Cate girls tennis completed its perfect season with a CIF-SS Division 3 title after an 11-7 win over Culver City in the championship matchup on Friday.
“What an incredible run this has been with such a special group of girls.” Rams coach Trevor Thorpe said. “We were challenged again and again this postseason, but every time we had the answer, including today.”
The Rams led the title match from start to finish, beginning with singles victories from Alyna Takahashi and Claire Bianchi as well as doubles wins by the duos of Frances Davis/Lisa Hasebe, Sophie Alijani/Elsie Davis and Colette Chang/Reyna Takahashi.
Following the first round, Cate led by a score of 5-1 with the lone win for Culver City coming from its No. 3 singles player, who went 3-0 on the day.
“I was particularly impressed by the way we came out firing in this finals match,” Thorpe said. “This is my first championship team, so I guess it’s a new experience for me at this level, but as a coach you just know when your team is ready for the task at hand.
“Today, I felt that way right away and I think that really allowed us to enjoy the moment.”
The momentum from the first round carried over into the second as Cate picked up quick wins to lead 8-2 at one point.
However, Culver City continued to fight back until the Cate duo of Chang and Takahashi clinched the CIF title with a 6-0 win in the third round of doubles play.
With the victory already in hand, the final match on the court featured the Rams senior duo of Sophia Alijani and Caroline Batchelder, who have been with the program for four years.
Batchelder had yet to make an appearance in the playoffs due to an emergency appendix surgery, but Cate’s storybook ending was capped off by a backhand strike from Batchelder that was followed up by the Rams storming the court.
Cate ends this year’s memorable season with a spotless 17-0 record.
“It’s hard to believe that after 17 matches and 17 wins, this season is finally over, but I know we’re all going to remember this for a long time to come,” Thorpe said. “This is such a satisfying end to the season and I couldn’t be more proud of my girls.”