Sports

SHP's doubles team courting CCS girls tennis tournament

 

It was a stroke of genius, an inspired decision. Whoever decided to team Sacred Heart Prep seniors Sara Choy and Melina Stavropoulos in doubles once Choy returned from ankle surgery, well, give that person a medal.

Choy hasn't been able to play much since losing in the finals of last year's Central Coast Section tennis singles tournament.

Stavropoulos assumed the No. 1 spot and helped lead the Gators to a second-place tie in the West Bay Athletic League.

Together they won the WBAL doubles title, beating a team from Harker in Tuesday's final, 6-1, 6-0. They beat Castilleja's Mabelle Pasooij and Roxana Scott, 6-0, 6-1, in the semifinals.

The Gators (12-7) host Skyline Division champion Notre Dame-Belmont on Thursday at 4 p.m. for a berth in the CCS team tennis tournament. No matter what happens, the Gators are still likely to receive an at-large berth. Four WBAL teams made it last year.

Sacred Heart Prep, with a talented group of underclassmen, has shown a propensity for assembling an effective group of singles players with or without Choy.

Katherine Salisbury is the latest to step up. She earned a spot in the singles championship with a 6-1, 6-3 win in the semifinals.

She fell in the title match, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (5). Salisbury played No. 2 and No. 3 singles, with a taste of doubles play, this year.

Choy and Stavropoulos are 5-0 as a doubles team. Choy is 6-0, having played with Noorayn Jafri her first match.

Choy acknowledges she's not 100 percent and her doctor wanted to limit her sideways motion. And considering what Menlo coach Bill Shine said about Choy playing at 50 percent is still better than most players at 100 percent.

Now you've Choy, who only needs to cover 50 percent of the court, joined by Stavropoulos, who can cover more than 50 percent of the court and has loads of experience at the top of the ladder.

It's perfect. Choy gets to play in her fourth consecutive CCS tournament with a golden opportunity to reach her fourth straight CCS title match.

Stavropoulos, who, with Ida Robinson, was the second alternate in doubles last year and never called, has a chance to compete in the championships in her final year.

It all makes perfect sense. It's doubtful Choy would have been as effective as she's been in the past if she tried to battle through the singles.

Menlo-Atherton had the same idea, putting senior Elena van Linge, who reportedly verbally committed to Michigan, together with junior Julia Marks for the PAL doubles tournament. The Bears also have a capable option in singles with Sophie Longo.

College tennis

Stanford's Sameer Kumar opens play at the ITA National Fall Championships on Wednesday morning in Indian Wells against Columbia's Victor Pham.

Kumar received an at-large bid into the tournament after reaching the quarterfinals of the Northwest regional in Pacific.

On the women's side, freshman Michaela Gordon and sophomore Emily Arbuthnott advanced by reaching the championship match of the Northwest regional at Stanford. Gordon won, 7-5, 6-2.

Gordon was seeded No. 12 and will play Duke's Kelly Chen on Wednesday. Arbuthnott drew Michigan's Chiara Lommer in the first round.

The championship is scheduled for Sunday. The IT will have live scoring at: ITA National Fall Championships.

— Palo Alto Online Sports

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