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Burlingame freshman already among PAL elite
April 18, 2012, 01:00 AM Julio Lara, Daily Journal Staff

Daily Journal Sports File Burlingame freshman Scott Taggart has lost only once in PAL play at the No. 1 singles position this season.

In only his first season at the varsity level, Burlingame’s Scott Taggart has made quite a name for himself.

Despite his status as a freshman, head coach Bill Smith did not hesitate to put the youngster into the No. 1 singles slot to begin the Peninsula Athletic League season.

And Taggart has rewarded his coach with play usually reserved for players with far more experience.

"He’s a really good tournament player,” Smith said. "And he’s stepped right into our No. 1 spot. He’s got the body for tennis. I’m expecting big things from him.”

Taggart took a huge step into further solidifying himself as one of the area’s budding tennis superstars.

Taggart defeated Menlo-Atherton’s Nick Fratt 6-2, 2-6, 10-8 in Burlingame’s lone win of the afternoon. He followed that performance with his biggest win of the year, at least on paper, against Carlmont’s Corey Pang 6-7 (4), 6-2, 7-6 (1).

For his efforts, Taggart is the San Mateo Daily Journal Athlete of the Week.

Taggart’s win against Pang was huge considering that his lone loss in PAL play this season came at the hands of arguably the best player San Mateo county has to offer.

In that affair, Pang overwhelmed Taggart 6-0, 6-0.

But in a display of his competitive nature, the second time around was a completely different story.

Admittedly, Pang probably did not have his A game in their last matchup. Still, as a freshman, a win against a player of Pang’s caliber only boosted Taggart’s confidence. He followed that win with a 6-2, 6-0 win in his matchup against San Mateo on Tuesday.

"In losing that first set, he didn’t panic,” Smith said of Taggart’s win against Pang. "He was able to discern that what he was doing was working. So, he didn’t have to do too much and made certain tweaks. It wasn’t a lot, just a thing of two.”

Taggart’s adjustments work. He took the second set 6-2 and went toe to toe in the third set and came out on top.

"Those two guys have been cruising all season long,” Smith said, "and if anything [the win] establishes Scott as at least the second best player in the PAL.”

It’s hard to argue against that. As mentioned, Taggart has only lost once. He’s taken down the likes of James Tanjuatco, Rahul Joshi, Shep Newcomb.

"He’s easily coachable,” Smith said. "It’s not often you get a player like Scott who can make strategic changes during the match. Other players will only say, ‘I know’ but don’t know how to correct themselves. He can be very tactical.

"He’s got a good serve and it can be great. As he matures, it’ll definitely be a strength,” Smith said.

Before that match with Pang, Taggart showed a bit of moxie in his win against Fratt.

"That was a struggle,” Smith said. "It wasn’t one of his best.”

Taggart took the first set on a foreign court 6-2 before the elements played a bit of a factor, according to Smith. Fratt fought back to win the second set which set up the super tiebreaker.

Taggart utilized his ability to cover a lot of ground, and a mixture of specialty shots to come away with the 10-8 win. It was the lone highlight of the afternoon for Burlingame, but it was indeed a bright one — bright like Taggart’s future as a Burlingame Panther.


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