Hard to believe that the Spartans have already completed their first match of the season. This was the match that was supposed to be held at the Berkeley Tennis Club. Unfortunately due to a scheduling mix up the match was held at the Channing Courts at UC Berkeley. Days after having snow at Tilden Park the match started out with a chill factor that seemed in the 40’s.
Berkeley High is a perennial winner of the West Alameda County Conference. Their team is led by a sophomore 5 Star Recruit by the name of Alex Chang. They also have another sophomore with great tennis roots, Michael Wright. Michael’s father is the current UC Berkeley Coach, Peter Wright. Coach Wright played 4 years of tennis at Cal and then played on the pro tour. He also played Davis Cup for Ireland.
Needless to say with very little practice time the Spartans got off to a slow start. We played a 7 match format with 4 singles and 3 doubles. The Spartans had several players playing in their first Varsity matches.
On Court 1 Jefrey Kubota, our Senior Super Star had his hands full with Alex Chang. Their rallies were long with deep cross court forehands and backhands at blazing speed. It was quite a battle but Alex was able to prevail in straight sets.
On Court 2 we had Senior Kyle Haley playing another tough opponent from Berkeley. Kyle has improved his game and had many games where it went to 3-3. Unfortunately Kyle didn’t win enough of those points and his opponent prevailed in straight sets.
On Court 3 Junior Anthony Kindy-Baillot was playing one of his first singles matches. He was playing Michael Wright who’s had plenty of experience playing singles. Anthony hit some great serves and big topspin forehands but Michael was too tough and consistent and Anthony lost in straight sets.
On Court 4 the Spartans claimed their only victory. Junior Shamal Perera was playing in one of his first singles matches. Shamal was so steady and made very few unforced errors. He covered the court so well that his opponent got frustrated and tried to put the ball away and made many errors at the end of some long rallies. Shamal won the first set 6-0. I decided that he didn’t need my help so I went to watch some doubles. When I came back he was down 3-4. He won 3 straight games to win his match 6-0, 6-4.
On Court 5 we had Sophomore Dimitri Kindy-Baillot playing with Sophomore Thomas Cumberlich. Thomas was playing in his first Varsity match after a great year on JV last year. Thomas and Dimitri were playing their first match as a doubles team. Dimitri hit some great first serves and Thomas was moving at the net and hitting some put aways. The team they played looked very consistent and like they had played together for awhile. The Spartans went down in two close sets.
On Court 6 was the doubles team of Junior Tony Renghini, playing in his first Varsity match, and Freshman Elliot Hawkins playing in his first Varsity match. Despite some strong play from the Spartans the Yellowjackets were steady and consistent and prevailed in two sets.
On Court 7 the Spartans featured another freshman, Max Koemer, and sophomore Aidan McNamara, both playing in their first Varsity matches. They moved well in covering the court and hit some great serves. They need to get more consistent and cut down on their unforced errors. But you can see the potential of the young pair of Spartans who have great court speed and they both play with intensity.
The Spartans travel to Heritage High School next Wednesday with both the JV and Varsity playing matches at their campus.