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Perry Hall tennis making a racket Overshadowed team brings 43-match win streak into states


Perry Hall's boys lacrosse, girls lacrosse, baseball and softball teams have all had win-loss records worthy of a spot in the metro area's top 15 polls this year.

Meanwhile the co-ed tennis team, which has a 43-match winning streak over the past three seasons, continues to practice without much notice on the courts adjacent to the talent-rich playing fields and plays its matches before small crowds of family and friends.

Once he realized the length of the winning streak, coach Frank Insigna began announcing the team's results over the school's public address system during the morning announcements.

"Now a lot of students come up every day and ask how we are doing," No. 1 singles player Jen Godwin said. "People always get more involved around the county and state tournaments."

The Gators, 11-0 this season, are preparing for Friday's state tournament at Essex Community College.

Perry Hall has an entry in each of the three doubles draws. Two of the doubles teams won their divisions at the Baltimore County District/Regional tournament at Towson State last Friday.

To ensure an appearance in the state tournament, Insigna paired his top singles boy, Jason Olenick(11-0), with top doubles player Matt Banks, who was undefeated with Brandon Oliver during the regular season.

"He's tough to lob over and he gives intimidation of the net," Insigna said about Banks, who is over 6 feet. "And Jason has consistent ground strokes and an error-free game."

The combination resulted in a regional doubles title with a 6-2, 6-1 victory over the Pikesville team of Ryan Millman and Oleg Tartakovsky.

"You try to make the team strong without splitting up the talent," Insigna said. "I think they [the boys and mixed doubles teams] will do well at the states."

Godwin and No. 2 singles player Scott Lortz teamed for their second straight regional mixed doubles title. The duo defeated Pikesville's B team and Owings Mills before beating the Pikesville A team of Kim Rosen and David Shane, 6-3, 6-2, in the finals.

Last year, Godwin and Lortz made it to the state final at the University of Maryland. This year, they are looking to win their first state title.

"In practice, they are always calling things like when to switch," Insigna said. "They're a cool team and they don't get riled."

Attitude and court presence are the strengths for the two seniors. There is always a reassuring pat on the back or an enthusiastic high five after a clean winner.

"Our attitude is to do our best and to continue to push ourselves," Lortz said. "If one of us is doing bad, we can pull the other one up to par."

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