After making a good run at a division title and earning a berth in the Central Coast Section tournament last spring, the Cupertino High School boys tennis team appears to be even better in 2011.
In fact, as winter turned into spring this week, Cupertino was the only undefeated team in the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League El Camino Division. Led by sophomore singles ace Manpreet Tiwana, the Pioneers won their first 11 matches this season, including five against El Camino Division opponents. If the weather cooperated, the Pioneers put their unblemished record on the line in three matches on consecutive days this week.
The Cupertino boys hoped to extend their winning streak at district and division rival Homestead on March 22, before traveling to Los Altos Hills for a non-league clash against Pinewood and returning home for a rematch with Milpitas.
Cupertino had scored a 6-1 victory at Milpitas on March 17, two days after winning at Fremont 7-0. Tiwana, who represented the El Camino Division in the CCS singles tournament last spring, took a day off against the Firebirds. Filling in admirably at No. 1 singles was Cupertino senior Gabino Sanz, who topped Nick Bacelic 6-4, 6-4. Meanwhile, junior Hong Suh and freshman Kelvin Wang combined to score a 6-0, 6-2 triumph in No. 1 doubles.
Cupertino (17-7 last season) and Fremont (17-6) both finished behind Los Altos in the El Camino Division last year, but were among the eight SCVAL teams that qualified for the 24-team tournament. The Pioneers won a first-round match over Salinas, before bowing out in the second round against Stevenson of Pebble Beach, while Fremont lost its only CCS contest last season. With Los Altos moving up to the De Anza Division, switching places with Homestead, Cupertino took over residence of first place in the El Camino Division with wins over Mountain View, Wilcox and Santa Clara, prior to last week's victories.
In addition to Tiwana, Ganz, Suh and Wang, coach Manny Zarate's 2011 Cupertino squad includes seniors Pranav Joshi, George Reyes and Brian Tiu, juniors Hiro Okuno, Jeffrey Wong, Cyrus Tabatabai and Heemin Seog and freshmen Tommy Cheng, Razvan Dobrin and Prateek Joshi.