The Los Altos High girls tennis team didn’t have much time to enjoy last week’s first-round win in the Central Coast Section playoffs. The day after cruising to a 5-2 home victory over Salinas, the unseeded Eagles encountered a much tougher team: No. 2 Los Gatos.
The Wildcats prevailed 6-1 in the Nov. 8 match, played on neutral courts at Lynbrook.
“We fought hard and played as well as we could,” Los Altos coach Hung Nguyen said, “but the other team was better and overwhelmed us.”
The Eagles’ lone win came at No. 1 doubles, where Aline Wu and Kylie Akiyama pulled out a three-setter: 6-2, 4-6, 10-5.
“They played toe-to-toe with them, made less unforced errors and came through,” Nguyen said of his duo. “It was probably their best match together.”
Los Altos lost its six other matches in straight sets. Although the Eagles’ strength is singles – No. 1 player Nadia Ghaffari is the No. 4 seed in next week’s CCS individual tournament – it’s Los Gatos’ strength, too. The Wildcats’ top two players, Ashley Yeah and Sarah Bahsoun, are seeded second and third, respectively, in the CCS tourney.
Against unseeded Salinas, the Eagles swept the singles. Ghaffari, No. 2 player Karina Shah Chavez and No. 4 Krithika Nathamuni triumphed in straight sets; No. 3 Celeste Tran survived a three-setter that went to a super tiebreaker (10-6). Wu-Akiyama added a straight-set victory in doubles.
“It was a great win for us,” Nguyen said, “but it was pretty tough in the beginning.”
Although Los Altos’ season ended the next day, the coach is pleased with what his squad accomplished.
“Going 18-5 is a pretty good achievement, especially since we lost seven seniors (to graduation last spring),” said Nguyen, whose Eagles finished second in the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League El Camino Division. “It was a successful season, and I’m proud of them.”
He added that the program’s “future is bright,” with the top four singles players and four of the six starters in doubles set to return next year.
And the season isn’t quite over for all the Eagles. Ghaffari and the doubles team of Akiyama and Shah Chavez were scheduled to begin play in the CCS individual tourney Tuesday, after the Town Crier’s deadline.
No. 3 St. Francis also fell victim to Los Gatos, but in Saturday’s semifinals. The Lancers lost 4-3, finishing the season 16-7.