St. Francis Central Coast Catholic girl’s tennis coach Gay Finch said it best; this win was “huge.”
The St. Francis C.C.C. Sharks edged the Aptos Mariners for the second time in the school’s history winning 4-3 to remain perfect in Santa Cruz Coastal Athletic League play.
“It’s the biggest win we’ve ever had,” said Finch. “To beat them twice is great. All the girls were worried today. I told them, ‘don’t worry, you can do it.’”
The first finisher of the day was Sharks No. 1 player Caroline Casper. She beat Aptos No. 1 player Teagan Knight 6-0, 6-0 to get the Sharks started in the right direction.
“I think it could’ve been a lot closer,” said Casper. “Teagan is a great player, but things just went my today.”
Caroline, one half of the Casper sisters, was getting over a cold, but said that she played better than she has when she was at full health.
“This win really cemented how good we are and gives us a lot of confidence,” said Casper.
Knight was able to sneak in a few points against the best player in the SCCAL, but Caroline continued her masterful command of her shot by painting the lines over and over again.
“It’s just hard to beat her,” said Knight. “She doesn’t miss.”
The Sharks got their second and third victories when No. 1 doubles team Amber Martinez and Meg Guild prevailed over Aptos’ No. 1 Jaime Ferrell and Melinda Faulk 6-1, 6-3, and No. 4 singles Sydney Gerami protected her 10-0 record with a 6-4, 6-2 over Lyndsey Mott.
“We just have the depth that we didn’t have in the past years,” said Finch.
The deciding match came down to a long and grueling battle between No. 2s Claire Casper and Kelly McMinn.
Claire, the fierier of the Casper sisters, eventually won 6-4, 6-2 to lock in the Sharks team win.
“I tried my hardest, she’s just a really good player,” said McMinn. “Just looking forward to the tournament now that league is gone.”
The Mariners had plans of three-peating as SCCAL champs, but with the loss to the Sharks those hopes seem to have slipped away.
“We want to just beat all the other teams like we have been,” said Aptos coach Linda Hitchcock.
McMinn alluded to pairing up with Knight in doubles action for the SCCAL end of season tournament, but Hitchcock said that decision is still up in the air.
McMinn played doubles with Sanika Kshirsagar in last season’s SCCAL tournament, and the pair finished second.
Kshirsagar was the Mariners only singles winner of the day.
She powered through her match against Izzy Shahmirza in a 6-4, 6-0 sweep.
Mariners’ No. 2 and 3 doubles teams also won.
“If we keep it together for the rest of the season then that will be the first ever title and CCS trip,” said Finch. “That’s exciting.”
The Sharks will try and stay perfect at Harbor Tuesday and Aptos travels to Soquel on the same day.
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Aptos St. Francis Tennis Claire Caroline Casper Kelly McMinn Teagan Knight Sanika Kshirsagar Linda Hitchcock Gay Finch