Earlier this year, Kelley Margolis had a temper as fiery as her ponytailed red hair.
But now, the 14-year-old tennis player from Lutherville plays in strict silence, paying close attention to her Ps and Qs, patience and quick racket preparation.
There are no emotional outbursts, with the exception of a clenched fist after hitting a clean winner. It isn't until after the last point is played and her opponent's hand is shaken that the satisfied, contagious smile emerges and a happy high school freshman-to-be surfaces.
"I used to scream and throw my racket," Kelly said with a sheepish grin. "In the beginning of the year, I wasn't winning. Everything was going wrong."
But since January, Margolis has found her game and a court disposition which supplements her mental toughness. She has won three singles titles this summer: the Maryland State Junior Indoor Championships (14 and under) and the Centennial Open and the Maryland State Junior Outdoor Championships (16 and under) this month.
She hopes to add a gold medal from the Jewish Community Centers' North American Maccabi Youth Games to her list of summer victories before she enters Pikesville High School as a freshman in September.
"I'd like to win [the tournament]," Margolis said. "To be No. 1 out of this entire draw of people from all over the world, it's just like the Olympics."
Margolis, the No. 2 seed, advanced to the semifinals yesterday by defeating Jennifer Carter (Rockland County, N.Y., delegation), 6-1, 6-4.
Baltimore delegation coach Larry Shanet and local teaching pro Claude England have been working with Margolis for the past few months. Shanet has noticed her improvement through her match play this week.
"Mentally she's very strong for her age," Shanet said. "She's got a very complete and balanced game. A lot of girls her age just play the baseline and she hit spin, slice and she can volley."
Margolis said the Maccabi Games offer her a chance to play girls her age from all over the country. "I haven't played any national tournaments this year, so I don't get this chance [outside the games]."
Margolis missed a chance to compete in the girls 14 and under National Clay Court Championships because she didn't play enough Middle Atlantic Tennis Association (MATA) tournaments. Her MATA ranking this year, however, has climbed from 16 to 6.
Margolis said she will try to play enough tournaments to qualify for the 16 and under national championships next year. But for now, she's concentrating on one match at a time.
LOCAL RESULTS Boys Basketball Baltimore #1, Tenafly (N.J.) N/A
Los Angeles 84, Baltimore #2 36
Soccer Great Britain 6, Baltimore (Columbia) 0
Baltimore (Owings Mills) 12, Syracuse 0
Softball Wilkes-Barre 17, Baltimore #2 6
Los Angeles 13, Baltimore #1 8
Swimming 15-16 500m freestyle -- 1. Chris Kaplan,4:48.39
13-14 100m breaststroke -- 1. Brett Rubin, 1:05.27; 200 IM -- 1. Brett Rubin, 2:06.89
Track and field, disabled Shot put 1. Mike Marchanti, 13-4; 2. Steve Reches, 10-6
1,600m -- 5. Eric Goren, 5:15.1; 4,000m -- 4. Mark Goldstein, 58.8.
Wrestling 140 pounds 1. Gregg Kessler, 3. Austin Lieb
150 pounds 3. Joshua Tzuker.
Girls Basketball Australia 63, Baltimore 31
Soccer Los Angeles 9, Baltimore (Owings Mills) 0
Philadelphia 4, Baltimore (Columbia) 0
Softball Baltimore #1 13, Cleveland 0
Baltimore #2 13, Detroit 5
Gymnastics Vault -- 2. Mara Clamage, 8.80, 3. Shelley Arnheim, 8.65. Uneven bars -- 2. Mara Clamage, 8:85. Balance beam -- 3. Jane Wettstein, 8.70. Floor exercise -- 2. Mara Clamage, 8.90.
Volleyball Los Angeles def. Baltimore 15-2, 15-4.
TODAY'S EVENTS Boys basketball Divisional playoffs at UMBC, 8:30 and 10:30 a.m.
Metro quarterfinals at UMBC 1 p.m.
Community semifinals at UMBC 2:30 p.m.
Girls basketball Divisional playoffs at UMBC 8:30 and 10:30 a.m.
Semifinals at UMBC 1 and 2:30 p.m.
Boys soccer Quarterfinal game at UMBC, 8:30 a.m.
Owings Mills vs. Bergen County (N.J.) at UMBC 10:30 a.m.
Girls soccer Semifinals at UMBC, 8:30 and 10:30 a.m.
Boys softball Baltimore 1 vs. Toronto at UMBC, 8:30 a.m.
Semifinal play at UMBC, 10:30 a.m.
Girls softball Semifinals at UMBC, 8:30 a.m.
Baltimore 1 vs. Toronto at UMBC, 10:30 a.m.
Golf At Bonnie View CC, 8 a.m.
Swimming At UMBC 9:30 a.m.
Table tennis At UMBC Student Center, 9 a.m.
Tennis At UMBC and Catonsville CC 9 a.m.
Racquetball At Merritt Racquet Club, Security Boulevard, 8:30 a.m.
Karate Fighting competition at Catonsville CC, noon
Girls volleyball Semifinals at Catonsville CC, 8 and 9:30
Gold-medal match at Catonsville CC, 1:30 p.m.
Bronze-medal match at Catonsville CC, 3 p.m.
Boys volleyball Semifinals at Catonsville CC, 8 and 9:30 a.m.
Gold-medal match at Catonsville CC, noon
Bronze-medal match at Catonsville CC, 3 p.m.
Wrestling Final matches at Catonsville CC, 9 a.m.