MORGANTOWN — Morgantown High girls’ tennis head coach Ted Greenlee couldn’t have asked for a better performance from his team March 27. In fact, the Mohigans played about as perfect a match as possible.
MHS swept crosstown rival University in both singles and doubles action, earning 8-0 wins in every match played.
“They played very well. A match like this helps them stay in focus for what they need to do for the rest of the year,” Greenlee said. “Everyone played very well; in both singles and doubles, I think the girls competed equally as well top to bottom.”
It was a tough loss for the Hawks, but in the eyes of UHS coach Gary Barcinas, it was not for lack of effort.
“We tried our best, but they were a little overmatched today. The MHS girls played great,” he said.
Barcinas hopes that his girls can take the competitive stretches they played throughout the afternoon, and turn them into normal occurrences on the court.
“They can build on the fact that some of the matches were close despite the score, and we need to keep working hard and moving forward,” Barcinas said.
MHS hits the court this season hoping to carry momentum from a successful 2017 campaign. The Mohigans earned a fourth overall team finish on the backs of Mackenzie Sorton and Isabella Mascari, who earned a Class AAA state title in No. 3 doubles.
Greenlee is hopeful his squad can repeat the success this spring.
“I think we’re going to have a very good season. I talked to the girls and we’re not going to put forth any expectations about getting where we need to. We’re just going to play every match and see where It takes us.”
Barcinas expects his top singles players — No. 1 Maya Gharib and No. 2 Grace Valenzuela — to compete at a high level down the stretch, and believes his team will see success if the players can focus on the long-term instead of the present.
“We’re not the same squad now that we will be at the end of the year. We have to continue to improve and get better; that’s my expectation,” he said.
It took a tie-breaker to settle the match between UHS’s Kyle Hawthorne and MHS’s Ataes Aggarwal, as the two battled to an 8-8 draw. Aggarwal ended up securing the tie-breaker; it also ended up nabbing the Hawks a team victory over their rivals.
“It was a good win. UHS has a good team,” MHS coach Dan Martinelli said. “It’s the beginning of the season; we’re still learning, and we only have one senior on the team, but I though the kids played well.”
UHS coach Tom McClellan was positive regarding his team’s progress and performance, but hopes to see a better attitude and clearer focus from his squad as the season rolls on.
“I thought overall it was a good match, and we’re learning how to play better as a team,” McClellan said. “We need to stay positive throughout the match, and focus on the points to come, not the points that have already passed. That’s one thing we’re really working on: Staying in the present.”
UHS will be paced by its No. 1 singles competitor, Drew Hawthorne, a 2017 Class AAA state semifinalist. Hawthorne played a role in two of the three victories secured by the Hawks on the day, earning an 8-1 singles victory over MHS No. 1 Ben Rosiello before joining his brother Kyle in an 8-3 doubles victory over Aggarwal and Rosiello.
“I’m looking for Drew in the No. 1 singles and Drew and Kyle in the No. 1 doubles to really make an impact in the state tournament,” McClellan said.
In the end, it was the depth of MHS that earned the team win, as the Mohigans grabbed victories in the No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4 singles, as well as No. 2 doubles. As is, Martinelli is unconcerned with early season performance, but more worried about gradual progression from his team. He hopes as the players gain experience, they will prove tough competition in May.
“I don’t worry about them winning or losing right now,” he said. “I think as they improve, I will expect them to do really well in the OVAC and regionals and make it to the state tournament.”
MORGANTOWN GIRLS 7, UNIVERSITY 0
SINGLES: 1, Emme McKnight (M) def. Maya Gharib, 8-0; 2, Cat Wassick (M) def. Grace Valenzuela, 8-0; 3, Vinitha Joseph (M) def. Macy Schlobohm, 8-0; 4, Mackenzie Sorton (M) def. Emma Watson, 8-0.
DOUBLES: McKnight/Wassick (M) def. Valenzuela/Madison Johnston, 8-0; 2, Sorton/Isabella Mascari (M) def. Emily Benson/Clara Lehki, 8-0; Joseph/Ashalia Aggarwal (M) def. Natalie Wonsettler/Lucy Roh, 8-0.
MORGANTOWN BOYS 4, UNIVERSITY 3
SINGLES: 1, Drew Hawthorne (U) def. Ben Rosiello, 8-1; 2, Ataes Aggarwal (M) def. Kyle Hawthorne, 9-8 (7-4); 3, Sam Gorski (M) def. Jackson Rutledge, 8-2; 4, Hamilton Hall (M) def. Deiland Slaughter, 8-5.
DOUBLES: 1, D. Hawthorne/K. Hawthorne (U) def. Rosiello/Aggarwal, 8-3; 2, Gorski/Hall (M) def. Tommy McClellan/Andre Barcinas, 8-6; 3, Jameson Watters/Levi Watson (U) def. Sachin Thaker/Jack Hudson, 8-5.