There comes a moment in every team’s athletic season when the team is tested, both physically and mentally, and put to its limits. For the Palo Alto High School’s boys tennis team, that moment came during a rousing victory at its last match of the season against Los Altos High School.
The Vikings were one win away from clinching a spot in the postseason Central Coast Section (CCS) on April 16, with a Santa Clara Valley Athletic League (SCVAL) record of 1-9 and a non league record of 10-10.The squad’s sole league win was a 6-1 triumph over Los Altos on the road earlier this season.
After some frustration through March and April, the boys kept cool heads, put aside their past losses and trounced Los Altos 6-1 once again, this time at Paly.The nearly perfect match was marred only by a loss from the doubles team composed of sophomores Noah “Slaps” Galper and Henry “Yaddidio” Badger. With a strong team effort as well as added spiritual guidance from the seemingly omnipresent Super-Fan Dan, boys tennis secured a spot in CCS.
“We’re extremely happy to make CCS, and although we only got a 10-10 record, I believe we can bring solid competition to the other teams,” Badger said.
However, the team acknowledges that it does need to step up its season’s performance in order to be successful during the CCS playoffs. With five sophomores on a 13 man roster, the squad has had some difficulty this season due to lack of experience, but has managed to compensate for that with excellent team chemistry. The upperclassmen have praised their younger teammates, who have stepped up to become solid team players and will be integral for the teams performance next year.
“[Sophomore] Adrian Smith has gotten very good at anticipation and sensing what’s going on this season,” senior Eric Lu said.
Smith, a returning varsity player, has played all season long in a singles spot, which is unusual for an underclassman.This year, Smith has been and will be a crucial component for the young squad.
Sophomore Kevin Chen has also played an instrumental part as a team player this season, exhibiting the strong work ethic that defines the boy’s tennis team. Chen has been called the leader of the “sophomore dream team,” a nickname given to the five sophomores on the team.
“I’d like to think that with our chemistry and spirit we make a huge impact on our team,” Badger said of the sophomore dream team.
Putting an at times rocky but always positive season behind them, the boys look to make a name for themselves in the postseason and have already started planning for next year.
“I believe that next year we have a solid chance, so hopefully we can finish SCVALS on a good note and improve for next season” junior and team co-captain Shiv “Twister” Matta said.
Matta will be returning next year and will continue his important role as a team captain while also keeping the spirited members of the sophomore dream team (soon to be junior dream team) on track. Matta is determined to display his hard work over the season during CCS.
“Los Altos was a big win for us and we’re in CCS and we’re going to play hard and just see how far we can go — we have nothing to lose.” Matta said.