CPS Women’s Tennis Defeats Head-Royce to win BCL Finals 4-3
Tuesday, Head-Royce -
I always thought my life would have to go very wrong for me to be at Head-Royce two days in a row; however, that’s what happened this week. No, I wasn’t there to pick up a sibling or to marvel at how a high school could have its own athletic fields. I was there for one of the most prestigious tennis matches of the year, the CPS vs. Head-Royce BCL-East Finals.
You might be asking yourself, “Since when do tennis matches last two days?” Well, it’s the annoying combination of Head-Royce not having enough courts and not having any lights on the courts they do have. Now you also might be wondering how a school that prides itself on its athletics has such sub-par facilities, but that’s not a question that I have the answer to.
Day one of the match got off to an early start, though clearly not early enough. Matches were played, points were won, games were lost, and although I was in attendance, I must admit that I spent most of my time trying to figure out why there were so many lines on the court. The day concluded with a 3-3 overall tie, in a best-of-7 match. Angela Wang, Natalie Goldberg, and Claire/Kalia all took dubs in their matches, and Sonam Manghani, Adele/Olivia, and Julia/Leah all suffered tough losses. (If you want more details on those matches, check out Coach Glen’s recap from Thursday, emailed via Monica). However, all of this is exposition, as this article is not about day one, nor is it about matches 1-6. This is about Day Two. Match 7. No. 1 singles: College Prep’s Natalie (Nato) Yeung vs. Head-Royce’s Isabel (Izzy) Sade.
Tennis is scored in points, games, and sets, which makes it very confusing for the casual observer. In order to win a game, you must win 4 points, to win a set, you must win 6 games, and to win a match, you must win 2 sets. For the entire team to win the overall match, 4 lines (a singles player or doubles team) must win their matches. Below is a diagram that will hopefully clarify things.
Win 4 points = win 1 game. Win 6 games = win 1 set. Win 2 of 3 sets = win match.
If 4 CPS lines win their match, the team wins it all.
I will now go into some tennis terminology. “Breaking a serve” means winning a game in which the opponent is serving (one person serves all game,) and “Deuce” means the game is tied, 40-40. While tennis is sometimes played with “ad” (where you have to win games by two points), this is not the case in high school tennis, so you only had to get to 4 points to win each game. What makes the sport even more confusing, scoring within games progresses from love (0) to 15 (1) to 30 (2) to 40 (3), and then on the fourth point, you win.
Nato’s match had begun on Tuesday, but she was only a few games into the first set when the coaches decided that it was too dark to continue. So when play commenced on Wednesday, it began with Nato leading 5-1 in the first set. Coming into Thursday, Nato needed to win 7 more games, or for the mathletes reading this, 1 ⅙ more sets.
Wednesday, Head-Royce -
70 degrees, clear skies, no wind. Perfect tennis weather. I arrived at the match early, and watched as the bleachers filled with Head-Royce students, straight out of their classes. I got a chance to talk with a few of them (shoutout Sid and Sam) and we exchanged some charged, friendly banter. Before long, it was match time.
The first set resumed where it had left off the previous night, with Nato serving, down 15-30 in the seventh game of the first set. All Nato had to do was win three more points and she would be one set away from victory, but her opponent came out strong. Izzy won the game and was then able to win the next game on her serve, making the set closer at 5-3. The next game was once again Nato’s serve, and she ended Izzy’s run and won the set, 6-3. CPS was now one set away from BCL victory.
Despite losing the first set, a lot of momentum was on Head-Royce’s side, as Izzy had managed to win two games with her back against the wall in set 1. The cheers from the Head-Royce students and the approving nods from the Head-Royce administration (they were all in attendance) were also working in Izzy’s favor. Set 2 went back and forth, with Nato breaking Izzy’s serve in game 3 and Izzy breaking back a few games later. At this point, the set was tied at 3-3, with Izzy serving. Izzy won the game and went on to win two more, taking the second set 6-3. Due to how the previous day had gone, everyone knew they would be in for a tight and stressful third set.
At this point, over the course of two days, 17 sets had been played. 141 games. 916 points. And it all came down to this one final set. For the championship, for all the glory.
Nato and Izzy both conferred with their coaches, and soon, they were ready to go. Set 3 started out looking a lot like set 2, with the games going back and forth until it was tied at 3 apiece. Only three more games were needed to win it all. Nato won her serve and went up 4-3. In game 8, Izzy was serving, and Nato was up two breakpoints. But Nato lost the next point, meaning the set was tied 40-40. Izzy served, and Nato returned. Izzy hit it back, but Nato called “out.” Nato had won the game and was one game away from victory. Cougars fans cheered. Jayhawks fans cried and threw things and whined about the absence of a line judge. One fan ran over to the court to volunteer for the position but was shut down by the Head-Royce coach, who saw what Nato saw—that the ball was clearly out of bounds.
Nato was serving for the match at 5-3. CPS was one game away from making their trophy case a little less depressing. Nato’s serves weren’t quite at their best as she had been playing in the heat for well over an hour, and she netted a few (technical term for hitting the ball into the net) and went down 15-30. But Nato was resilient and she did not give up, so she tied up the game 40-40. It was once again game point. However, it was not only game point, but it was match point, and it was BCL Finals point. Nato’s serve flew over the net, where it could not be returned by Izzy. The crowd went wild.
Footage of the crowd going wild
Fans and players stormed the court as CPS won their first tennis title since 2014 and broke Head-Royce’s two-year streak. While the team celebrated, Sam from earlier stole the dunkers from the CPS snack table, but I’d say that wasn’t a bad trade, as we stole their title.
Avi Paulson is the sports editor for the College Prep Radar. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.