MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The rain held off just long enough for the Morgantown and University tennis teams to get their first rivalry match of the season in at Marilla Park, with both Mohigans’ teams securing wins.
The MHS girls’ team swept UHS 7-0, but with two tight matches in the Nos. 1 and 3 doubles matches. The closest of the two was fought out on Court 1, as Morgantown’s Amber Li and Sophia Mascari took Mailey Jackson and Noelle Wonsettler to an extra set, winning on failed returns, 9-7. A few courts down, University’s Deah Gharib and Emma Rusiecki were trying to overcome a deficit to defeat Emme McKnight and Amy Lu, but couldn’t stop MHS’s top two as McKnight and Lu pulled ahead for an 8-6 win.
In singles action, Morgantown in total gave up just three games, all but shutting out the Hawks.
It was on the boys’ side of Marilla’s courts that saw a much tighter match, as the MHS boys’ team edged UHS, 4-3, with the final win coming from sophomore No. 4 Bennett Hall.
“We love playing UHS, these are our friends who we train with in the offseason so when we meet them as opponents it’s both fun and a little stressful at times,” MHS boys’ coach Sam Hall said.
The boys’ teams began with doubles action, with MHS taking the Nos. 2 and 3 matches, 8-5. Andre Barcinas and Tommy McClellan picked up a win in the No. 1 doubles match over Ataes Aggarwal and Max Phillips-Hartly, 8-2.
Singles action was just as close, with Barcinas claiming an 8-5 win over Aggarwal, and Jameson Walters defeated Adien Aggarwal, 8-1. Phillips-Hartley and Hall, however, each picked up 8-2 wins to secure the Mohigans’ second win of the year.
“The more interesting thing about Bennett is that he’s coming off having to take nine months off because he had to have surgery on his wrist,” coach Hall said. “He’s still trying to get himself back to where he was before. What I see for him in the future, first and foremost being his mom, I want him to continue playing and love to compete but I think he’s a solid player for us to anchor our team around.
“The other thing is, he’s a young sophomore – he’s only 14 – and he’s got a lot of growth physically that will hopefully come at some point and along with that we hope he can become a dominant player.”
Aside from Bennett, Hall is looking at her young team to maintain its current momentum throughout the next few matches, into OVACs and then into the postseason.
“With the exception of Ataes, who’s a senior, and Dake [LaSala], who’s a junior, this was the first season for the rest of the team,” Hall said. “They’re all freshmen and sophomores, so we’re really excited about the strength of this team moving forward from here.”
Morgantown returns to action Friday, hosting John Marshall at 2 p.m. The Monarchs then turn around and face University at 4 p.m.
MORGANTOWN 7, UNIVERSITY 0
#1 Emme McKnight (8) / Deah Gharib (1)
#2 Amy Lu (8) / Emma Rusiecki (0)
#3 Kassie Regules (8) / Sydney Takacs (1)
#4 Sam Carver (8) / Brooklyn Rutledge (1)
#1D #1 McKnight/#2 Lu (8) / #1/#2 (6)
#2D #3 Regules/#4 Carver (8) / #3/#4 Emma Dafner (0)
#3D Amber Li/ Sophia Mascari (9) / Mailey Jackson/Noelle Wonsettler (7)
MORGANTOWN 4, UNIVERSITY 3
#1 Andre Barcinas (8) / Ataes Aggarwal (5)
#2 Max Phillips-Hartley (8) / Tommy McClellan (2)
#3 Jameson Walters (8) / Adien Aggarwal (1)
#4 Bennett Hall (8) / Jack Giobbia (2)
#1D #1 Barcinas/#2 Phillips-Hartley (8) / #1/#2 (2)
#2D #3 Aggarwal/#4 Hall (8) / #3/#4 5
#3D Doug Liu/Dake LaSalaa (8) / Salah Abunnaja/Julian Stealey (5)