Lancers prove double trouble for SI

Courtesy of St. Francis High
St. Francis High’s Akanksha Pabari, left, and Katherine Simone proudly wear their championships medals after winning the doubles championship at last week’s CCS tournament.

Avenging their straight-set loss to Tiffany Boudagian and Gabby Perich at the league finals, St. Francis High’s Akanksha Pabari and Katherine Simone dominated the duo from St. Ignatius to claim the Central Coast Section doubles title last week.

Pabari, a senior, and Simone, a sophomore, prevailed 6-1, 6-0 Nov. 20 at Bay Club Courtside in Los Gatos.

“They should have won league,” Lancers coach Lynn Horiye said of his tandem, which fell 6-3, 6-3 to Boudagian and Perich Nov. 7 at the West Catholic Athletic League tournament. “But SI played back the first time, which is unconventional, and (my players) lost their confidence because they didn’t know how to attack it. They were ready for it this time.”

Fourth-seeded Simone and Pabari – who played No. 2 and No. 3 singles, respectively, during the regular season – didn’t lose a set in CCS. Over those four victories, they lost just eight games. They saved their best effort for last, dropping just a single game in the quick win over the second-seeded SI team.

“They played with a lot more confidence,” Horiye said of his pair’s performance in the CCS title match, “and they’re just much better players.”

LA duo out in semis

Los Altos High’s Kylie Akiyama and Yuu Ishikawa, the top-seeded team, crushed the competition in the first two rounds of CCS Nov. 19. They didn’t lose a set in beating Stevenson’s Taylure Craven and Rachel Allen in the first round and Aragon’s Jessica Fu and Christina Wu in the quarterfinals.

But then they faced Simone and Pabari. The St. Francis duo prevailed 6-1, 6-1.

“They could have played better,” Eagles coach Hung Nguyen said of senior Akiyama and junior Ishikawa, “but they were never tested and not really ready for that pace. Those double-bagel wins the first day may have been a curse.”

However, the coach didn’t want that semifinal setback to sour a stellar postseason run by Akiyama and Ishikawa, who won the SCVAL De Anza Division doubles crown before their two convincing CCS tourney victories.

“To make it this far is awesome already,” he said. “I’m really proud of them.”

SF’s Chulani eliminated in semis

St. Francis’ Alisha Chulani got as far as the semifinals of the CCS singles tournament.

The fourth-seeded senior fell to No. 1 Kate Duong of Cupertino 6-1, 6-1 Nov. 20 at Bay Club Courtside.

“She gave it her best effort, but it’s hard to beat the other girl,” Horiye said. “She’s great.”

Before falling to eventual champ Duong, Chulani won two matches in straight sets on the first day of play. She opened with a 6-1, 6-0 triumph over Santa Catalina’s Ceci Alcaraz and then topped Gunn’s Mahima Agrawal 6-1, 6-3.

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