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Menlo boys' tennis has plenty to shoot for in the section playoffs

 

After defeating its top two competitors -- Saratoga and Bellarmine -- twice this season, it would seem that the Menlo School boys' tennis team has little to play for as it heads into the Central Coast Section team tournament as the No. 1 seed.

Actually, there's plenty. Menlo was won nine section titles and is tied with Gunn for the most in CCS history.

Should Menlo sweep through its four playoff matches unscathed, the Knights will make some history.

Something else out there for coach Bill Shine and his players is a double three-peat. During Shine's 14 years at Menlo, the Knights have never won CCS and NorCal titles three years in a row. They can accomplish that for the first time this season.

Menlo won CCS and NorCal crowns back-to-back twice, in 1999-00 and again from 2002-03. The 2001 did not win NorCals and the '04 squad failed to reach NorCals after losing in the CCS finals.

Menlo also has a chance to compile the best three-year record in school history by finishing with CCS and NorCal titles. Currently 21-1, Menlo can finish 28-1 for a three-year mark of 82-3. No previous squad has ever done that.

Menlo will open its second season on Friday (3 p.m.) against the winner of Santa Cruz (10-0) and Monterey (17-4).

In other tournament openers on Wednesday at 3 p.m.:

Palo Alto (13-4) will host Serra (13-5), Gunn (11-8) will face St. Francis (11-10) at Cuesta Park in Mountain View, Menlo-Atherton (19-2) will host Silver Creek (12-2) and Sacred Heart Prep (11-8) will host St. Ignatius (14-6).

Saratoga (16-5) received the No. 2 seed while Bellarmine (17-3) got the No. 3. They'll be in the bracket opposite Menlo while the Knights have No. 4 Leland (16-5), No. 5 Monta Vista (14-4) and No. 8 Los Altos (15-2).

Monta Vista upset Saratoga in a SCVAL De Anza Division match this season and could provide a challenge for Menlo, should both teams reach the semifinals on May 11 at Courtside Club in Los Gatos. The finals will be Friday, May 13, at 2 p.m., also at Courtside.

2011 CCS TENNIS TEAM TOURNAMENT

First round (Wednesday)

All matches at 3 p.m.

Salinas (11-5) at Cupertino (20-2)

Serra (13-5) at Palo Alto (13-4)

Carlmont (12-5) vs. Mitty (15-6) at Santa Clara University

Gunn (11-8) vs. St. Francis (11-10) at Cuesta Park

Carmel (14-5) vs. Piedmont Hills (15-4) at Willow Glen

Silver Creek (12-2) at Menlo-Atherton (19-2)

St. Ignatius (14-6) at Sacred Heart Prep (11-8)

Santa Cruz (10-0) vs. Monterey (17-4) at Chamisal Tennis Club

Second round (Friday)

All matches 3 p.m.

Salinas-Cupertino winner at No. 6 Harker (13-4)

Palo Alto-Serra winner vs. No. 3 Bellarmine (17-3) at Decathlon Club

Carlmont-Mitty winner at No. 7 R.L. Stevenson (13-1)

Gunn-St. Francis winner at No. 2 Saratoga (16-5)

Carmel-Piedmont Hills winner at No. 5 Monta Vista (14-4)

Silver Creek/Menlo-Atherton winner at No. 4 Leland (16-5)

St. Ignatius-Sacred Heart Prep winner at No. 8 Los Altos (15-2)

Santa Cruz-Monterey winner at No. 1 Menlo (21-1)

Quarterfinals (Monday)

At higher seed site, 3 p.m.

Semifinals (May 11)

At Courtside Club, Los Gatos, noon and 2 p.m.

Championship (May 13)

At Courtside Club, 2 p.m.

— Keith Peters

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