Two weeks ago, the Carlmont girls’ tennis team had Hillsdale on the ropes, only to see the Knights escape with the victory.
Hillsdale’s Cindy Liu pulled out a three-set victory over Carlmont’s Cori Sidell at No. 1 singles to clinch a 4-3 Knights’ win and keep them in first place in the Peninsula Athletic League’s Bay Division.
Tuesday was the rematch and Carlmont coach Amina Halsey had only one goal: win one of the singles matches.
The Scots did just that, beating Hillsdale 4-3 to pull into a first-place tie atop the Bay Division standings with identical 9-1 records.
And it was only appropriate it was Sidell who picked up that one crucial singles win, getting revenge over Liu with a straight-set, 6-3, 6-4 win.
“This was probably the most important (team) win (of the season),” Sidell said.
It was also arguably Sidell’s biggest win of the season as well.
“That will probably be the cake topper to her season,” Halsey said.
Sidell was primed to face Liu again. She was unable to get on the court to practice this past weekend, so she took to the court Tuesday morning just to get in a workout.
“I was out on the court at 7 a.m. just to get a hit in,” Sidell said.
That kind of dedication paid off for Sidell Tuesday. She said he got away from her game the first time she faced Liu this season.
“Last time, I played tentative in the second and third sets,” Sidell said.
Much like the previous match, Sidell won the first set Tuesday rather easily. And like the first time they faced off, Sidell said she started to feel herself play tentatively again.
This time, however, she managed to pull herself out of that slide.
“In the second set (Tuesday), there was a little of that (tentative play), but then I had to collect myself,” Sidell said. “As my mom said, ‘Keep your foot on the gas.’”
Liu’s loss was her first in PAL play and the first Hillsdale singles player to lose a PAL match this season.
Sidell’s win turned out to the be pivotal one because the rest of the match played out like the first meeting. Aside from Liu’s loss, the Knights dominated the rest of the singles matches. Natalie Spievak cruised to a 6-0, 6-0 win at the No. 2 singles spot, while Mariko Iinuma dropped only one game at No. 3 singles, 6-0, 6-1. Irene Palisoc had the toughest time of the three at No. 4 singles, but pulled out a 6-4, 6-3 win.
Carlmont, conversely, swept all three doubles matches. Pareesa Darafshi and Morgan Watson set the tone with a 6-3, 6-1 win at No. 1 doubles, Michelle Guan and Zoe Wildman cruised to a 6-1, 6-4 win at No. 2 doubles, while Julia Mirande and Sydney Cho took care of business at No. 3 doubles 6-3, 6-2.
Both teams are now 9-1 with four matches left to play in the regular season. If Carlmont and Hillsdale finish in a tie, they will both play in the PAL team tournament, along with the second-place finisher in the Bay Division and the Ocean Division champion.
Normally, the Bay Division champion would be exempt from the league tournament and go directly to the Central Coast Section tournament. Meanwhile, the Nos. 2, 3 and 4 teams from the Bay, and the Ocean winner, would play in the league tournament.
If the standings remain status quo, Carlmont and Hillsdale would both be in the league tournament and the fourth-place finisher from the Bay would be knocked out.
Halsey, however, is not looking that far ahead.
“We still have some work to do,” Halsey said.
In other PAL action, Menlo-Atherton routed Burlingame, 7-0. The Bears won five of the seven matches in straight sets.
The Nos. 2 and 3 doubles teams needed three sets to pull out wins. Taylor Noble and Leila Volpe, the Bears’ No. 2 doubles team, won their first set 6-3 before dropping the second set by the same score. They rebounded to win in the third, 6-3.
The No. 3 team of Julia Chang and Camilla Camassini dropped the first set of their match, 6-3, but won the second set 7-5 and the super tiebreaker 10-7 to clinch the match.
San Mateo also won all seven of its matches in a 7-0 victory over Sequoia.
The Bearcats lost a total of nine games in four singles matches and nine more in three doubles matches.
Lindsey Pantuso, San Mateo’s No. 3 singles player, put on the most dominating performance, winning in straight sets at love, 6-0, 6-0. Lizzie Siegle at No. 1 singles dropped on two games in winning 6-2, 6-0. Michelle Kwon won 6-3, 6-0 at No. 2 singles and Akira Nakamura completed the singles’ sweep with a 6-4, 6-0 win at No. 4 singles.
In doubles, Tiffany Lee and Deanna Chan (No. 1), Kimi Hirano and Ginny Yao (No. 2) and Katherine Arackparampil and Sethmi Kachchakaduge (No. 3) all won in straight sets for the Bearcats.