Published October 19th, 2016
Rivalry Matches Set to Determine DAL Girls Tennis Title Race
By Karl Buscheck
From left, Quinn Harrington and Lauren Ladrech Photo Gint Federas
With a 6-1 record in league play, the Miramonte girl's tennis team is tied atop the league standings with Acalanes as the final days of DAL play await.

For the Mats to secure the top spot, they'll have to get past Northgate at home on Oct. 20 and Acalanes, who they host on Oct. 25 in the final match of the league season.

"In the DAL, it's literally going to come down to who beats who at what total," head coach Michael McCollom said of the close race.

The Mats find themselves in a strong position thanks to a broad array of contributors. McCollom highlighted the play of junior Allison Burkhalter - the team's No. 2 singles player - and a whole collection of doubles standouts.

The No. 1 doubles team consists of senior Lucy Stenovec and sophomore Michelle Tang, juniors Annie Heckler and Kiki Immel make up the second pairing, and seniors Taylor Geary and Tana Tasker are third on the ladder.

"I'm really proud of my girls," said McCollom. "And I'm really looking forward to the challenge of trying to beat these other rock stars (who play for our rivals)."

More than a few of those rock stars are on Acalanes' roster. Like the Mats, Dons (6-1 in league) have been relying on a slew of players.

"It was just amazing how brave and gutsy they are," said head coach Stephanee Lawrence. "And I'm really proud of all of my girls.

Lawrence fired off a long list when asked to name her top players. Freshman Skylar Jeveli, sophomore Sydney Bell, junior Sasha Schtein and senior Maddie Bakar have all stepped up as singles players. As for doubles teams, juniors Maddie McDonagh and Meagan Cardiff have excelled as a pairing, along with seniors Quinn Harrington and Lauren Ladrech.

That group leads the Dons against Campolindo at home in the second-to-last league match on Oct. 20. Then Acalanes will turn its attention to the Mats in the final match on Oct. 25. The last time the team met was on Oct. 6, when Miramonte won 5-4.

Lawrence recalled the scene following the narrow defeat.

"All the girls came up to me, which is a big contrast - they've grown so much over the last year- and said, 'Coach, we're going to get them next time,'" Lawrence said.

"That's the kind of girls they are."

In the final week of the league season, Campolindo will also be looking to avenge a couple of close losses to its neighbors.

"It's very much a very even (league so far)," said head coach Steve Robinson. "In out first five matches, four of them were determined by a 5-4 score, which is as close as you can get."

The Cougars won two of those 5-4 matches. The two losses came against Miramonte and Acalanes.

"Essentially all those matches come down to a few points here and there to determine what happens," Robinson added.

Robinson described senior Vivian McGowan as his leading singles player, while crediting senior Sierra Ramer and junior Hannah McDonnell for forming the top doubles team for the Cougars. But the coach also pointed out how important the squad's depth has been to the Cougars' success in league.

"We're fairly level throughout the lineup," Robinson said. "There's not like a superstar and then there's some big huge drop-off."

With matches at Acalanes on Oct. 20 and at College Park on Oct. 25 to close out the season, Robinson looked to the fall of 2015 to draw inspiration for his team.

"Last year, we played our best tennis at the end of the year and into the North Coast section," Robinson said. "And we're hopeful that we can do the same this year. It did work out nicely to be playing our rivals at the end of the season."

Reach the reporter at:

Copyright Lamorinda Weekly, Moraga CA