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Sports: A Noozhawk Partnership with Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table, The Lab, and American Riviera Bank
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Cate Overcomes Early Nerves, Routs Oak Park in CIF Opener

Cate won eight of nine singles sets and the doubles team of Summer Christensen and Sarah Polowczak improved to 26-0 in team matches, as the third-seeded Rams rolled past Oak Park, 15-3, in a first-round match of the CIF-Southern Section Division 2 girls tennis playoffs on Tuesday.

Grace Fuss and Jackie Cai led the way in singles with sweeps of their three sets, including wins over Sylvie Van Cott, a strong player who last year was ranked in the top-300 in the U.S. for her class, said Cate coach Trevor Thorpe. Sophomore Sydney Burton won two sets on the day.

Christensen and Polowczak were overpowering in a 6-4, 6-1, 6-0 sweep in doubles. The combination of Eva Herman-Janice Ng won two sets before being subbed out in the third round. Carol Cai and Katherine Grossman lost Oak Park's No. 3 team, before recording an impressive 6-1 victories in each of the next two rounds.

Thorpe said the Rams were nervous in the beginning of the match. "I think we were down on four courts early on in the first set. Despite the slow start, we managed to snag four sets in the first round and never looked back. I'm proud of the way we got better and better throughout the match. Hopefully the playoff jitters are out and we can get off to a better start in the next match, but overall, we're playing great tennis."

Cate (11-1) will play Desert Valley League champion Xavier Prep in the Round of 16 on Friday at Indian Wells Tennis Garden, host of the BNP Paribas professional tournament.

"This is a great opportunity for our girls to compete at a high level and at a world-class venue," said Thorpe. "The drive will be tough, but we're ready for the challenge. I grew up in Palm Springs and have played on those courts many times, so we'll be ready for the slower court surface and other adjustments we need to make to be successful against Xavier."

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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