Given the suspension of athletics in the county, the Daily Journal decided to dive into our 20-year archives to bring readers some of our favorite stories over the years.
NOV. 11, 2015 — Burlingame tennis coach Bill Smith’s definition of a “butt-whipping” in tennis is to sweep every match, without dropping a set, and the number of games lost is equivalent or less than the number of matches played — seven.
OK. Maybe the Panthers didn’t quite live up to their coach’s definition, but they definitely put together a dominating performance in beating visiting Scotts Valley 7-0 in the first round of the Central Coast Section girls’ tennis tournament Tuesday.
Burlingame’s four singles players — Halle Martinucci, Natalie Somers, Sarah Sinatra and Lindsey Schloetter — were especially impressive, and aggressive, as all four won in straight sets.
All four did a good job of attacking when their opponents left a shot short in the middle of the court.
“I think we’re all aggressive in our own way,” Somers said.
Somers was involved with a banger in Scotts Valley’s Phoebe Codiga at the No. 2 singles match, who was willing to trade baseline shots with Somers, who admitted it helped her focus her aggressiveness.
“I’m normally pretty aggressive, not usually very successfully,” said Somers, who won 6-0, 6-0.
Martinucci faced a different style at No. 1 singles, where she beat Desiree Rakela 6-0, 6-0. Rakela was willing to simply block shots back to Martinucci on most occasions, forcing the Burlingame sophomore to wait until the time was right to go for winners.
“I really like to play it safe so I know I can end the point,” Martinucci said. “In the beginning (of my career) it was hard to be patient. … When you see your opportunity (to hit a winner), you have to take it.”
Smith said his normal pre-match instruction is to simply keep balls alive and wear out the opposition.
“Play to dark,” is how Smith described it.
But he also realized that several members of his team have played a lot of high-intensity tennis over the last couple of weeks — playing in the Peninsula Athletic League team and individual tournaments — and it might behoove his players to end their matches as quickly as possible.
“If an opponent is giving you a shot, they should be attacking aggressively,” Smith said. “They got opportunities (Tuesday) and they took advantage.”
Sinatra and Schloetter rounded out the singles’ sweep for the Panthers. Sinatra won her No. 3 singles match 6-0, 6-4. Schloetter had to work a little harder at No. 4 singles. She fell behind 4-1 in the first set before winning five straight games to win 6-4. After dropping the first game of the second set, Schloetter won six games in a row to post a 6-1 win.
All told, Schloetter won 11 of the final 12 games played.
On the doubles side, Burlingame was nearly as untouchable, although the No. 2 team of Ashley Coskey and Alex Oecshle needed three sets to win their match. They dropped the first set to Jade Zdeblick and Sheena Gee 6-3. The Burlingame duo rallied the win the final two sets and the match, 6-3, 6-3.
The No. 1 and No. 3 doubles matches were less dramatic, as Burlingame’s Arisa Dintcho and Marie Blukher won 6-1, 6-4 at No. 1 doubles, while Monica Millett and Eleni Rally won 6-0, 6-2 at No. 3 doubles.
Next up for Burlingame (15-8) in the second round is PAL Bay Division rival and No. 7 seed Menlo-Atherton (18-4), which had a first-round bye. The Bears swept the season series from Burlingame this season on their way to the PAL regular-season championship, but Smith is hoping Tuesday’s dominant win gives his team some confidence facing an M-A squad for the third time this season.
“[We’re] riding in with a ‘Hey, we did pretty good,’ (attitude),” Smith said. “If we start off strong … we might be able to ride the crest of playing good (playoff) tennis.”
M-A beat Burlingame 6-1 in the second meeting of the two teams, but three of those matches went three sets.
“We probably played our best match against (M-A) the last time we played,” Smith said.