NOV 1, QUINCE ORCHARD—
All Blair representatives were eliminated in their first match at the regional tournament at Quince Orchard High School. Seeing their first action since a Sept 30 match against Einstein High School, freshman singles player Stephanie Paul and both doubles teams lost in straight sets.
Paul's 6-2, 6-2 loss to Wootton High School senior Courtney Willoughby was due in part to numerous unforced errors. "It was cold and windy, but that still doesn't make up for how bad I played," said Willoughby.
On the first doubles court, seniors Christina Feng and Lisa Kim were defeated 6-1, 6-1 in their first doubles match of the season. Kim and Feng played second and third singles during the season and were unaccustomed to playing in a doubles match.
According to Kim, "A singles game is totally different from a doubles game because you use different strategies. It's based more on reaction time and we aren't used to it."
A key game occurred late in the first set, where Kim and Feng came back after being down 40-15 to deuce, a result of two Walter Johnson (WJ) High School double faults. After back and forth play forced five deuces, the Wildcats finally put the game and set away on two winning volleys by WJ player Debby Lin.
Second doubles players Seema Kacker, a sophomore, and Emily Tsui, a junior, did not fare much better in a 6-0 6-4 loss to Churchill. Kacker and Tsui had the second set tied at 4-4 but were unable to recover. Already trailing 15-0 in the game, neither player was able to return Churchill's serves, putting them in a 40-0 hole that they could not battle back from.
Despite losing the second set, Kacker believes the late-match improvement was due to more opportunistic play. "The first set we just did horribly," she said. "The second set I started getting significantly more aggressive in approach shots and volleys and overheads."
After not practicing or playing in over a month, Kim called her performance "rusty" while Kacker said, "If [Emily and I] had played more together, I think things would have been better."
The single elimination tournament ended the season for all of the girls' tennis team. Blair finished the season 5-1 overall and 1-1 in division play, but were forced to miss five matches and the county tournament due to Code Blue restrictions and rainouts.
Of the five matches canceled, four were against division opponents, making it hard to tell where Blair ranked compared to their division rivals.
Next season, Blair will be without seniors Kim and Feng, and will have to fill their second and third singles positions. However, first singles player Stephanie Paul is only a freshman and all of the six regular doubles players will be returning.
Additional reporting by Kevin Fang
Michael Sidorov. More »