FREDERICK, Md. — Alice D’Alauro made winning a regional tennis title sound easy.
“After everyone serves once, you get an idea of how to play and where to place the ball against the other team,” said D’Alauro.
D’Alauro teamed with Erin Scally to win the girls doubles title for Boonsboro at the Maryland Region I championships on Saturday at Baker Park. They were part of an unprecedented charge by Washington County, which had victories in four of the five finals, leading to favorable seeding in next weekend’s state tournament at the University of Maryland.
The champions hailed from four different schools as the county swept all three doubles titles, while South Hagerstown’s Tinuke Adetunji won the girls singles title. Each had their own motivation for winning, but all four used aggressive, counter-punching styles to fulfill the dream.
“Their lobs were fantastic,” said Clear Spring’s Megan Crowl after teaming with Zac O’Neal for a straight sets victory in the mixed doubles final. “We had to hit the ball low to keep them so they couldn’t do that.”
In every case, the drive and the means ended in victory.
D’Alauro and Scally weren’t about to allow a previous engagement end their final days as teammates.
“(Scally) did it for me,” said D’Alauro. “She had a dance recital to get to.”
Scally shook hands and ran to her mother’s car just minutes after the Warriors’ pair downed Thomas Johnson’s Jessee Nara and Eileen Craig 7-6 (3), 6-4 in the final.
It ended two grueling matches that allowed D’Alauro and Scally to remain undefeated through 22 matches this season. They reached the final with a tough 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 win over Urbana’s Colleen Voight and Molly Stewart.
“That match was killer,” D’Alauro said. “I didn’t know if I was going to make it because it was so hot.”
The Warriors pair won the first set in a 10-point tiebreaker and then broke Nara in the 10th game of the second set to set up the victory.
“We have been playing together for four years,” D’Alauro said. “We don’t get mad at each other. What would that do? This feels great. This is our last year of doing this and we didn’t want to lose. We wanted progress.”
Crowl and O’Neal fell behind 0-1 to open each set and then took the hard line to defeat Frederick’s Annaleigh Sardelis and Stephen Lebair 6-1, 6-2 in the final.
The victory sent Crowl and O’Neal to the state tournament for the second straight year, this time as a region champion.
“This is for her senior season,” O’Neal said. “It was our last chance to play together.”
The Clear Spring pair defeated Walkersville’s Monica Dirk and Andrew Voorhis 6-1, 6-2 in the semifinals to advance to the final.
The Blazers took turns turning the match against Sardelis and Lebair. Crowl served a love game to give Clear Spring a 3-1 lead in the first set, which was finished with two service breaks. O’Neal pasted a winner along the right sideline to give Clear Spring a 4-2 lead in the second set.
“It’s awesome to be a senior and to win first place in the county and the region and then go to the states for a second time,” Crowl said. “All of our hard work paid off.”
North Hagerstown’s Eric Harrison and Teddy Schoeck figured where there was a will, there was a way. For them, strong will was the way.
“After we got down 2-0, we didn’t want to lose,” Harrison said after North defeated Walkersville’s Ben Martinez and Matt Guiton 6-2, 6-4 for the title. “We started playing our game and not letting them play theirs.”
North won volley battles at the net to knock off top-seeded Corey Knipple and Johnny Tompkins of Allegany in the semifinals before using the same tactics to take down Walkersville. The quickness displayed by Harrison and Schoeck frustrated the Lions.
The Hubs set the tone by winning the last six games of the first set.
“We tried to stay consistent and get to the net,” Schoeck said. “We wanted to keep the pressure on them. We knew we could play well.”
Winning the championship provided validation for Adetunji, but winning the semifinal was all about satisfaction.
The South Hagerstown senior knocked off her nemesis — Tuscarora’s Ana Chernova — 6-4, 6-0 in the semifinal. Chernova, a sophomore, beat Adetunji in last year’s region semi and in the opening match of this season.
“I said this morning that I wanted to win this one so badly,” said a tearful Adetunji. “I just wanted it. I had been working for this match all season. I worked hard and I got it.”
The final was anticlimactic as Adetunji was awarded the win when Northern Garrett’s Cara Stough retired after the first set because of heat exhaustion. Stough reached the finals by logging a four-hour, three-set victory over Clear Spring’s previously undefeated Miranda Kearney.
“I just stayed positive. No matter the shot, I stayed positive,” Adetunji said.
Maryland Region I Championships
1. Clear Spring and Mountain Ridge; 3. Boonsboro, North Hagerstown and South Hagerstown 6; 6. Walkersville 5; 7. Thomas Johnson and Tuscarora 4; 9. Northern Garrett 3; 10. Urbana 2; 11. Williamsport and Frederick 1.
Semifinals: Peter Shuck (Tus) d. Anthony Adams (Wil), 6-3, 6-0.
Consolation: Adams (Wil) d. Brandon Banganan (Walk), retired.
Semifinals: Tinuke Adetunji (SH) d. Ana Chernova (Tus), 6-4, 6-0; Cara Stough (NG) d. Miranda Kearney (CS), 2-6, 6-3, 6-1.
Final: Adetunji d. Stough, 6-3, retired.
Semifinals: Eric Harrison/Teddy Schoeck (NH) d. Nick Twilley/Joe Nacinck (Urb, 6-3, 6-3.
Final: Harrison/Schoeck d. Ben Martinez/Matt Guiton (Walk), 6-2, 6-4.
Semifinals: Alice D’Alaura/Erin Scally (Boon) d. Colleen Voight/Molly Stuart (Urb), 6-4, 2-6, 5-4.
Final: D’Alaura/Scally d. Jessee Nara/Eileen Craig (TJ), 7-6 (3), 6-4.
Semifinals: Megan Crowl/Zac O’Neal (CS) d. Monica Dirk/Andrew Voorhis (Walk), 6-1, 6-2.
Final: Crowl/O’Neal d. Annaleigh Sardelis/Stephen Lebair (Fr), 6-2, 6-1.