The CIF run for the Cate doubles team of Carol Cai and Grace Fuss came to an end Thursday in a 6-3, 6-2 loss against Westlake’s Samantha Noh and Esssence Wang in the Round of 16 of the Southern Section Individual Tournament at the Seal Beach Tennis Center.
The Westlake team last year eliminated Cai/Fuss in the final of the Northern Regional tournament.
“The competitive and momentum swings were very similar,” Cate coach Trevor Thorpe said of the two meetings.
Noh/Wang jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first set before Cai/Fuss bounced back and won the next three games. But Noh/Wang served out the set to take the win.
Cai blasted a pair of aces en route to winning the first game of the second set. The teams traded wins until Noh/Wang “gained a vital edge in the fifth game and the momentum began to shift in their favor,” said Thorpe.
The Westlake team expanded its lead to 5-2 and rallied from a love-40 deficit in the eighth game to take the match.
“It didn’t go our way today, but the truth is, everyone left in this tournament is an exceptionally strong tennis player,” Thorpe said. “This is the strongest section in the country and Carol and Grace should be very proud of what they’ve achieved here this week, as well as during their four years as key members of a Cate team that went 47-3 during their tenure.
“These two are some of the best players to ever come through Cate’s tennis program and they were also excellent team captains this year. We’ve got big shoes to fill in 2020.”