In a stunning turn of events, the Palo Alto High School boys tennis team did not qualify for the Central Coast Section (CCS) postseason after finishing with a 10-10 record in the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League.
As reported in the May 1 edition of The Campanile, the team believed it had barely clinched a spot in CCS by winning its last game of the season against Los Altos High School.
“I’m so upset, but at the same time we can take it as a learning experience,” sophomore Henry Badger said. “We played great teams, and next year we know how to come back out and beat those guys.”
Though the victory was sweet, it left the Vikings one spot away from advancing to CCS. Confusion by players as well as coach Andy Harader led the boys to believe that they would be moving on to the postseason when in fact their tying record with Los Altos was not enough to do so.
There is no denying that age was a difficulty this season, despite a strong effort from the strong sophomore players (Badger, Dylan Polley Kevin Chen, Noah Galper and Adrian Smith).
After the 2014 season, the team lost seven seniors and, consequently, lots of leadership and experience. Though players stepped up and improved the young team’s chemistry, lack of experience inhibited the success of the team.
“We didn’t make CCS this year but we’ll make it next year,” junior and team co-captain Shiv Matta said. “We’re a young team so it’s all good.”
Freshman Hunter North contributes to the hope of future success after being pulled up from the junior varsity team at the end of this season. Though North did not play on varsity for as long as the rest of the team, he had a chance to adjust and also feel that pain of barely missing the postseason. North is also optimistic about the team’s CCS chances for next year.
“We will be older and better next year,” North said.
Already looking ahead to next year, the boys are prepared to learn from their errors this season and translate that into success for 2016.
With the season over, Paly boys tennis is not content to put their rackets away just yet. They plan to work hard through the summer, fall and winter and come back older, wiser and ready to make a name for themselves.
“Obviously it was sad we weren’t able to make it to CCS, but this season was a great opportunity to fix our [athletic] mistakes,” sophomore Kevin Chen said.