The Peninsula Athletic League girls’ tennis tournament is set and for the first time, there won’t be a champion.
That’s because by virtue of Carlmont and Hillsdale finishing the regular season with identical 13-1 records, both teams will play in the team tournament and a final won’t be held.
Essentially, Carlmont, which earns the No.1 seed by virtue of a tiebreaker with Hillsdale, will host No. 4 seed and Ocean Division champion Mills in one match. Hillsdale, meanwhile, will host No. 3 Aragon in another match. The winners of those two matches earn automatic bids into the Central Coast Section tournament.
Both matches begin at 3:30 p.m. today.
Normally, the Bay Division’s regular-season champion gets an automatic bid into CCS and skips the team tournament, which anoints the PAL’s second automatic bid. But because two teams tied, they both will play in the team tournament.
“It would be rough to give one team a completely free pass (into CCS),” said PAL tennis chairman Bill Smith. “To give one of those teams a break and make the other play (in the team tournament) doesn’t take into account how close those two teams were.”
Carlmont and Hillsdale split their season series this year. Hillsdale won the first match 4-3, while Carlmont won by the same score the second time around.
The tie was made official after Tuesday’s regular-season finales. Carlmont cruised to a 7-0 win over Half Moon Bay, while Hillsdale pulled out a 4-3 win over Aragon — which the Knights will face again in what amounts to a CCS play-in match today at Hillsdale.
Hillsdale coach Jackie Nachtigall is not happy to have to face the Dons for two days in a row, while Carlmont gets a much easier path to CCS with the match against Mills. But that is how the rules dictate the matches take place.
The one team who would have the biggest gripe is Menlo-Atherton, which finished fourth in the Bay Division.
In any other year, M-A would be in the team tournament, but because of the tie, the Bears were the odd team out.
“I don’t like the rule,” said M-A coach Tom Sorensen. “I would say there is still one more avenue for appealing to CCS and that at-large.”
Menlo-Atherton and Aragon both finished with 8-6 league records, but the Dons got the bid to the PAL tournament by virtue of sweeping M-A during the regular season.
Despite falling short, Sorensen said his team knew the situation.
“Everyone was prepared,” Sorensen said. “We had our chances. We had a number of 4-3 (losses) to the teams ahead of us (in the standings).”
The team tournament will be followed by the PAL individual tournament, which begins next week.