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Doubles seeing double

April 20, 2005|by BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

SMITHSBURG - The sport of tennis has a language all its own.

Players hate to be in love because it means they haven't scored. And winners are titles for any good shot.

But on Monday, doubles had a double meaning when Catoctin and Smithsburg met in an MVAL Antietam match. In fact, the Cougars and Leopards doubled up in the game of tandem tennis.

Both teams penciled in what turned into a dual duel between Smithsburg's Doyle twins - Mia and Tessa - against Monie and Becky Cuddahee, two of the tennis-playing triplets for Catoctin.

There was an unusual kind of pair-ity in the match.

"I guess it's different because we are playing doubles," Monie Cuddahee said. "When we played them the first time and looked across the net, we were seeing double."

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Or at least a mirror image. The whole matchup put a different reflection on the match.

The more expereienced Cuddahees controlled the match to take a 6-0, 6-1 victory. After the intital novelty of it all, which was sort of lost on the competitors, it was just another match.

"After you get out there and start playing, you forget all about who you are playing," Becky Cuddahee said.

It was a case of double duty for the Doyles, who are in their first season of playing tennis. The Doyles teamed for the first time in the season opener at Catoctin against the Cuddahees.

"It was weird to play your first match and it was against twins," Tessa Doyle said. She said she realized that all doubles teams didn't consist of twins.

Still, there is something different and special about twin teammates pairing up for doubles duty. In some ways, they have an unfair advantage over their opponents because of an eerie unspoken link between the pair.

"I can feel her out there," Tessa Doyle said. "We both play soccer and a lot of soccer and tennis is the same. You have to move while anticipating where the ball is going to go. We think back to soccer. We play midfield next to each other and we had a string tied to us to make sure we stayed together and didn't get too far apart to let the other team go down the middle. The same works in tennis."

Mia Doyle appreciates pairing with her sister for a different reason.

"I don't think I could play with anyone else," she said. "I asked if I could play with her. If I would be with anyone else, I would be shy."

The Cuddahees have the same sisterly mojo on their side, only to a higher degree, especially since their other sister Connie also plays for the Cougars.

"You always get that vibe of where she is out there when we are playing," Becky Cuddahee said.

One of the biggest disappointments for the Cuddahees is that they don't get the chance to be on the same court with Connie. She is forced to play with another partner since doubles is played Noah's Ark-style - two by two.

"I wish we could find a way to get all three of us out there together," Mia Cuddahee said. "Once we get to the tournaments, Connie will be playing with our brother Ian in the mixed doubles. Ian is playing as the boys team's No. 1 player (Monday)."

No matter the outcome, the Doyles and Cuddahees get two times the pleasure of playing doubles with their sibling.

"We play and then when we get done, we put the racquets away and do sister stuff together," Mia Doyle said.

After all, they are more than tennis partners. They are sisters.

"It's fun to go home and both of us tell everyone that we won," Mia Cuddahee said. "It's more fun and we will have lots of memories."

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