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Cate Girls Tennis Loses to Mira Costa in CIF Division 1 Playoffs

Cate's debut in the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 girls tennis playoffs ended in a 12-6 loss against Mira Costa on Wednesday.

Three seasons prior, Cate was promoted from Division 4 to Division 2 and lost in the first round before going on to reach the quarterfinals in the next two seasons.

"If I can say anything about my team, it's they have always risen to meet the next challenge," Cate coach Trevor Thorpe said. "We faced a very strong team with an exponentially larger student body and from a powerhouse league. Still, from the first point to the last, we belonged. My girls have heart and they love to compete with class. As a coach and mentor, I couldn't be more proud."

Cate got wins from doubles teams Sarah Polowczak-Fritze Mayer at No. 3 and Jackie-Carol Cai at No. 1 in a brilliantly played tie-breaker. 

Jackie Cai held serve at 5-6 down with two consecutive aces to open the game and then her younger sister Carol poached the return on the next point. The older Cai fired another unreturnable serve to force the tie-breaker. The Cai sisters, recently crowned two-time TVL League Doubles Champions, took an early lead in the breaker and held it to a 7-4 conclusion.

Grace Fuss and Sydney Burton both pushed their opponents to 4-6 sets in singles action.

After dropping the first round 4-2, Cate looked to be on the rebound with a quick 6-0 win from Grace Fuss and Sydney Burton taking a 5-0 lead. Meanwhile, Jackie and Carol Cai delivered a 6-0 victory against the Mustangs' No. 3 doubles team.

The match took another momentum swing, though, as Cate's No. 2 team of Janice Ng and Jennifer Soh dropped a 6-1 set against the Mira Costa No. 1 team and Polowczak/Mayer fell 6-3 agaisnt the No. 2 team from Mira Costa

Mira Costa rallied for a win at No. 2 singles and took an 8-4 lead in the second round.

Cate got wins from the Cai sisters in doubles and Fuss in the third round.

Thorpe said five of seven sets were decided by two games or less.

Also in Division 1, San Marcos fell to Arroyo Grande, 14-4, in a first-round match.

Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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