Seniors shine at PAL Individual Tournament


Daria Burnosova

No. 3 singles player Michelle Moshkovoy plays her first match of the PAL Individual tournament on Nov. 3.

Daria Burnosova, Senior Reporter

With the choice to send six representatives to the PAL Individual tournament and missing No. 1 singles star Mila Mulready, girls’ tennis head coach Bill Smith went with his most proven players: seniors Kaleia Daga, Izzy Kossar, Michelle Moshkovoy, Caitlin Stone and Rorie Stone. 

Mulready’s absence forced Smith to shuffle players in the line-up and gave opportunities to others: Moshkovoy moved from doubles to singles and Kossar moved into doubles with Daga.

“This is an individual tournament. So her pursuits are past here — [the tournament had] nothing to do with tennis in college,” Smith said. “It’s her choice to make. It’s an individual decision on an individual tournament.” 

But the tournament didn’t come without speed bumps. A week of threatening rain— delayed the tournament from the week of Oct. 31 to Nov. 3 and 4. Smith, the PAL individual tournament director, had to manage sending messages to every school in the league.

“The biggest concern always is the time for the players so we try to get the word out. That was the problem with yesterday as well,” Smith said. 

Although the rain was a hiccup for the Panthers, the absence of defending PAL champion Mulready also put the Panthers on their back foot.

While the tournament only ran from Nov. 3 to 4, Smith hopes that playing tennis for Burlingame gives players a sport they can enjoy beyond high school, especially for the departing seniors. Eventually, he sees those players as future parents, coaches and standard bearers of the sport.

“It is a lifetime sport, unlike some of the other sports,” Smith said. “So my hope would be that they enjoyed it enough here that they would continue to play it and pass it down to their kids.”

For the first time since their junior year, the Stone sisters reunited as a doubles team. They were seeded No. 3 in the doubles bracket for the tournament and made it all the way to the semi-finals, one win away from qualifying for the Central Coast Section (CCS) team tournament.

The Stones will serve as alternates in next week’s Central Coast Section team tournament. Their semifinal finish was a proud moment for Smith, who has not only coached the girls for four years — but their father, too. 

In fact, the Stones are a household name in Panther tennis: now-assistant coach Doug Stone played Burlingame’s courts in the late 1970s, and the twins’ mother is also an alumnus. Over the years, Smith has happily watched Doug Stone coach his daughters into strong tennis competitors. 

“That’s the way this community is,” Smith said. “When you talk about the Little Big Game, or sports here, we’re talking about generations [that have] played for Burlingame.”