Grizzly tennis team dominates EBAL this season

After going 13-0, Cal is poised to win its first ever league title


Photo by Alexander Gomes

Sophomore Elbert Said delivers a serve during the Grizzlies’ 8-1 win over Dougherty Valley on March 30.

KK Demello, Staff Writer

Cal High’s men’s tennis took the league by storm this season, winning all 13 of its matches and finishing off the season undefeated.
The Grizzlies have impressed everyone with their new and improved varsity team this season as they sit atop the EBAL standings ahead of traditional powerhouses Amador Valley and Foothill.
“So far, we’re doing really well,” head coach Manny Vasquez said. “We are undefeated and the guys are playing at a D-1 high school level.”
Cal had a good squad last year, finishing 14-4 and placing among the top teams in EBAL. But this season the Grizzlies established themselves as the team to beat early in the season by knocking off defending league champion Amador Valley 7-2 on March 9 and last year’s runner up Foothill 5-4 on March 14.
The Grizzlies also beat Amador and Foothill the second time around 5-4 and 7-2, respectively.
With a record of 13-0 and a tireless work ethic that this team puts in regularly, Cal is looking to win its first league championship in school history.
“It’s something that we had coming for the past few years because we knew that there were some talented freshmen coming in,” junior Sachit Ganotra said. “Over half the varsity squad is freshman this season.”
This includes freshmen Lio Gular and Vincent Le. The varsity team also includes sophomores Elbert Said, Hritvik Hooda and Jerry Xu.
Cal also benefited from the addition of its new top singles player, junior Karthik Pandian, who transferred from Quarry Lane. Pandian is enjoying his first year at Cal and has grown fond of his new teammates.
“They’re great teammates and are always cheering during the matches, especially during the close ones,” Pandian said. “It’s fun to practice with them and compete against other schools, as they always bring a lot of positive energy.”
Pandian is also loving the hot streak the team is on right now.
“This would not be possible without all of the coaches and players putting in effort in matches and practices,” he said. “Even when we are down a point,we fought back to get the victory.”
While this is the best team Cal has had in years, there are always aspects of the game where they can do better.
“No matter what level you play at you can always improve,” Vasquez said. “The key when you’re undefeated is to keep everybody hungry, working hard, and to still have fun at the same time.”
Vasquez is looking forward to the teams performance in the EBAL Tournament this week.
“I don’t wanna jinx it for us but I think we do have the players to [win league],” Vasquez said. “ I think we are the favorites to win EBAL this year by the way we have been playing so far.”
Winning both of its matches against Amador has helped set up Cal for the title. Amador is well known for having a very strong team.
“If we can beat them,” Vasquez said, “I’m pretty sure we might have a great chance to win it all.”
The two-day EBAL Tournament concludes today at the Livermore Valley Tennis Club.