Twenty-two athletes from Richmond Hill High School accomplished the goal for which they have been working toward. Both boys and girls tennis teams will compete in the state playoffs via strong showings at this week’s regional playoffs.
Long bus trips, strange weather and the state’s largest region did not deter the teams from posting impressive wins.
The tennis girls needed to beat both Harlem and St. Vincent to advance to number three in the region.
They did so convincingly. Senior Caroline Benjamin crushed her opponents with accurate serves, power baseline play and full court pressure to take the first points in both matches.
Fiona Baer used mixed play of power shots and accurate lobs to easily beat Harlem and force a draw against St. Vincent. Rachel Dixon and Gina Florio split duties at Three Singles and proved that a full team is necessary to win.
Dixon used her strong overhead to take two easy sets from Harlem.
Florio struggled initially and lost the first set, having trouble finding her stroke.
She quickly recovered and won in split sets over a strong St. Vincent player.
Veteran players Annastasia Ames and Emily Stephens won in a three-setter. The doubles team took the tie-breaker set 6-1 as they finally put their true game together.
Easily the most improved duo was the team of Kate Macedo and Ali Mazur.
The girls remained poised and in position throughout the match. They combined technical savvy with great hustle to win a brief two-set match.
The girls travel to Lagrange today to face an equally talented team.
Their hopes are to get by the difficult first round and work their way into the Final Four.
The boys swept through the Region undefeated and actually never lost a set.
They are currently ranked number four in the state and have a real shot and the finals.
The Region playoff game was over quickly with most positions posting shutouts.
Michael Zhu, Jason Trankle and Huy Phan had easy wins at the singles’ slots.
Ethan Laine subbed in for an ill Kyle Guither and paired with Nic Balas had little difficulty adding a win for the team. Brothers, Chris and Lee Noonburg’s match was stopped after the double’s team posted a 6-0 shut out in the first set.
The boys have the luxury of being at home for the first three rounds of the State Playoffs.
They begin play this week against Harris County.
"I’m amazed at and proud of the girls," said Coach Pat Paruso. "They have constantly found a way to win and have beaten better teams. The boys are strictly about business and are hungry for the playoffs."
The boys have not missed the state playoffs in the past 12 years.
The girls made it there for the first time last year and advanced to the Elite Eight.
Hopes are high and the prospects look good for an even better performance this year.
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