COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Washington County’s four Region I tennis champions were eliminated on the first day of the Maryland State Tournament on Friday at University of Maryland-College Park.
South Hagerstown senior Tinuke Adetunji reached the girls singles quarterfinals, as did North Hagerstown’s boys doubles team of senior Eric Harrison and freshman Teddy Schoeck. Boonsboro’s girls doubles team of seniors Alice D’Alauro and Erin Scally, and Clear Spring’s mixed doubles team of junior Zac O’Neal and senior Megan Crowl, each lost in the first round.
* Adetunji opened her first appearance at states by defeating Corinne Zahlis of Hammond 6-4, 7-6 (5) in her opening match.
Adetunji opened up leads of 5-2 in the first set and 4-0 in the second set by playing more consistently than Zahlis. Zahlis raised her level — playing aggressive, attacking tennis — to win five straight games and take a 5-4 lead in the second set. But Adetunji battled to pull the set out in a tiebreaker to advance.
“It was a lot mental,” said Adetunji. “My whole thing was consistency, just trying to get the ball in play and play good defense. (The win) feels really good.”
In the quarterfinals, Adetunji took a set from second-seeded Heather Fantry of Towson, but Fantry played smart, controlled tennis in the first and third sets and ended Adetunji’s run at states, 6-2, 2-6, 6-1.
“That’s why (Fantry) is the No. 2 seed, she’s just extremely consistent and she plays smart directional tennis,” Rebels coach Jason Kamler said. “You don’t have to be overpowering if you play smart tennis.”
Fantry controlled much of the match with her left-handed forehand. Adetunji gave Fantry problems with her two-handed backhand — especially in the second set — but Adetunji never got her forehand working and Fantry played very clean tennis early and late to get the win.
“Overall, it was a great experience, being here and getting to showcase my skills,” said Adetunji, who finished the season with a 20-4 record and the regional title.
* Harrison and Schoeck looked like they’d win their first-round match against Liberty’s A.J. Robbins and Andy Boyer easily after cruising in the first set.
It turned out to be anything but easy, but Harrison and Schoeck got the job done by rallying from 4-1 down in the third set for a 6-1, 6-7 (2), 7-5 victory.
“We just didn’t want to lose,” said Harrison. “The first set, we were hitting crisp volleys, we weren’t popping them up and giving them any chances, we were putting them away.”
Harrison and Schoeck were down two breaks, 5-2, in the second set before rallying to force a tiebreaker, but Robbins and Boyer scored six straight points in the tiebreaker on the way to forcing the third set.
“Down 4-1 in the third, that’s hardcore to come back,” Hubs coach Kevin Reynolds said. “After winning the first set 6-1, to lose the second and be down like that, it’s depressing. But they kept fighting.”
However, Harrison and Schoeck ran into Franklin’s third-seeded team of Ray Trogan and Josh Segal in the quarters. Harrison and Schoeck had a 5-3 lead in the first set, but Trogan and Segal turned their game up several notches and won 10 of the final 12 games for a 7-5, 6-2 victory.
“They were a lot more consistent once they started realizing they could lose the (first) set,” Schoeck said.
“They got beat by a really good team,” Reynolds said. “Shots (Harrison and Schoeck) hit that would win in the county, they weren’t good enough against them.”
* O’Neal and Crowl made their second appearance at states, entering as the third seed after blasting through the county and regional tournaments. But Wilde Lake’s Daniel Evans and Melissa Barrall outplayed the Blazers’ duo to score a 6-4, 7-5 upset.
“Me and Megan were making a lot of mistakes, and they were playing off of them,” O’Neal said. “Same thing happened last year. We swept through counties and regionals and I think we thought we’d do the same thing here. The draw looked easy, but it wasn’t.”
Evans in particular was tough. He could hit his lefty forehand with pace and control, and had the athleticism to play well both defensively and at the net.
“He played the net very well, and I think we were a little tight,” Clear Spring coach Lisa Shives said. “They had a great season.”
“We walked on the court with nerves, not confidence, and that got the best of us,” Crowl said. “It was completely our fault. ... We had a good season. I’d rather end it at states than counties.”
* D’Alauro and Scally — who entered their first-round match against Broadneck’s Danielle Naftali and Allie Burt with a 23-0 record — suffered a 6-2, 7-6 (6) setback. D’Alauro and Scally both said a three-and-a-half-hour wait to get on court played a role.
“I was tired before I got on the court,” Scally said. “I tried to find a shady place and take a nap. I psyched myself out.”
“I felt like I had no muscle at all, after waiting in the heat to play,” D’Alauro said. “I was beat.”
After a rough first set, D’Alauro and Scally fought back form down a break at 4-2 in the second set to win three straight games and serve for the set at 5-4. But Naftali and Burt broke back, then prevailed in a tight tiebreaker. D’Alauro and Scally had set point at 6-5 in the tiebreaker, but Naftali and Burt won the final three points.
“They had a great season,” said Warriors coach Frank McAdoo. “They worked hard every day and stayed focused, and they were confident in each other.”