By Keith Peters
Palo Alto Online Sports
With unbeaten Saratoga a lock for the No. 1 seed for the 2010 Central Coast Section team tournament in girls' tennis, it was obvious to the coaches of contending teams how important it was to not be seeded fourth.
A No. 4 seed, after all, would mean a date with the Falcons in the semifinals and, barring a huge upset, erase any hopes of reaching the section finals and receiving an automatic berth to the NorCal Championships.
Menlo School coach Bill Shine figured his team would be either a No. 3 or 4 seed and thus did his homework before heading to the CCS seeding meeting on Saturday. The preparation paid off as the Knights received the No. 3 seed behind No. 1 Saratoga and No. 2 Monta Vista.
"I did my homework," Shine said, "and convinced them (the voting coaches) we had closer matches (than Mitty)."
Mitty, which also had hoped to receive the No. 3 seed, instead got the No. 4. According to Shine, the Mitty coach submitted a lineup for the postseason tourney that had the Monarchs' No. 1 singles player competing at the No. 3 spot. That was done, Shine said, with the idea that Mitty would face Monta Vista in the semifinals and that the Monarchs' top player would fare better at the No. 3 position.
The move, however, backfired as the coaches in attendance realized what was happening and then voted Mitty No. 4.
"Now," Shine said of the Mitty coach, "he faces St. Francis in the quarterfinals and his lineup doesn't match up well against them."
For Shine and his Menlo girls, the seeding gives them a better chance of reaching the finals. The Knights (17-5) play the winner of Palo Alto and Los Gatos on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. Menlo most likely will advance to Friday's quarterfinals and host No. 6 St. Ignatius (15-5). If all goes according to plan, Menlo will face Monta Vista in the semifinals on Nov. 15 at noon at Courtside Tennis Club in Los Gatos.
"I liked the way it turned out, obviously," Shine said of the seeding. "It shaped up as good as I could have hoped. I had a big smile on my face when I left the meeting."
While Menlo did drop a 4-3 nonleague decision to Monta Vista on Oct. 20, two matches (both Menlo losses) went to three sets. Shine is confident his players can turn those defeats around.
"I like our draw," Shine said. "Now, we just have to take advantage of it."
In addition to Palo Alto opening on Tuesday, Menlo-Atherton (13-5) will host an opener against Scotts Valley (11-0-1) while Sacred Heart Prep (15-6) will host Evergreen Valley, both at 2:30 p.m.
Menlo-Atherton could face St. Ignatius in the second round on Wednesday while Sacred Heart Prep is hoping to move on and face WBAL nemesis Harker. Two wins by SHP, however, would earn the Gators a date with Saratoga (18-0).
CCS GIRLS TENNIS PLAYOFFS
First round (Tuesday). All matches at 2:30 p.m.
Scotts Valley (11-0-1) at Menlo-Atherton (13-5)
Los Gatos (11-5) at Palo Alto (11-7)
R.L. Stevenson (16-4) at Monterey (14-2)
Carmel (14-4) at Mountain View (11-3)
Carlmont (11-6) vs. Notre Dame-Belmont (12-8) at Canada College
Sobrato (11-5) at Aragon (12-7)
Evergreen Valley (15-4) at Sacred Heart Prep (15-6)
Leland (15-0) at Salinas (14-5)
Second round (Wednesday), 2:30 p.m.
MA-Scotts Valley winner vs. No. 6 St. Ignatius (15-5) at Golden Gate Park
Los Gatos-Palo Alto winner at No. 3 Menlo (17-5)
R.L. Stevenson-Monterey winner at No. 7 Burlingame (15-2)
Carmel-Mountain View winner at No. 2 Monta Vista (17-4)
Carmont-ND Belmont winner vs. No. 5 St. Francis at Cuesta Park
Sobrato-Aragon winner vs. No. 4 Mitty (17-2) at Decathlon Club
Evergreen Valley-Sacred Heart Prep winner at No. 8 Harker (12-6)
Leland-Salinas winner at No. 1 Saratoga (18-0)