The Official Student-Run Newspaper of California High School

The Californian

The Official Student-Run Newspaper of California High School

The Californian

The Official Student-Run Newspaper of California High School

The Californian

Men’s tennis team wins Cal’s first NorCal title

Jerry Xu
Sophomore Vincent Le raises the Northern California team championship trophy while surrounded by his teammates after Cal High’s 6-1 victory over Homestead High in Folsom on May 19. Cal finished runner up to the state title.

Cal High’s men’s tennis team continued their impressive run this season by winning the first Northern California championship in school history.

The Grizzlies made history on May 19 by beating Homestead 6-1, become the first school from the North Coast Section to win the NorCal team title.

Unfortunately, Cal had their 25-match winning streak come to an end last Saturday when the Grizzlies (25-1) fell 6-1 to Southern California champion University High-Irvine in the CIF State Championship at Fresno State University.

This was the first tennis team championship in state history.
“I think that everybody did really well,” junior Justin Ge said. “[I’m] hoping to go back next year to win it.”

Despite falling short of the title, players are still extremely proud of their historic season.

“It’s been a good season,” junior captain Jerry Xu said. “We couldn’t bring it home in the end, but that doesn’t take away from the rest of the season’s accomplishments.”

Cal enter the state title match with a lot of confidence despite facing a University team that boasted an impressive 30-2 record this season and had won the SoCal title the past three seasons, 12 overall.

“They have a lot of five-star four-star recruits,” sophomore captain Satvik Mallya said before the match. “They’re a tough team. Obviously, it’s SoCal, so it’s going to be even harder. But we’re equally as strong.”

Xu agreed before the match that Cal would have a tough fight against University for the state championship, but believed that a good strategy increased their hopes against a strong University roster.

“I know their team has some players playing college and they may have a bit more experience than us,” Xu said before the match. “But if we strategically place our ladder we might have a bit of a chance to win. It’s definitely going to be harder than winning CIF (NorCals).”

Like Mallya, sophomore Kenn Wijesekara believed going into the match that Cal had a strong team to put up a tough fight against their opponent.

“They have a lot of strong USTA [United States Tennis Association] junior players, who are nationally ranked,” Wijesekara said. “Their roster is a bit more spread out, but I think we still have a chance to win.”

Despite finishing as runners-up, Cal had the confidence to win after a dominating performance at NorCals and through much of the season.

Top-seeded Cal opened its two-day run to the NorCal title on May 17 with a 7-0 win against Orland. The team then beat Redwood 5-2 in the semifinals before clinching the title over second-seeded Homestead.

“The win felt good, but we should have won it last year,” said Ge, referring to the team’s loss to Amador Valley in the NCS semifinals last season.

Mallya believes the team had a lot of confidence to win NorCals after Cal’s win against two-time defending NCS champion Mission San Jose in the NCS finals on May 11 at James Logan High School.

“We weren’t expecting to win, but I felt like we had the confidence, coming off of the win against Mission San Jose,” Mallya said. “Being seeded No. 1 in the CIF really gave us the confidence to be like we’re here to win and we’re not going to bow down to any of you.”

Xu saw a change in the team’s lineup between last season and this season.

“Last year we had a lot of players that were capable of just playing singles but were not excelling in doubles,” Xu said. “This year we have players that can play both singles and doubles, so we were able to allocate some of our singles players to doubles.”

With this kind of lineup, coach Manuel Vasquez was able to increase the team’s number of wins by moving strong singles players into doubles matches.

“This is the best season we ever had for everybody knowing how to play doubles,” Vasquez said. “This has been the biggest key for our success.

“So far, we have been the best school in doubles,” he continued. “It has brought us some of the victories because of our great doubles players. We had better knowledge of doubles which has helped us to win more.”

Using this strategy, Vasquez and the team were able to take home the NCS title, beating No. 16 Maria Carrilo 7-0, No. 8 Miramonte 6-1, and No. 4 Redwood 6-1 to set up the title match against Mission San Jose.

After falling short in the NCS semifinals last year, Cal rose to the occasion and beat No. 2 Mission San Jose 4-3 to win the school’s first NCS title since 1990.

Sophomore Lio Gular and Xu shared a common feeling about building confidence and coming off of the NCS win.

“I don’t think we ever thought we were going to lose,” Gular said.

Xu agrees, saying Cal’s confidence increased after winning NCS.

“After we beat [Mission] at James Logan, we felt we could beat any team,” Xu said.

Cal had many other highlights this season, including a second-straight EBAL title and winning the James Logan Invitational.

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About the Contributor
Mahita Chava
Mahita Chava, Staff Writer
Sophomore Mahita Chava is entering her first year of newspaper at Cal High as a staff writer. She hopes to improve her writing skills through this class. She also plays for the varsity tennis team at Cal. In her free time, Mahita likes to play tennis with friends, take her dog out on walks, spend time with friends and family, and travel to new places.

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