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Prep Tennis: Matters of the heart

Emotions come to surface at county tennis championships

May 12, 2012|By DANIEL KAUFFMAN | kauffman@herald-mail.com
  • Boonsboro's Ashlyn Hawbaker, back, hugs North Hagerstown's Kelli Wright following the girls doubles final at the Washington County Championships on Saturday. Hawbaker and Sarah Colgan defeated Wright and Sam Roberts for the title.
By Kevin G. Gilbert/Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN — After Williamsport senior Kyle Marshall teamed with junior Stephen Flessner to win the boys doubles title at the Washington County Tennis Championships, there was one thing left for Marshall to do Saturday.

With tears streaming down his cheeks, Marshall lifted onto his shoulder the rolled-up net that used to be on the Williamsport court that classmate and friend Samantha Kelly played on this season. Having placed the net next to the North Hagerstown court where he and Flessner defeated Clear Spring’s Scott Hovermale and Andrew Shupp 6-3, 6-3 in the final, he then carried it off as emotions of sadness and triumph mixed.

“Words can’t even describe how I feel,” said Marshall, who this season often played on the court next to Kelly, who was killed along with Williamsport classmate Brendon Colliflower in an auto accident last weekend. “We had more heart. No one has more heart than I do, and that’s a fact.”

Marshall and Flessner — who were paired up for the first time for the county tournament — overcame a 3-1 deficit in the first set by winning the last five games in the set, with Marshall’s big serves and strong net play leading the way.

Hovermale and Shupp — who were 17-0 this season entering the final — kept the second set close, trailing by a break at 4-3. But Marshall and Flessner held serve to make it 5-3, then broke Hovermale and Shupp in a final game that included two deuce points to wrap up the title.

“I’ve been waiting since I was a freshman to win this title, and regionals is on the way,” Marshall said. “I’m not stopping until I get that, too.”

Clear Spring swept the boys and girls team titles for the second straight season to keep what coach Lisa Shives called “the best season we’ve ever had” going strong. Both the boys and girls went 15-0 in dual meets and won MVAL Antietam titles.

“Thirteen of our kids are going to regionals, so that’s awesome,” Shives said.

Boonsboro’s Serge Aleshin-Guendel and Clear Spring’s Miranda Kearney both repeated as county tournament singles champions.

Aleshin-Guendel used a strong forehand to get ahead of Clear Spring’s Zac O’Neal early in their boys singles final, then overcame severe cramping in his dominant right hand and his legs to pull out a 7-5, 6-1 victory.

“I don’t know how I played,” said Aleshin-Guendel, who had to go for broke several times in the last three games and came up with several outright winners. “I just thought, ‘Hit the ball as hard as I can.’ (The first set) was the best I played all season.”

Kearney improved her season record to 17-0 by defeating teammate Miranda Speak 6-2, 6-0 in the girls singles final. Kearney, who upset South Hagerstown’s Tinuke Adetunji in three memorable sets in last year’s final, dropped just seven games in four sets in this year’s tournament.

“I had a lot more pressure on my shoulders. I’d rather be the underdog,” Kearney said. “I had to win this year or people might think I didn’t deserve it last year.”

Boonsboro’s girls doubles team of Sarah Colgan and Ashlyn Hawbaker improved to 18-0 this season by beating North’s Sam Roberts and Kelli Wright 6-1, 6-1 in a final that was a little closer than the final score — Roberts and Wright failed to close out opportunities in four different games.

Colgan and Hawbaker dropped just eight games over six sets in cruising to their first county tournament title after two runner-up finishes.

“We work so well together and that helped us get ahead,” Hawbaker said. “It was close games, close points.”

“I’m just glad that we finally won (a county title),” Colgan said.

North’s mixed doubles team of Max Ober and Mollie Johnson defeated Clear Spring’s Corey McClure and Dominique Forsman 6-3, 6-3 in the first final of the day. Like Marshall, it was an emotional weekend for Johnson, who was a pallbearer in Kelly’s funeral Friday.

“I’ve been playing for Sam the last two days. I have to do it for her,” Johnson said. “It’s been very hard.”

McClure and Forsman took a 3-1 lead in the first set, but Ober and Johnson found their groove and won the next eight games. McClure and Forsman broke Ober and Johnson twice in the second set, clawing back within 4-3. But Ober and Johnson held serve for 5-3, then broke McClure and Forsman in a marathon final game featuring four deuce points.

“Neither of us played doubles all season, so coming from singles, it’s different,” said Ober, who went 17-1 at No. 1 boys singles this season for the Hubs. “You don’t get as many chances to hit shots, so you have to make the ones you do get.”

The top three finishers in each of the five divisions earned a trip to next weekend’s Region I Tournament at Middletown. Winners of third-place matches included Williamsport’s Anthony Adams (boys singles), Boonsboro’s Hannah Froehlich (girls singles), and three teams from Clear Spring — Levi Bucher and Cory Caudell (boys doubles); Samantha Michael and Zoie O’Neal (girls doubles); and Nicholas Brandt and Cayla Garner (mixed doubles).

Washington County Tennis Championships
Saturday at North Hagerstown
Note: Clear Spring won the boys team title. No scores were available at press time.
Girls Team Results: Clear Spring 34, North Hagerstown 23, Boonsboro 16, Williamsport 5, Smithsburg 4, South Hagerstown 2.
Boys Singles
Semifinals: O'Neal (CS) d. Brady (NH), 6-1, 6-0; Aleshin-Guendel (B) d. Adams (W), 6-4, 7-6 (2).
Third Place: Adams d. Brady, 6-4, 6-2.
Final: Aleshin-Guendel d. O'Neal, 7-5, 6-1.
Girls Singles
Semifinal: Miranda Speak (CS) d. Hannah Froehlich (B), 7-5, 6-3.
Third Place: Froehlich d. Emily Seifarth (S), 7-6 (2), 6-3.
Final: Miranda Kearney (CS) d. Speak, 6-2, 6-0.
Boys Doubles
Semifinals: Hovermale/Shupp (CS) d. Deal/McSherry (S), 7-6 (2), 7-5; Flessner/Marshall (W) d. Bucher/Caudell (CS), 6-4, 6-1.
Third Place: Bucher/Caudell d. Deal/McSherry, 3-6, 6-1, 6-2.
Final: Flessner/Marshall d. Hovermale/Shupp, 6-3, 6-3.
Girls Doubles
Semifinals: Colgan/Hawbaker (B) d. Michael/O'Neal (CS), 6-2, 6-2; Roberts/Wright (NH) d. Irwin/McCoy (NH), 7-6 (3), 6-2.
Third Place: Michael/O'Neal d. Irwin/McCoy, 6-2, 6-1.
Final: Colgan/Hawbaker d. Roberts/Wright, 6-1, 6-1.
Mixed Doubles
Third Place: Brandt/Garner (CS) d. Grahn/Dunn (NH), 6-4, 6-1.
Final: Ober/Johnson (NH) d. McClure/D. Forsman, 6-3, 6-3.

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