Girls tennis team shut down in CCS semifinals against Menlo High School


Sidney Rochnik

Everyone was on the courts at once—each of the seven matches, three in doubles, four in singles. Audience members in the stands constantly walked between the two sets of courts to keep up with the rapid pace of the scores.

The girls varsity tennis team lost 0-7 in the CCS quarterfinals on Nov. 11 against Menlo High School. They had previously won their first two games of the bracket up to this point.

Menlo’s tennis team held a 226-match winning streak the previous year, and within the first 45 minutes, almost every first set had scored in favor of Menlo.

Team captain and sophomore Penelope Wong held out the longest, with the first set ending 3-6 in a loss and taking about 15 minutes more than her peers. Coach Justin Stenger said Wong is a tournament level player who is ranked third in CCS girls tennis singles.

However, 10 minutes after Wong’s first set ended, the second set for a double’s match ended in a win for Menlo. This initiated a trend in scores that would carry through for the rest of the competition.

Despite the losing score, it was a high energy competition, the last two matches ended in a third set tie-breaker that both of the remaining teams scrambled out onto the court to watch. After two hours, both Wong and freshman Hannah Rutherford brought their games to their third, final set.

Rutherford wins a point in her third set, to the delight of her team.

Emotions running high, the team carried on cheering their fellow teammates; as Rutherford competed in her third set, her teammates in the stand shouted: “We’re your number one fans! We love you!”

Rutherford’s tie-breaker would end as a 4-10 loss, but no less energy was put into cheering on Wong’s last set. 

Wong (right) earns the eighth point of ten in her third set tie-breaker.

Wong’s drive was even more clear as you got closer, and the force of her plays that much more exciting. She picked up speed with her opponent, a few points earned by narrowly driving the ball inside the baseline, much to the Spartan audience’s delight. The score slowly ticked up for both sides over the course of fifteen minutes, but ultimately settling on a close 8-10, winning Menlo their final point.

“I thought they did a lot better than the score will reflect,” Stenger said. “I’m just proud of the season they’ve had. The score isn’t indicative [of their skill.] To get this far in CCS, they’ve done incredible. I’m proud of how everybody fought.”

Due to Wong’s position and exemplary skill level, she will continue in the CCS tennis single’s bracket, starting on Nov. 15.