Girls’ varsity tennis loses to Tam in MCAL finals after tie-breaking match

Henry Tantum

Bright lights. A silenced crowd. Match point― the winner breaks the tie and takes home the pennant.

After nine matches, five and a half hours, and a venue relocation, the girl’s varsity tennis team was edged out by Tam 5-4 in the MCAL finals on Oct. 29, ruining their undefeated season and preventing them from winning back-to-back league championships.

Tam, the no. 2 seed, upset the top-seeded Redwood team in a marathon match that ended after a close third set in the doubles match between Redwood sophomores Molly Kehoe and Christine Watridge, and Tam’s Sara Tierney and Kendall Hiti.

A large crowd gathered at The Club at Harbor Point to watch tie-breaking match between Redwood and Tam.
A large crowd gathered at The Club at Harbor Point to watch tie-breaking match between Redwood and Tam.

The completion of the final two matches was suspended at 6:15 p.m. due to darkness and moved from Tam High School to The Club at Harbor Point, a facility with lights. The location change proved unlucky for Redwood as they proceeded to lose both matches and ultimately the pennant.

Redwood started slowly, losing three of the first four matches, including losses by the third and fourth ranked singles players Jacqueline Massey-Blake and Devon Cusack. However, a quick succession of wins from Lauren Wolfe, Abby Mullins, and Lindsay Thornton seemed to shift the momentum in favor of the Giants.

According to head coach Marlies Zeisler, the team could have won the title if they had come into the game more prepared.

“[Tam] came out ready to play and we didn’t. Some of our girls fought, but not like I’ve seen them fight,” Zeisler said. “We were overconfident because we beat [Tam] 8-1 last time we played them. We practiced hard, but maybe we could have been more serious.”

Zeisler believes that by rearranging their lineup, Redwood could fare well in North Coast Sectionals (NCS).

“NCS allows us to put some of our great singles players in doubles, which makes us very strong. That’s actually what [Tam Coach] Bill Washauer did. He took his No. 5 singles player and moved her up to No. 2 doubles. That made a huge difference,” Zeisler said.

Seedings for NCS playoffs, which consists of four singles and three doubles entries that advance independently of their team, will be announced next weekend.