Hornets sweep doubles, stay undefeated in league play
The Berkeley High girls’ tennis team took their first loss on Thursday, falling to Alameda, 5-2, at Scenic Courts in Berkeley.
Although Berkeley’s number-one singles player, Megan Sweeney, easily defeated her opponent, the ’Jackets could only muster one other victory and fell to 1-1 on the year. Allison Headley won at number-three singles for Berkeley’s other win.
Sweeney, a sophomore, is in her second season as Berkeley’s top player. She simply overpowered her opponent, Jessica Hanley, with her baseline game, winning 6-1, 6-3. Ranked 13th in Northern California in her age group last year, Sweeney is one of the top players in the ACCAL.
Headley defeated Regina Leung 6-4, 6-1.
The most surprising loss for the ’Jackets came at number-two singles, as Monique Le lost to Lisa Hathaway. Le was the aggressor for nearly the entire match, but was blowing hot and cold all afternoon. After dropping the first set, 6-0, thanks to a large number of unforced errors, Le came back to take a 5-1 lead in the second. But the momentum swung suddenly in the athletic Hathaway’s favor as Le started missing her shots again. Hathaway’s quickness and long reach allowed her to return most of Le’s shots, although with little power. Le fell apart, losing six straight games to lose the set at 7-5, giving Hathaway the win.
“Monique started slow, but I thought she had it going in the second set. I don’t know what happened,” Berkeley head coach Dan Seguin said. “When she starts to go bad, she’s got to do something to slow it down, come talk to me or something.”
Alameda’s Cynthia Lee beat Carly Kleiman at number-four singles, giving the Hornets (5-5 overall, 4-0 ACCAL) a split in the singles competition. That left the deciding matches up to the doubles teams, and Alameda had a distinct advantage. Berkeley is not a deep team this year, thanks to three seniors who chose not to play despite having success last season as juniors.
“If I could get everyone out here who can play, we would win the league,” Seguin said. “But I lost two of my singles players, and that carries down to the doubles.”
Alameda made quick work of the ’Jackets in the final three matches, winning them all in straight sets. Top team Lindsay Corica and Liz Lan beat Violet Leher and Adi Nevo 6-3, 6-2, while Amanda Hanley and Alice Gong clinched the win for the Hornets by defeating Gail Nipitnura and Lilly Schneider, 6-0, 6-1. The final match pitted Nicole Chang and Linda Leung against Berkeley’s Justine Osborne and Rachel Leibman, with the Alameda team winning, 6-1, 6-2.
Alameda dealt the Jackets their only two league losses last year, going undefeated and winning the ACCAL. Seguin said the same scenario could play out this season as well.