APTOS - Three years, three trips to the Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League finals.
St. Francis Central Coast Catholic Sharks’ Caroline Casper bested her teammate Izzy Shahmirza to move to the SCCAL tennis singles finals at the Seascape Sports Club in Aptos Tuesday.
“It feels pretty good to be going back,” Casper said. “It’s a great accomplishment. I’m excited to try and win another (league title), and hopefully do better in CCS.”
The junior singles player has won the past two SCCAL singles tournaments, but has lost twice in the first round of the Central Coast Section Playoffs.
“Last year’s experience helps,” Casper said. “It showed me how good everyone else is.”
Her match was the first to be finished during the semifinals round, but Casper explained that she wished she could’ve gotten to the finals in another way.
“It’s hard to play against a teammate,” Casper said. “I wish I didn’t have to, but that’s the way it worked out.”
Luckily for Casper, Wednesday’s final will be against someone she’s never faced before.
Aptos’ newcomer Dani Potts won her semifinal match 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 against Soquel’s Andrea Totten to move on to the final.
“It’s a good feeling,” said Potts of being in the final. “It’s exciting, but I don’t really know what to expect.”
Potts joined the Mariners’ team just a week ago after moving from Freemont to Aptos.
Potts’ teammates Kelly McMinn and Teagan Knight joined forces for the first time and have made their way to the doubles finals after beating St. Francis’ team of Claire Casper and Amber Martinez 6-1, 6-2.
“It’s cool to play well even though we’ve never played together before,” Knight said. “We played a lot better than our first match.”
McMinn agrees with her teammate.
“We were more mentally focused,” McMinn said.
But McMinn has been here, and will have a common opponent across the way when she steps on the court.
Last season McMinn made the doubles finals with Sanika Kshirsagar as her teammate, but lost to Scotts Valley’s Desi Rakela and Serena Strehlke 7-5, 6-3.
Rakela and her teammate this year Nicole La Porte took down Kshirsagar and Lyndsey Mott to make it back to finals in hopes of winning her second in a row.
“We’re going to have our battle spirits on for this one,” Rakela said.
The finals will start at 3 p.m. Wednesday at the Seascape Sports Club.
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