while Lui and Hao are slated to play against St. Francis' Emily Kha and Shreya Ravella.

Sacred Heart Prep's Sara Choy, 76-0 against high school competition, is the top seed in the singles tournament and takes on Pacific Grove's Savana McDowell in Tuesday's first round.

Van Linge, who lost to Choy on Tuesday, practices with her once or twice a week.

"It's nice being friends with her," Van Linge said. "She's super sweet. She's so tough to beat because she's so steady and you have to play your best every single point. She's not going to give you many mistakes."

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