Published April 26th, 2023
Lamorinda Tennis - success in competitive league
By Jon Kingdon
Miramonte's Gavin Dille Photo Jon Kingdon
As with all of the spring sports, the Lamorinda tennis teams have been at the mercy of the weather. "With eight missed practices, practice matches and regular matches having to be rescheduled, getting ready for the season becomes difficult when you only have a couple of weeks to prepare," said Acalanes head coach Rick O'Brien. Still, Acalanes (8-1), Campolindo (7-2) and Miramonte (6-3) have been very strong in league play as they are all positioning themselves for the post-season DAL tournament.
With a roster that was primarily made up of underclassmen last season, O'Brien has a strong returning team this year. "The character of our team shows in its improvement from last season," O'Brien said. "Many of them played in tournaments, went to clinics, took lessons, and came back playing a lot better than they did last year. We have a big upper class with eight seniors and juniors on the team this year, so we had some continuity from last year which has helped the team chemistry."
The singles players are led by seniors Tyler Toni, Zach Snyder and Aaron Brown, junior Tucker Brewer, and sophomore Nick Owens.
"Tyler has been our number one singles player but missed some time with a pulled hamstring and has just returned to action and is playing very well," O'Brien said. "Owens has stepped up to play number one when Tyler was out, and he's been a rock. Brewer really improved a lot, playing number three after playing sixth last year. Zach's primarily dedicated to singles and Aaron has been switching back and forth in singles and doubles and they've both been really valuable to the team."
The doubles teams are still in flux as O'Brien is still working on coming up with the best pairings on the team: "Our most established doubles team right now is sophomore Sammy Foster and junior Will Lofting who have played together the longest. Aaron Brown has been a key doubles player along with Kaya Hoeberechts, Riley Bonner, James Cortez, and Ben Reinsberg. At this point, it's playing the pairs that have been the best together at practice."
O'Brien has a roster of 20 players this year, two more than normal with an eye to the future. "I did it on purpose because we need to develop players for next year," O'Brien said. "I'm looking at freshman Andrew Zheng and Saaj Shah who will be our mid-pack players next year, so we need to work them. We also have 21 players on the JV team and I'm confident that if they continue to improve, they will also move over to varsity as sophomores next year."
Head coach Andrew Lee feels the Matadors are in a good position as they are finishing up their regular season. "We are where we should be," Lee said. "We're in a tough division with Acalanes, Campolindo, Northgate and we are all fairly equal teams."
Freshman Lucca Zamani has stepped in as the team's number one singles player. "Lucca has made a big difference for the team and cushioned the blow of losing our top four singles players to graduation," Lee said. "He missed some playing time but is healthy now and will be playing in the big matches for us. Lucca also competes in USTA weekend tournaments and does get to compete against the top No. 1 players in our league, really enjoying being with his teammates and I'm looking forward to him playing for Miramonte for another three years."
The next three singles players are Will Stokes, Aaron Lee, and Cameron Berg. "They all moved up two to three spots this year and are all solid players," Lee said, "Gavin Dille and Jonah Ellis who were a strong doubles team last year have been filling the fifth and six spots."
The doubles teams are in flux as Lee is still looking to find the right combination led by Ryan Myers, Evan Mishkin, Ryan Gardner, and Gunther Uriarte among other players that have been rotated in the doubles. "The weather was a real disruption with the loss of practice sessions and the rescheduling of matches," Lee said. "We're having a week where we are going to have to play four matches."
With all of the weather issues, the senior captains Lee, Stokes and Myers have been strong leaders. "When we could not practice due to the rain, they would lead the group on a mile run on the track," Lee said.
Having lost only four seniors from last years team, Campolindo is still a young team. "We have four seniors and a lot of juniors on our roster of 18 players and some of our top players are freshman and sophomores," head coach James Scott said.
The Cougars are led by two sophomores in singles, Kiumars Koopah and Edgar Alford. With freshman Linus Wirstrom and senior Jake Hammerman it has been a successful group so far. "Kiumars is our number one singles player and Edgar stepped up to the number two spot," Scott said. "Linus is playing fourth which a big spot for a freshman and he has been a very good addition to our team and Jake is the only senior that we have in our top six singles players."
The doubles teams have played well as a group. "Our doubles teams have been very strong this year with two juniors, James Martin and Aditya Kapur, playing number one and have won all of their matches this season," Scott said. "Our number two doubles have been two seniors, Tyler Panos and Ivan Zemsky, and they've won all their matches as well so far. Our third doubles team has a new player, junior Luke Yan, and Viggo Wirstrom has also played very well."
Scott appreciates what it takes to win the division, in anticipation of the post-season tournament: "We are in a league that has a number of strong teams where all the teams in our league could beat anybody on any given day so there is a lot of competition. For us to win the league and move on, our doubles teams have to stay strong like they've been all season and we'll get some wins in our singles as well putting us in a good position to be successful."

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