Dynasty continues: Boys’ tennis conquers Mustangs at All-City

Originally published on May 17, 2016

Sophomore Michael Gee rallies during the Cardinals’ match against the Washington Eagles on March 17. Photo by Alexis Picache

Before approaching the NorCal tournament, the varsity boys’ tennis team won first place for the eighth consecutive time, defeating the Lincoln Mustangs 6–1 at the San Francisco Section All-City championship on May 6.

After the Cardinals’ 7–0 victory against the Balboa Buccaneers in the semifinal on May 3, the Cardinals advanced to the championships that Friday. Freshman Justin Pau led the team, with a quick 6–0, 6–1 win in the number one singles match. Number two singles player, junior Maxwell Ho, followed close behind, defeating his opponent in three sets. Junior Mitchell Wong also won his number three singles match in three sets. However, number four singles player, junior Ryan Wong, lost to his opponent 5–7, 6–3, 2–6.

Sophomore Daniel Stepanian (front) sits in a defensive stance while his partner sophomore Alvin Tom (back) serves during the match against the Washington Eagles on March 17. Photo by Alexis Picache

Number one doubles partners, juniors Ethan Trinh and Jarek Chu, came out victorious, with a 6–2, 6–0 win. Junior James Sutton and sophomore Oak Gast defeated their opponents 6–1, 6–1 in the number two doubles match. Number three doubles players, sophomore Michael Gee and freshman Nick Morgenstein, clinched the sixth win for the team with a 6–4, 6–1 victory.

Head coach Bryan Lee believed Lincoln was a challenging team to defeat. “Lincoln is a strong team, with a lot of experienced seniors,” Lee said. “They play smart tennis and strong defense. Our matches were competitive both times during the year, so we knew we were in for a battle.”

Overall, the Cardinals had a strong season. In non-league games, they had four wins and three losses, with two close 4–3 matches. In league play, the team went undefeated with a record of 8–0. In the individual All-City tournament, Pau placed first, sophomore Jacob Goldstein placed third, and Ho placed fourth in singles matches.The Cards also swept first through fourth in doubles. First place went to partners Gast and Sutton. Chu and Trinh took second, Gee and Morgenstein got third, and sophomores Daniel Stepanian and Alvin Tom placed fourth.

Junior Jack Leong serves during the Cardinals’ match against the Westmoor Rams on April 15. Photo by Ciara Kosai

Lee is impressed with the juniors of the team, who have stepped up to lead their fellow teammates in the absence of seniors. “Our leadership comes from our 11 juniors,” Lee said. “They share a lot of responsibilities. One leads warm ups, one leads conditioning, one leads certain drills or games. They hold each other accountable when doing drills and conditioning, strategize together, and give each other advice.”

In preparation for the first round of the California Interstate Federation USTA NorCal Championships, Lee plans to work on angles, net play, serves, communication, conditioning, decision-making, and returns. Norcals will take place May 20.