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Granite Bay falls to defending champ Saratoga in NorCal tennis

By: Nick Hunte/Roseville Press Tribune Correspondent
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Granite Bay High School was eliminated by defending-champion Saratoga 4-3 in the CIF/USTA NorCal Team Tennis Championships on Friday at Natomas Racquet Club.

Despite losing, there was a sense of accomplishment within the Grizzlies.

Granite Bay, the No. 2 seed in the Sac-Joaquin Section, earned a bye into the second round through rankings. Although failing to earn a NorCal win for a fifth consecutive year, coach Rory Wood was happy with what his team accomplished this season, including its fifth consecutive Sac-Joaquin Section Division II championship.

“I’m proud of all the girls from singles all the way through doubles because we were up against Saratoga, the defending champions,” he said. “All of our girls raised their level of play and played at a higher standard, so we all did what we needed to do and we’re all happy.

“Sure, we lost and nobody likes to lose, but we lost a close one. We narrowly lost, and these are the defending champs. They’re tough.”

Wood hopes his team can encounter more close matches, believing the competition will help his players improve.

“These competitive matches push the girls and make them play better tennis,” Wood said. “We enjoy the competition.”

Wood said he’ll try to line up nonleague matches with Division I schools Stockton-St. Mary’s and St. Francis next season.

Granite Bay was nearly perfect in singles against Saratoga. Juniors Lily and Chloe Forlini and Kammy Kecki won their matches, while senior Kara Kecki lost 6-1, 6-1. The Forlini sisters and Kammy Kecki were all smiles after their big wins.

“Even though we didn’t pull off the win, it was good because it was the furthest we’ve ever been before and it was good to see how we compare to other teams,” said Lily Forlini, who won her match 6-2, 6-1.

Kammy Kecki, who won 6-2, 6-0, said the wins helped the Grizzlies gain momentum going into next season.

“It’s really cool to pick up some wins, especially since we have next year and another chance to do even better,” Kecki said. “It’s awesome because it’s setting us up for another good year.”

Chloe Forlini won 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 and said the competition against Saratoga taught them to always try hard during matches.

“We’re the underdogs and weren’t expected to win, but we were still hoping to win and we tried our best,” she said. “Even though we had already lost, me and Lily still tried our best, which is why we won our matches and were able to get our close win, along with Kammy’s.”

Granite Bay was swept in doubles.

“A lot of coaches emphasize having depth and strong doubles teams, so that’s my goal, to work on the doubles and strengthen them,” Wood said.

Saratoga will play Mill Valley-Tamalpais and St. Francis faces Cupertino-Monta Vista in the semifinals at 11 a.m. Saturday. The winners meet at 2 p.m. for the championship.

Tamalpais, the top seed from North Coast Section, beat San Francisco top seed Lowell, and Central Coast Section No. 1 Monta Vista defeated North Section No. 1 Chico by identical 7-0 scores. St. Francis, the top seed from the Sac-Joaquin Section, defeated North Coast Section No. 2 Danville-Monte Vista 5-2.

SARATOGA 4, GRANITE BAY 3

Singles: Crystal Yen (S) def. Kara Kecki 6-1, 6-1. Chloe Forlini (GB) def. Kalani Narayan 6-3, 2-6, 6-4. Lily Forlini (GB) def. Smita Sabada 6-2, 6-1. Kammy Kecki (GB) def. Lisa Asai 6-2, 6-0.

Doubles: Sarah Lum-Nikki Bedekar (S) def. Lauren Bonham-Ashley Howes 6-0, 6-2. Cori Posadas-Arathi Sabada (S) def. Kendyl Talley-Jordan Maggio 6-2, 6-3. Tiffany Tu-Evaline Ju (S) def. Jessica Southward-Kayla Cline 6-3, 6-0.