The opening two rounds for CCS girls’ tennis playoffs took place on Monday afternoon in Los Gatos. The field of 16 included No. 3 seed Fremont Firebirds senior Kami Osher taking on Anushka Mangal out of Salinas.
Despite a shoulder injury that has forced Osher to serve underhand all season long, the senior made quick work of her first-round opponent, winning 6-1, 6-2 to advance to the quarterfinals. Unfortunately for Osher, the pain in her shoulder was flaring up going into the playoffs and got worse as Monday’s matches progressed. Early in her quarterfinal match with Rachel Gee from Evergreen Valley, Osher elected to retire as the shoulder pain became too much to continue.
“Before the first CCS match my shoulder really started hurting, but I really wanted to play,” admitted Osher. “My shoulder kept hurting worse and worse, so I had to quit the second match. I was really sad to have to retire because I was really excited. I wanted to keep playing to go farther, but I just couldn’t do it.”
Osher described her injury as inflammation of the tendon. She hopes that her physical therapy will eventually get her to the point where she can continue her tennis career with her usual overhand serve.
“I’m not sure yet about playing in college with how my shoulder feels,” acknowledged the senior. “But if it can feel better and I can go back fully I would definitely want to try playing at the next level.”
Fremont Assistant Coach Felisiano J. Perez was extremely complimentary of Osher’s skills translating to the next level if she chooses to continue her career.
“She serves huge, she’s going to make any college proud. When her shoulder does heal, she will be a collegiate player and she will do well. She will do well,” repeated Coach Perez. “I had Taylor Davis and her sister for about six years, one of them got a full ride for four years to Cal Berkeley and the other one a two-year ride at San Diego State. They became great tennis players, and I’ll be honest with you, Kami, in my estimation, is stronger than both of them.”
Despite using an underhand serve for the entire season due to her shoulder injury, Osher lost just a single match. That one loss also came in a third set tiebreaker. She nearly went undefeated the entire high school season until retiring in her CCS quarterfinal match.
Coach Perez believes Osher could continue to compete at a high level even with the shoulder preventing her from a normal serve.
“I recommended to her to find a really good college because she will do well and get some recognition,” he said. “She’s at that level, even with the underhand serve.”
Coach Perez and Fremont Head Coach John Musser could not be prouder of their star pupil. They certainly hope to see Osher succeed on and off the court in the years to come. Perhaps an NCAA championship to go on the mantle where the CCS Championship likely would have gone had her shoulder cooperated.