South Tahoe tennis sets sights on state
September 22, 2012
Cassandra Marin whips her lightning serve over the net and Emily Rives charges to put the return volley to bed.
It’s a common scenario from South Tahoe’s No. 1 doubles tennis team and the combination is unbeatable. The two are undefeated and together with No. 1 singles player Maggie Lee the girls are steering the Vikings toward a state championship win.
Both the girls and boys tennis teams are almost a given at state this year. The teams are currently No. 1 seeded headed into regional tournaments with less than a month to go until state championships. The girls team is 5-2 in conference and 6-2 overall while the boys sit 3-4 in conference and 3-5 overall.
Not that either team tremendously needed it, but this year’s league realignment helps South Tahoe even more now that it is pitted against smaller schools with similar enrollment numbers.
“When I took a look at the realignment, I just knew. I knew this was the year for these girls to actually win state for the first time in school history,” girls coach Jenny Clark said. “And the girls know it too.”
Last year, the Vikings contended with big Division I schools like Reno and still managed to make state. Lee was a big part of that push although she played with a broken elbow for part of the season.
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Of course the dynamite doubles duo of Marin and Rives didn’t hurt. Their undefeated success all starts with Marin’s serve, which is virtually not returnable. What opponents do manage to scrap back over the net, Rives slams back down their way.
“You win your points at the net. When you have a powerful serve and you’re pushing your opponent out of their comfort zone and they usually have a week return. That’s when you’re net person can jump in and put it away,” Clark said.
Perhaps even more impressive then their court accolades is the fact that the girls won All-Academic State the past two years and will probably win again this year.
The boys aren’t far behind, winning runner up in All-Academic State. Meanwhile on the court, the boys are scraping together a solid season without a single senior on the team.
“Without senior leadership, I’ve leaned on these five or six juniors to organize and get the team going,” boys coach Justin Clark said.
Led by Chad Kaassamani, Grant Fagen, Colton McHugh and Kyle Swain the juniors stepped up to carry the load.
Although, this could be written off as a building year, the boys are holding their own against older teams. They are the No. 1 seed for the team regional tournaments that will be held in one week.
“Our goal is to be over 500 in the whole league, qualify for the state tournament as a team, and also qualify at least one singles and one doubles team for the state individual tournaments,” Clark said.
Whatever happens this year, the boys team is guaranteed to be a powerhouse next season since it graduates zero seniors.