Boys tennis— the journey from league to CIF finals

On the sunny afternoon of May 10, 2024, Foothill Technology High School (Foothill Tech) takes on California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Southern Section Finals. They bring home much success, earning a division four finalist title.
On the sunny afternoon of May 10, 2024, Foothill Technology High School (Foothill Tech) takes on California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Southern Section Finals. They bring home much success, earning a division four finalist title.
Ward Sokoloski
2024 League Season

The Foothill Technology High School (Foothill Tech) boys tennis team advanced to the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) 2024 playoff finals where they placed second amongst 27 of the top teams in southern California .

I’m really proud of the boys for making it so far in CIF this year, they all really stepped it up”

— Assistant coach Richard Geib

Throughout the season, the team maintained strong play, staying undefeated 6-0 in league play which earned them the first place and secured them a slot in CIF playoffs. Matchups such as that against St. Bonaventure High School and Thatcher High School during league play showed the team’s  prowess and foreshadowed their success later in the season.

This season was more successful than their previous year’s record where they ended with a record of 5-1 and lost in the first round of CIF play. 

Commenting on the difference between the 2023 season as opposed to the 2024 one, assistant coach Richard Geib said, “This year we were division four and last we were division three .. the competition was a lot less competitive. We were also a lot deeper this year, we had consistently strong players on our doubles and singles and that helped us get a lot of points that other teams couldn’t.”

After the first round of CIF play, the Dragons easily took Downey High School to progress to the quarter finals where they faced Mark Keppel High School (Mark Keppel). After another victory, the team would go onto play Millikan High School (Millikan) in the semi finals along with Rowland High School (Rowland) in the finals. This was the furthest that the team had progressed in CIF play since 2021 where the program won division five CIF finals. Despite the loss, the Dragons earned themselves second place and an impressive run to be proud of. 

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Tennis teammates huddle together as they cheer on Ansh Joshi ’26 and strategize for their next matches. (Claire Hadley)

With tensions high, the Foothill Tech boys tennis team geared up for the quarterfinal round of the CIF playoffs. Held on May 6, 2024, Foothill Tech faced off against Mark Keppel at the Ventura College tennis courts. The Dragons held their ground and prevailed 13-5 to move onto the next round.

In singles play Foothill Tech shone, winning seven of their nine sets. On line one, Charlie Powers ‘27 impressively defeated all three of his opponents with scores of 6-1, 6-2 and 6-0, respectively.

Shaurya Shyam ‘25, on line two, won both of his sets 6-3 and 6-1 to secure two more points for the Dragons. Mahir Shyam ‘25 was later subbed in for the final set but lost 0-6. Similarly, on line three, Ansh Joshi ‘26 won two of the two sets he played.

Joshi stated, “I performed really well compared to the other matches … I didn’t play doubles as usual and went in scared but I pushed through.”

James Sokoloski ’24 rushes crosscourt to hit a backhand. Sokoloski and his doubles partner Aaditya Aluri ‘27 claimed victory in all three of their matches. (Claire Hadley)

Foothill Tech’s dominance continued on the doubles side, begining on line one with Greg Davis ‘26 and Dylan Files ‘26 who won all three sets 6-2, 6-2 and 6-3.

Files commented, “I’m glad we didn’t come out asleep and came out strong … I’m hoping we can keep winning, keep our spirits up and play hard no matter what happens.”

On line two doubles, James Sokoloski ‘24 and Aaditya (Aadi) Atluri ‘27 lost their first set 2-6, however, came back for redemption and won 6-0. Kelly Quinn ‘24 and Preston Alford ’24 were later subbed in, but lost 3-6.

As for line three, Keiran Buxton ‘24 and Kiran Maserang ‘25 secured two more points for Foothill Tech.

Head coach Daniel Fitzpatrick spoke on the team’s headspace during CIF, “The mindset is that we still have work to do … we’ll enjoy this victory tonight, but everyone knows we get serious again tomorrow because we have another match on our road to the championship.”

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Aaditya (Aadi) Atluri ’27 prepares to react to his opponents. His doubles partner, James Sokoloski 24, serves the ball off camera, hoping to score an easy point.

Following their performance in CIF quarterfinals, on May 8, 2024, the Foothill Tech boys tennis team advanced to the semifinals against Millikan. The Dragons left the court triumphant with a final score of 11-7, advancing them to CIF finals. 

Foothill Tech’s singles matches were hard fought, as every player knew the collective importance of winning each individual set in order to advance further into CIF. Charlie Powers ‘27 held up line one as he took two of three sets. Playing on the second line was Shaurya Shyam ‘25, who also won two sets.

In the final line of singles matches, Ansh Joshi ‘26 took to the court, poised to contribute to their team’s cumulative score. Yet, despite Joshi’s readiness, Millikan secured victories in all three sets and evened the teams’ scores.

Joshi commented on what he’s learned from the season and his team’s performance, having stated, “As a team we did excellent … I’ve really learned how to keep my cool and have strategies for every game before playing it.”

 On doubles line one, Dylan Files ‘26 and Greg Davis ‘26 were eager to score points for the Dragons. Files and Davis swept their Millikan competition, taking all three sets with dominating scores of 6-3, 6-4 and 6-0, respectively.

Files reflected on his takeaways and his performance with his doubles partner Davis, “We started to get a little tired at the end but we played consistent. Biggest take away is that if the person you’re playing against is better than you, instead of accepting it … you need to elevate your own game”.

James Sokoloski ’24 paired alongside Aaditya Atluri ‘27 were able to take down all three of their sets, further contributing to the Dragons overall score. As for line three, Kieran Buxton ‘24 and Kiran Maserang ‘25, squeaked out a win in one of their three matches, earning another point for the team and the score ultamitely totaling to a win for the Dragons 11-7.

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Aaditya (Aadi) Atluri ’27 prepares to react to his opponents. His doubles partner, James Sokoloski ’24, serves the ball off camera, hoping to score an easy point. (Claire Hadley)
Foothill Technology High School (Foothill Tech) boys tennis earns second in the division. Shaurya Shyam ’25 stands proudly with the boys division four California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) title. (Ward Sokoloski)

On May 10, 2024, the Foothill Tech boys tennis team faced off in the CIF division four championships against Rowland. Despite the Dragons effort, they lost 10-8 which earned them second place. 

Line one singles player Charlie Powers ‘27 played strong as he two sets with scores of 6-2 and 6-4 and in the third lost in a tiebreaker 6-7. Similarly, Foothill Tech’s line two singles player ,Shaurya Shyam ‘25, played well with scores of 6-2, 2-6 and 6-2.

Line three singles player Ansh Joshi ‘26 did not manage to get a set with scores of 3-6, 1-6 and 2-6, respectively. 

As for Foothill Tech’s doubles, line one which consisted of Greg Davis ‘26 and Dylan Files ‘26 won two of their three sets 6-3, 6-4 and 2-6. 

Line two doubles, however, were only able to pull through on one set. Aaditya Atluri ‘27 and James Sokoloski ‘24 ended with scores of 2-6, 3-6 and 6-2, respectively.

Lastly, line three doubles consisted of Kiran Masserang ‘25 and Keiran Buxton ‘24. They achieved one win with set scores of 3-6, 2-6 and 6-4, respectively.

Kind of bummed we lost in the finals cause we were good enough to win.”

— Shaurya Shyam '25

Masserang spoke of his feelings towards the end of the season, stating, “We’re happy we made it this far but it is definitely disappointing that we couldn’t make it through one more win and that it ended in such a close defeat where everyone in some way is at fault.”

Despite the second place finish, Foothill Tech’s season was still a success with the future of the team being extremely bright. For the few seniors that competed, this marked the end of their time as a proud Dragon, while the rest of the team channeled their effort towards the future.   

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