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May 14, 2008 > North Coast Section (NCS) Boy's Tennis Playoffs

North Coast Section (NCS) Boy's Tennis Playoffs

Submitted By Head Coach Bill Patton

In a busy week of NCS Team Tennis play, Mission San Jose High School of Fremont has proven to be capable of upsets. Tuesday, May 6, at San Francisco State University, the number nine seeded Warriors of Mission won the first five matches against number eight seeded University High Red Devils of San Francisco to come off the courts with a victory that took only about an hour to play. Mission's number one player, Stephen Yu, led the charge by winning over University's number one, David Schenker, 6-0, 6-1, with every Warrior playing great tennis. University did prove to be a worthy opponent, especially at number three singles and number three doubles, where they won two of the seven matches with both going three sets. The final score was Mission San Jose, 5 and University, 2.

On Thursday, May 8, Mission pulled a huge upset vs. Redwood High Giants of Larkspur who came into the match as the number one seed in NCS. The Giants only loss of the year was to national power, Menlo School of Menlo Park. Redwood's overall record of 20-1 made them one of only two teams in NCS this year with a twenty win season. Boasting last years NCS champ at number one singles with his 130 mph serve, Andrew Kells, the Redwood team showed why they were seeded number one. In addition to Kells, Redwood has two other top ten USTA (United States Tennis Association) NorCal talents, Alex de Chatellus, and Conor Berg.

"We came in with the idea of laying it all out there and seeing what might happen. We never throw in the towel, but I knew we could lose three runaway matches, and possibly lose four tougher matches," says Mission's realistic Head Coach Bill Patton. "However, I hoped that if we played our absolute best tennis good things could happen. Always believe you can win!"...and they did. The Warriors' doubles team of Kyle Richter and Andrew Sutedja struck the first axe with a straight sets win at number one doubles. It was a fantastically well played match that was viewed by multiple Grand Slam Champion and former Davis Cup player, Vic Seixas, a member of Harbor Point Racquet and Beach Club in Mill Valley. Redwood High, based in Larkspur, hosts its more important matches at this swank club..

After Richter and Sutedja's win, the Redwood home crowd's murmurings grew louder. With such a formidable top three, all they needed was a win in one of the lower four matches, but it was not to be. Preston Lam and Varun Aasuri survived a bit of up and down play and completed a three set victory with great focus and determination, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4. Completing a 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 comeback were the freshman team of Calvin Chiang and Tony Lin, facing two seniors from the Redwood squad. "All of our doubles players were extremely aggressive at the net, and many times we played with both players up at the net", beamed Patton. "It's just what you want to see in a close match, players playing to win, and taking the match to the other team".

Brandon Nguyen was the day's final hero. Brandon came out like an arrow shot from a bow, and raced to a 6-2 win in the first set. His opponent steadied himself and played very solid low error tennis, and won the second set 6-4. In the third set, a back and forth affair, Nguyen, the sophomore Warrior, held two match points when serving at 5-3, but he was broken by the Giants' player. Nguyen then faced three match points against him when his opponent served at 6-5. However, Nguyen would break back and finished the break of serve with a strong forehand down the line after which the number four singles player pumped his fist and prepared for the tiebreaker. Playing brave aggressive tennis, Nguyen created strong shots with the thoughtful placement of an archer. His opponent seemed to stiffen under the pressure. At 6-5 in the tiebreak, the Redwood player sent one more ball into the net and the Mission team erupted with excitement as they rushed the court after their 4-3 victory.

On Saturday, May 10, in NCS semi-final play at Heritage High in Brentwood, Mission faced reigning NCS champs, Alameda High, to whom they lost, 5-2, previously this season. "We are still looking to continue the season, it will be interesting to see if we can recover from the upset, and move forward with full ferocity on Saturday." said a hopeful Coach Patton.

In the number three doubles match against Alameda, MSJ freshmen Lin and Chiang, who played great in their come-from-behind doubles victory as part of the huge upset of Redwood, may have been overcome by the team spirit exhibited by Alameda. Lin and Chang played a fantastic first set to win it 6-4, but the Alameda team came on strong, and played like defending champs as they won the last two sets, 6-3, 6-3.

When the number three doubles match was done, it looked like all was lost, since the Warriors' number two singles player, Cartney Dzoan, was down a set and a break, and Mission's Stephen Yu, at number one singles, was down a set to the number one player in NorCal, Thai Tu of Alameda. Yu then took his game to new heights to win the second set, 6-3. However, Tu played just well enough to win the third set, 6-1, a set that was more competitive than the score would indicate, as both players had multiple break points. When the number one singles went to Alameda, it gave them a 4-3 semi-final victory over Mission San Jose. "Stephen gave us a lot of hope, and we have a young team, we will learn from this and use the experience moving forward", promised Coach Patton, celebrating his 20th year coaching tennis. "Its way too early to make any projections and we are a process oriented bunch, but people might get used to seeing results like this and maybe better ones in the near future".

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