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Hornets dominate BHS women’s tennis

By George Thomas Daily Planet Correspondent
Thursday October 26, 2000

Alameda deals Berkeley second loss of season 


It was a battle of the stinging insects on Tuesday when the Berkeley High Yellowjackets’ women’s tennis team fell to Alameda High’s Hornets by a score of six matches to one. 

With the loss, their second of the season to Alameda, the ‘Jackets fell to 4-2 in league play. Alameda are now 5-0 and are clear favorites to claim the ACCAL title. 

Alameda swept six of seven matches from the Yellowjackets in decisive fashion and looked like a force to be reckoned with in the upcoming NCS playoffs. 

Berkeley’s top singles player, the nationally-ranked Megan Sweeney, fell to Alameda’s Megan Falcon in a tough match in which the scoreline wasn’t reflective of the run of play. It was a battle of baseliners, and while Sweeney seemed to overpower her opponent at times, Falcon was steadier throughout the contest. Falcon’s victory was an excellant example of the technique known as pushing, in which a player seeks to outlast her opponent through keeping her shots soft and deep. 

At No. 1 doubles, Talia Gracer and Carly Kleiman were defeated by an Alameda pair, Valerie Surh and Liz Lam, who were simply more aggressive. While Berkeley’s tandem often let balls bounce near the net, Surh and Lam pounced on short balls, creating easy volleys and putting them away nicely. The Alameda couple played fundamental doubles, taking big swings from the baseline and attacking the net. 

Joanna Letz was the lone standout in an otherwise dissapointing day for the ‘Jackets, as she cruised to an easy victory in 45 minutes. Her individual triumph combined with her support from the sideline were not enough to power her teammates to victory, and Alameda had clinched the four matches necessary for the win well before the 90-minute mark. 

Berkeley loses only two seniors after this season, Talia Gracer and Sarah Lesser, and have two freshman in their top four spots. “Our freshman have been a big part of the team,” Letz said.  

The team also has five juniors and is likely to improve next season. The strength of Berkeley and Alameda’s programs, combined with the schools’ similar mascots and colors (Berkeley’s Yellowjackets wear red and gold; Alameda’s Hornets wear black and gold) could produce quite a tennis rivalry in the future of the ACCAL. 

“Berkeley’s an up and coming team,” said Alameda coach Glen Oetman. “Those freshman will be a force to be reckoned with. Next year this will be a real challenging match.” 

“The score may look one-sided, but the play hasn’t shown that,” Oetman added.  

“I’m happy with everyone’s performance,” Berkeley coach Dan Seguin said of his players. “Everyone did better than last time when we played (Alameda). Alameda was just a better team.” 

Berkeley finished dead last in the competitive EBAL last season, and will most likely improve to a second place finish this year. 

“It’s good to be winning,” said Letz. 

Still, Seguin is already looking forward to next season, when he hopes Berkeley can challenge for the ACCAL title.  

“We’re going to look better. We have a good shot at winning league.”