Vars boys tennis team takes 11th consecutive victory at All City

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Vars boys tennis team takes 11th consecutive victory at All City

Senior Justin Pau faced off against Sheldon On from Balboa for the fourth year in a row.

Senior Justin Pau faced off against Sheldon On from Balboa for the fourth year in a row.

Xaria Lubensky

Senior Justin Pau faced off against Sheldon On from Balboa for the fourth year in a row.

Xaria Lubensky

Xaria Lubensky

Senior Justin Pau faced off against Sheldon On from Balboa for the fourth year in a row.

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The Lowell boys varsity tennis team dominated the All City tennis championship tournament from April 29 to May 9 at Lowell. This is the first season in which the championships were held outside of Golden Gate Park. Senior Justin Pau, sophomore Evan Fox and senior Albert Shi claimed second, third and fourth place in the All City Men’s Singles division, respectively. For doubles, senior Andrew Trinh and sophomore Angus Wong, junior Joshua Wong and senior Nathan Ng, and sophomore Jacob Beltran and senior Justin Wong took first, second and third place in the individual All City Men’s Doubles division, respectively. In the team championship matches, Lowell came in first overall, for the 11th year in a row, winning seven matches on May 7 and six matches on May 9 out of the total 14 matches.

courtesy of Steven Ganz
The varsity boys tennis team lines up for a photo after winning their 11th consecutive All City championship.

Pau faced off against Sheldon On from Balboa for first place in the individual men’s singles division. Pau and On have been playing each other in the championships for four years in a row, and the score has settled with two triumphs on either side. Pau took first place in 2016 and 2017, while On claimed first in 2018 and 2019. Though Pau fought back against On’s offensive power, he lost this year’s match 3-6, 2-6.

“Sheldon’s a powerful player. He’s able to flatten the ball really well,” head coach Bryan Lee said, juxtaposing On’s skill set with Pau’s as he watched the showdown. “Justin’s a really good returner,” Lee said. “They’re kind of opposites.”

Up until this year, no pair of singles players have faced off four years in a row, according to the Boy’s Varsity Tennis records on the CIF San Francisco Section website. Pau and On have been adversaries on the court since freshman year, but their history goes back a lot further than that. “I went to school with him in kindergarten and elementary school and middle school,” Pau said. “We used to play doubles a lot. We did tournaments and stuff like that, we did well, we won lots of awards.” Though the two are a dynamic duo when they’re playing together, they maintain a fierce rivalry in league matches. “When I’m on the court I really want to beat him,” Pau said. “I don’t treat him differently because he’s my friend…I don’t make nicer calls or anything.”

Though Pau’s All City match was high stakes and stressful, Lowell’s long standing record of success left room for fun during the tournament. Senior co-captains Eli Ganz and Nick Morgenstein showed up to their final All City match sporting matching bathrobes and brandishing Virgin Mary candles to bless the courts. The two subsequently won their doubles match in the team All City championship, ending the season on a good note.

courtesy of Steven Ganz
Senior co-captains Morgenstein and Ganz lift their championships trophy while wearing matching bathrobes.

Ganz, a third-year member, and Morgenstein, a fourth-year member, have done their best as co-captains to “leave a legacy of happiness and fun,” according to Ganz. The two put a strong emphasis on team bonding during the season to cultivate a community feeling. “I think we have one of the most tightly knit groups that we’ve ever seen,” said Ganz. “It’s a good group of guys and we’re good friends with each other.”

Ganz hopes that he and Morgenstein have helped their teammates experience tennis as more than just a competition. “We hope that we’ve put into place an environment where people can play and grow and become better, but also become friends and learn from each other and have a fun time,” Ganz said. “At the end of the day, Lowell tends to win, so we can work hard and also have a good time out there.”