The Palo Alto High School boys’ tennis team split its two matches against Cupertino High School on Thursday at Palo Alto High School.
According to head coach Andy Harader, the team played two matches to make up for one that had been rained out earlier in the season. Instead of playing the two matches on separate days, both teams decided to play both matches on the same day in a compressed version.
“Normally, our league rules say you have to play two out of three sets,” Harader said. “But because we were rained out and more rain is expected next week, we thought in order to expedite the matter we decided to try and fit them in one day. In order to do that, we played pro sets which allowed us to finish both matches in a day.”
According to Harader, pro sets involve playing one set in which the winner gets to eight games, instead of the traditional best out of three sets where the winner of each set is the first to six games.
Junior Henry Badger said that despite the difficulty of playing the pro set style as opposed to the traditional three-set match, it was beneficial for the team’s circumstances.
“The pro set format is very tough, because unless you start off well, it is hard to win matches,” Badger said. “I prefer the best out of three set matches because it shows consistency and is better for the player mentally. However, I think the pro set format worked well in this circumstance.”
In the first match, the Vikings beat the Pioneers four matches to three. Despite senior Shiv Matta retiring due to fatigue, the Vikings were lifted by victories from senior Carl Goodfriend and junior Adrian Smith, among others.
Smith was able to use his consistent groundstrokes to force his opponents into making unforced errors.
“I was able to stay consistent and keep my opponent on the run, which ended up being the deciding factor of the match,” Smith said. “My opponent had trouble staying motivated when on the run so I decided to wait for him to miss instead of me.”
Harader also praised one of his team’s double teams, made up of Badger and sophomore Hunter North, who were able to win both of their matches on the day. Badger attributed his success to his effective forehand.
“I was able to win my match by staying consistent and managing to keep my serve in and effective,” Badger said. “I tried focusing on my forehand during the second match and tried to stay more consistent in that area.”
The Vikings were unable to carry their momentum into the second match and ended up dropping it five matches to two.
After witnessing a match that involved vomiting by multiple players due to fatigue and possible heat exhaustion, Harader believes that conditions played a role in the Vikings’ loss.
“Unfortunately, in both matches we had sickness,” Harader said. “This is the first hot day and we played two matches in hot conditions. We probably need to condition more so that we are in better shape when we go into this kind of depth in a match situation.”
After the loss, junior Jerry Hong said that the goal for the rest of the year is to make it to the postseason.
“We’re hoping that we can get the 50 percent win rate we need for us to qualify to CCS [Central Coast Section],” Hong said. “We’ll just need to keep working hard and playing our best.”
The Vikings’ next match is against Monta Vista High School at 3:30 p.m. next Tuesday at Monta Vista High School.