Long Beach Poly’s girls’ tennis team has defied all odds this season. After finishing third in the Moore League, they’ve been on a tear in the playoffs, using their talent and perseverance to help them succeed even against the mightiest of opponents.
That talent was on full display Monday afternoon, as Poly defeated Carpinteria 16-2 in the CIF Southern Section Division 4 quarterfinals. The victory punched the Jackrabbit’s ticket back to the semifinals, a place they haven’t reached since 2018.
“We just have a really good team this year,” Poly coach Douglas Schlueter said following the match. “Our team is really starting to play together, that’s the biggest thing. It’s really starting to show what it takes to play together, and what happens when you do play together.”
The Jackrabbits thrived in all aspects of the game this afternoon. Leading the pack was singles player Julia Sutedjo. Not only did Sutedjo win all three of her matches, her wins were convincing and dominant. Sutedjo used her sharp forehand and strong technique to propel her to a score of 6-0 in two of her matches, as she lost only one game the entire day.
“I was able to move well, was able to finish my shots really fast,” Sutedjo said. “They (Carpinteria) were what we were expecting going into the match. It was good that we did a lot of research beforehand as well.”
Following her strong performance, Schueter emphasized how important Sutedjo is to the team.
“Julia is my captain, she has really been there for the team and helping me bring the girls together. She has a solid game, she’s been solid for the past four years.” Schueter said.
The other singles players were excellent as well, with both Janaiya Willams and Lilia Fuentes winning two of their matches. The Jackrabbits’ only losses of the day came by hand of Carpinteria singles player Zahra Porinsh.
However, perhaps even more impressive this afternoon was the success of the doubles players. All nine doubles matches were won by the Jackrabbits, as they did not lose a single match all day. Doubles partners Hannah Tran and Melyn Lim combined to lose just two games, contributing to the team’s impressive performance.
The Jackrabbits will have little time to savor their impressive victory, as they will make a quick turnaround hosting Geffen Academy in Wednesday’s semifinals at 2 p.m.
“We’ve steadily advanced through all the rounds, and we’re looking forward to seeing the next team on Wednesday and seeing what they have to offer,” Schueter said.
But if today’s victory is any indication, the Jackrabbits will be ready to conquer any challenge thrown at them.