(April 17, 2015) The Worcester Prep and Stephen Decatur tennis teams battled in Berlin on Monday. The Worcester Prep Mallards, a private school in the Eastern Shore Independent Athletic Conference, won both competitions 6-1 over Decatur, a public school of the Bayside Conference.
With first singles player, senior Tatjana Kondraschow, out of the lineup visiting a college, several of the Lady Mallards were playing in different singles spots.
“I was happy. They all played up and did a good job,” said Worcester’s girls’ Coach Cyndee Hudson. “We were happy to get back on the court with all the inclement weather we’ve had.”
Junior Isabel Carulli won the second singles match 8-1. Fiona Reid, a senior, took her third singles match 8-2.
Sarah Koon, a junior, battled with Decatur freshman Laila Mirza in their fourth singles competition. Koon maintained a slight lead and pulled out an 8-6 victory.
Freshman Anchita Batra shut out her fifth singles opponent, 8-0.
Worcester’s first doubles team of senior Natalie Twilley and junior Erika Smith earned an 8-0 shutout.
Sophomores Eva Parks and Stormy McGuiness outscored their second doubles opponents 8-2.
Senior Delaney Iacona logged the lone victory for Decatur on their home courts in Berlin. Points were traded throughout the first singles match with Worcester senior Mattie Maull.
Iacona led 7-4, but Maull fought back to cut the Decatur senior’s advantage to one (7-6).
Decatur girls’ Coach Jamie Greenwood said he told Iacona to “forget the last two games and let’s win one more.”
Greenwood said Iacona settled down and took the last game to win 8-6.
“I don’t think we played well. We haven’t had a legit day of practice in the last two weeks [because of rain and matches],” Greenwood said. “We haven’t had the opportunity to practice and work on things.”
Greenwood said his players, other than Iacona, are inexperienced under match pressure. Iacona is the only Lady Seahawk who competed in singles competition last year.
“On-court inexperience is what I chalk it up to. Delaney is the only one who has been in stressful situations,” Greenwood said.
One positive, Greenwood said, is that the girls are becoming “self-evaluating.”
After their matches, they want to know what they can do better and how they can fix their mistakes, he said.
While victories are nice, the coach said “there’s more to it than winning.”
“The girls are having fun,” he said. “They all seem to be enjoying [playing tennis].”
The Worcester Prep boys’ team was also missing a few singles players – senior Erik Zorn (college visits) and junior Alex Choy – so some Mallards stepped up and played in different positions.
Seniors Quinn Lukas and Kyle Chandler shut out their first and second singles opponents respectively, 8-0, on their courts in Berlin.
“They were pretty dominating. I’m happy with their performance,” said Prep Coach Terry Underkoffler.
Junior Christian Beres earned the lone victory for Decatur. He pulled out an 8-6 win at third singles.
Worcester’s Zach Wilson, a sophomore, and junior Charlie Pritchard, who typically play doubles, scored 8-2 and 8-1 victories at fourth and fifth singles, respectively.
“It was their first time playing singles and they did pretty well,” Underkoffler said.
Senior Chris Choy and freshman Brenner Maull, playing together for the first time, topped their first doubles competition 8-5.
Sophomore Adam Pizza and junior Baylan McGuiness, competing in their first varsity match, won 8-5 at second doubles.
“I thought once they got over the jitters they played effectively,” Underkoffler said.
Despite winning only one match, Decatur boys’ Coach Steve Berquist said the Seahawks know they are improving.
After each match Monday, Berquist said he talked to his players about what they could have done better and what they can improve upon for the next competition.
“They played well. The guys felt really good about themselves. They realize they’re getting better,” Berquist said. “They enjoy playing tennis and they enjoy competing.”
The schools will go head-to-head today, Friday, at 4 p.m. The girls will compete on Worcester’s courts, while the boys will play at Decatur.