Blair loses fourth straight divisional match
SEPT. 26, BLAZER COURTS—
The girls' tennis squad was soundly defeated by Division I Richard Montgomery 6-1, dropping Blair's record to 2-4.
Senior captain Jessica Cutler had Blair's only victory, beating Richard Montgomery's Jenny Lu 6-2, 6-1. Cutler has been a consistent force for Blair, boasting the highest scores in last week's match against Churchill as well.
Coach David Ngbea sees one key solution to the match. "The name of the game," he said, "is to keep balls in play and if we can't do that, it's not going to work."
Double faults and an inability to return serves, said Ngbea, were the largest issues. "We're basically beating ourselves," he said.
First singles player, junior Bonnie Ding, remained on the court for over two hours. Her ability to keep the ball in play allowed her to wear down her opponent. She frequently made 20 or more returns before the ball was ruled out of play. As her teammates finished their games, her set scoreboard remained 3-4 for over half an hour as plays lasted hit after hit.
Ngbea had high hopes for the team. "All of the games are winnable, except maybe second doubles," he said early in the match.
Sophomore Gloria Rinonos, who filled in for the absent junior Dawn Brimmer, had a difficult time establishing a rhythm with her partner, freshman Elissa Shiau. Shiau and Rinonos played together once before, but found it difficult to kindle any sort of cohesion.
"That," says Ngbea, "left us in a limbo."
Forty-five minutes in, however, second doubles seemed little less winnable than the rest of the games. By that time, the net scoreboards read losses across the board: respectively, Ding was losing 1-4 and juniors Priyanka Gokhale, Jasleen Salwan and senior Jessica Cutler were down 1-2. Despite long games and hard efforts, Gokhale and Salwan ultimately lost 3-6, 1-6 and 1-6, 2-6, respectively.
Doubles teams faired even worse. At 45 minutes, the first doubles pair of junior Amy Li and freshman Deepa Chellappa were down 0-5 while Shiau and Rinonos at second doubles as well as freshmen Tiffany Chang and Sarah Tran at third doubles, were each losing 1-4. Shiau and Rinonos eventually lost 1-6, 0-6 while Chang and Tran fell 2-6, 1-6.
Shiau and Rinonos struggled against a tall opponent. While Shiau and Rinones hit through the center, Richard Montgomery's Allison Caplan stood at the net and deflected their shots, slamming balls down before they could hit the ground and beyond Shiau and Rinones' reach.
Li and Chellappa had perhaps the most frustrating match, eventually losing 0-6, 0-6. Li delivered an excellent return, only to stumble after her opponent's reply, with the top of her racket barely skimming the ball to no avail. Li bent over, hands over face, and shook her head with disappointment as her opponents slapped rackets in celebration of yet another point.
Blair's next game is scheduled for tomorrow, September 28 at Quince Orchard.
Amanda Pollak. More »