Cate Girls’ Tennis Wins First CIF D3 Championship

November 16, 2023

Flawless Victory at The Claremont Club

Cate girls’ tennis has completed a perfect 17-0 run through their 2023 campaign, taking the CIF D3 title match over Culver City, 11-7.

The match, played in the playoff atmosphere of The Claremont Club, was a Cate-led event from start to finish.

Senior Alyna Takahashi leads the charge

The match opened with a dominant performance from senior-captain Alyna Takahashi, who took a 6-1 win over the Culver City #1. Similarly impressive, senior-freshman combo Frances Davis and Lisa Hasebe recorded a 6-0 set-win at #2 doubles in under 15 minutes. Cate also got wins from Claire Bianchi at #2 singles and Sophie Alijani ’24/Elsie Chamberlain ’25 at #3 doubles, with #1 doubles team Colette Chang ’25/Reyna Takahashi ’27 recovering from 1-3 down to win a 1:15 set, 7-5.

After the first round, the score stood at 5-1, with the lone win for Culver City coming from their #3 player, who would finish 3-0 on the day. Cate continued to pour on the pressure with a flurry of quick wins in the second round, going up 8-2 at one point. There was a sense of certainty in the air as the Rams closed in on the championship win. The match began to even out in the transition between the second and third rounds, with Culver City not yet ready to yield. Pyper Davis ’26 took her much higher-ranked #1 opponent to a tiebreaker, but Culver squeaked by to stay in the match just a bit longer. Cate was not to be denied, though, with Chang and Takahashi clinching the match on the strength of a 6-0 win in the third round, giving Cate a 10th win and reason to celebrate early.

Batchelder’s Comeback Story Adds a Special Touch

The final match on the court featured Sophie Alijani and sub-in Caroline Batchelder, both seniors who started their careers at Cate together, battling to make the last varsity spots as freshmen three years earlier. Batchelder’s entrance into the match was particularly meaningful, having just endured emergency appendix surgery two weeks earlier. Batchelder had started in almost every regular season match but had not yet been able to participate in Cate’s historic playoff run. In a moment of karmic justice, it was Batchelder who struck the final shot of the match, attacking the net with a backhand poach that sailed crisply through the seam between the Culver City #2 team’s players for a clean winner.

The team stormed the court to celebrate the win and the title of the top team in CIF D3. The perfect season was complete!

Coach Thorpe Reflects on the Unforgettable Journey

This has been an incredible run with such a special group of girls. We were repeatedly challenged this post-season, but we always had the answer, including today. I was particularly impressed by how we came out firing in this finals match. This is my first championship team, so I guess it’s a new experience for me at this level, but as a coach, you know when your team is ready for the task at hand. Today, I felt that way right away, which allowed us to enjoy the moment. It’s hard to believe this season is finally over after 17 matches and 17 wins, but I know we’ll all remember this for a long time. This is such a satisfying end to the season, and I couldn’t be more proud of my girls.