The RHHS Wildcat Tennis Teams divided bragging rights in a non-region match on March 13. AAAAA School Glynn Academy was edged out by the boys team but defeated the girls. On Monday, Coach Pat Paruso tried an alternate line-up which had mixed results for their competition with Statesboro.
The clay courts may have slowed the girls down a bit in their matches versus Glynn, but they posted no excuses for losing to a strong team from Brunswick. Lady Wildcat singles player Caroline Benjamin hit shot for shot but fell short in the opening match. Identical matches followed suit in the singles lineup with Fiona Baer, Rachel Dixon and Heather Prescott all dropping in two sets.
Doubles teams of Annastashia Ames and Emily Stephens never found their footing and dropped two sets filled with ads and deuces. Laura Trivitayakhun and Kate Macedo fell despite a strong effort by the duo. JV players Sofia Donleavy and Ali Mazur gave a great opening match before eventually bowing out.
"Glynn Academy has one of the strongest girls teams in the State and my girls were simply beaten by a better team," said Coach Paruso.
Also against Glynn, the boys adjusted slowly to the new conditions and Wildcat Michael Zhu stayed even in the first set before stepping up the pace and downing the number one singles position in two sets.
Jason Trankle faced a very strong number two singles opponent. Trankle dropped a point in a two set marathon. Huy Phan remained undefeated at three singles by showing patience and smarts in his match.
Kyle Guither and Nick Balas had the most entertaining match of the evening. Incredible gets and split second volleys were predominant during the match, and their win gave the Wildcats a 3-2 victory. Rounding out the match were Lee Noonburg and Ethan Laine. The duo went to a double tie break before dropping their match.
John Rush, Joe Feck, Minh Phan and Jeff Kennedy, Charles Zhu and Chris Noonburg all saw action during the alternates match. The boys proved that there is quality play deep into the tennis team’s lineup.
The teams traveled to Statesboro this past Monday. Still looking to find a consistently winning combination, the Ladycats raised their level of play and did it by using yet untried athletes.Caroline Benjamin, the number one senior singles player, remained consistent with a shut-out. Fiona Baer, at number two singles, improved her ground strokes and net play before dropping a close match. First-time player Gina Floria played some excellent tennis before dropping a close match at three singles. Veteran doubles team of Annastashia Ames and Emily Stephens started slowly but only a few unforced errors and strong play at the net led them to a win. The match was at stake with novice Ali Mazur and Senior Kate Macedo at two doubles. The girls crushed their opponent and took home a needed win for the Wildcats. "The team is rated in the state’s top ten much because of last year’s performance, but also because of their maturity in play," said Paruso. "They need to win in key upcoming matches against Hepzobah and St. Vincent. The line-up is still being adjusted and the girls have the depth necessary to advance deeply into the state playoffs."
Also on Monday, The Wildcat boys team struggled against a more experienced group from Statesboro. The boys played a completely new lineup. Freshman Chris Noonburg hung tough against number one singles Senior, Jordan Jones. Chris did not go down easily and showed that he can compete against high school’s best. Joe Feck followed suit but dropped a tough two singles match. Freshman Charles Zhu stayed in the match with patient strokes and few unforced errors but eventual dropped the Wildcat’s third point.
Ethan Laine and Lee Noonburg led early at two doubles but wobbled just enough to allow a fourth Statesboro point. Minh Phan and John Rush played at two doubles for the first time but their initiation proved unsuccessful.
The Wildcats next tennis competition will be Thursday at home against Claxton, 3:30 p.m. start.