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Jenkins, Dice clear 2nd hurdle

May 16, 2009|By DAN KAUFFMAN

FREDERICK, Md. -- Two goals down, one big one to go for Clear Spring's girls doubles team of Sarah Dice and Amanda Jenkins.

A week after winning their third straight Washington County Tournament title, Dice and Jenkins captured their first Maryland Region 1 championship on Saturday at Baker Park. They overcame a stumble in the second set to knock off Walkersville's Erika Dirk and Rachel Lupinetti 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 in the final.

"It's very satisfying," Jenkins said. "We're both seniors. This is our last chance. We gave it our all."

Up next: Next weekend's state tournament at both the Tennis Center at College Park and the University of Maryland-College Park. Dice and Jenkins earned Washington County's only victory at states last year and will try for multiple wins this year.

"We're going to be a higher seed, so the first round should be easier," Dice said. "We're not going to take it for granted, but we're going in confident. We won regions and we want to win states."

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Dice and Jenkins won the last four games of the first set, but their serve was broken early in the second set. That forced them into a third set to fend off Dirk and Lupinetti.

"At the beginning of the third set, their comment (to me) was, 'We're ready to play this set,'" Blazers coach Lisa Shives said.

Dice and Jenkins broke Dirk and Lupinetti in the first game of the set, dodged a break point to hold serve at 2-0, then at 3-1 broke again to take a 4-1 lead. Dice ended that game with a beautiful backhand lob.

Dice and Jenkins managed to hold serve in a marathon game to make it 5-1. Two games later, serving for the match, Dice closed it out with a backhand passing shot down the left alley that could not be returned in the court.

"I saw the alley was open, and I hit that shot more than once," Dice said. "That's one of my more comfortable shots."

"I think their strength is when Sarah is back returning and keeping the ball in play, and Mandy's at the net putting it away," Shives said.

North Hagerstown's mixed doubles team of Andreas Grahn and Laura Wagner backed up their county title with a second-place showing at regionals, becoming the only other representatives from the county to qualify for states.

Only players and teams reaching the finals earned state berths. Grahn and Wagner defeated Middletown's Dylan McMahon and Kelly Robertson 6-1, 6-4 in the semifinals to lock up their spot.

"We were just playing aggressive, getting to the net all the time and putting pressure on them," Grahn said.

"I'd never even played with him before the county tournament," Wagner said. "For only playing together these last two weeks, I think we've done very well."

Grahn, a junior, and Wagner, a sophomore, lost to Middletown seniors and siblings Tommy Maerz and Emily Maerz 6-0, 6-0 in the final. The Maerzes did not lose a game in the tournament.

"That Middletown team is very solid," Hubs coach Pete Grunberg said. "For Andreas and Laura, (states) is just a good experience to play at that level and play a competitive match. The goal at counties was just to go out, have fun and do the best they can. I'm very proud of their performance."

In the day's biggest upset, the Hubs' boys doubles duo of seniors Charlie Brasher and Allen Sandberg -- the defending region champions -- lost in the semifinals to Linganore's Al Starlings and Ben Shumate, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4.

"I just think they weren't playing as aggressively as they usually do, and made some unforced errors they don't usually make," Grunberg said. "That Linganore team is a good team."

North's Alex Persinger took third place in boys singles, defeating Boonsboro's Keith Welch 6-2, 6-7 (5), 6-2 in a rematch of the Washington County Tournament final, also won by Persinger. Clear Spring's Jessie Kissner and Brittany Smetzer defeated Fort Hill's Tasha Dunlap and Rebecca Price 6-3, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (5) for third in girls doubles.

Clear Spring finished third in the team standings with eight points. North tied with Fort Hill for sixth with five points, and Boonsboro tied with Mountain Ridge for eighth with one point.

Maryland Region 1 Championships

At Baker Park in Frederick

Team scores: 1. Middletown 14; 2. Walkersville 9; 3. Clear Spring 8; 4. tie, Tuscarora and Linganore 6; 6. tie, North Hagerstown and Fort Hill 5; 8. tie, Boonsboro and Mountain Ridge 1.

Washington County results

Boys Singles

Third place: Alex Persinger (NH) d. Keith Welch (Boon), 6-2, 6-7 (5), 6-2.

Semifinals: Mike Lesko (Ling) d. Welch, 6-0, 6-3; Alex Metzner (Midd) d. Persinger, 6-3, 6-0.

Quarterfinals: Welch d. Austen Weimer (MR), 7-6 (5), 6-2; Lesko d. Joseph Knight (NH), 6-0, 6-0; Persinger d. Rodrigo Gutierrez (TJ), 7-5, 4-6, 6-3.

Girls Singles

Quarterfinals: Carolina Radzyminska (Tusc) d. Erin McMurtrie (Boon), 6-0, 6-0; Allie Stevens (FH) d. Ashlyn Long (CS), 6-1, 6-0; Kate Smith (Midd) d. Kara Henson (SH), 6-4, 6-4.

Boys Doubles

Third place: Eric Williams-David Hobel (MR) d. Charlie Brasher-Allen Sandberg (NH), forfeit.

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