It had been half-a-decade since the Hart girls tennis team made this kind of run in the CIF-Southern Section team playoffs.
In 2013, The Indians won three playoff matches to make it to the semifinals in Division 2 before being ousted.
Heading into Monday’s Division 3 quarterfinals match against Poly of Pasadena, the Indians were riding a three-match playoff winning streak.
But the streak and season came to a close in Pasadena on Monday evening, as Hart lost to Polytechnic School 12-6.
“We ran into a team that was very talented today, but throughout the whole playoff run we’ve been running into teams that were very talented,” Hart head coach Allan Hardbarger said. “We were able to fight through them with a tough attitude. We are not going to hang our heads. We had a great run and it was a great season.”
The Indians were able to pull away from the first round with a 3-3 tie. The senior duo of Lauren Hannah and Marti Kass won their first set 6-4.
Senior Jennifer Russell and junior Stefani Woll willed themselves to a first-set win 7-6 (9-7 in games) to end the opening round.
Much like they had been doing all season, Russell and Woll won the majority of their sets, winning in the second round 6-4.
The pair were recognized after the match as one of the top three doubles teams in the Foothill League.
“I have five seniors in doubles this year and they’ve all worked their way up. There was no shortcuts, they put in the time and the effort,” Hardbarger said. “They took their early season losses as freshmen and sophomores and turned it around their junior and seniors years and that’s all you hope for in a program. We are constantly striving for just a little bit more.”
The lone senior singles player, Mansi Sharma, won her first set 6-3. She was also recognized with an honorable mention as one of the top singles player in the Foothill League.
“I think it was pretty impressive that our team made it this far this season,” Sharma said. “It was definitely a happy moment, but when we started winning we wanted to win even more. It was bittersweet for sure. We wanted to win more but we’re proud we made it this far.”
Seniors Shannon Sindle and Emily Thompson snagged a win in their last set 6-1, and junior Cameron Schwartz won her last set 6-0.
The middle round is where the Indians really struggled, as Russell and Woll were the only winners in the second frame.
While the playoff run came to an end, Hardbarger could only smile when asked about the future of the girls tennis program.
“I have all the confidence in the world. Coach (Eric) Olsson has been working with the JV team and he’s got them hungry and ready to roll next year,” Hardbarger said.
His No. 1 singles player put it a little more bluntly.
“I think the future is very strong and all the other schools should beware of Hart,” Sharma said. “Our sophomores and freshmen are going to be playing very strong for years.”