Centennial nets county title

Centennial's tennis dynasty rolls on and on.

The Eagles (13-0), who clinched a tie for their eighth county title in 11 seasons by beating Howard on Monday, won the title outright by defeating Mount Hebron, 8-1, yesterday.


Earlier this season on its home court, Mount Hebron (9-3) narrowly missed upsetting Centennial, losing 5-4. The deciding match had been tied 6-6.

But yesterday's contest was not expected to be close because the home-court coach sets the lineups and Centennial coach Bill Shook is adept at attacking an opposing team's weaknesses.


"I thought Mount Hebron might have a chance to win at most three matches," Shook said.

Those included mixed doubles, No. 1 boys doubles and No. 2 boys singles.

Instead, the Vikings won only one match, and that was in No. 1 boys doubles where Mount Hebron's top player, David Mitchel, remained unbeaten this season. The score was 8-3. Mitchel has played a combination of singles, doubles and mixed doubles. Yesterday he was teamed with John Sniscak.

"Mitchel is an all-around great player and we couldn't keep the ball away from him at the net. He was all over it," Shook said.

In mixed doubles, Mount Hebron coach Cliff Bernstein thought his team of Micky Chawla and Jamie Stasiulewicz had a chance to beat Quang Hoang and Julia Dougherty, but Dougherty was too tough.

"She was the difference," said Bernstein. "She understands doubles strategy and had a better serve, a better volley and a better overhand than our girl."

Stasiulewicz, Mount Hebron's No. 5 girl, said: "My serve was off and we made too many unforced errors."

And part of the Mount Hebron mixed doubles team's strategy beforehand was to lob, but the windy conditions made that nearly impossible. The final score in that match was 8-4.


In the boys singles No. 2 match, Centennial freshman Matt Ruppert avenged an earlier 9-8 tiebreaker loss to senior T. J. Sasser by winning, 8-5.

"I was able to hit more passing shots today and that made the difference," Ruppert said.

Centennial's top girls singles players each won their matches, 8-0. No. 1 Rebekah Knouse, who defeated Jillian Downs, hasn't lost a county regular-season match in four seasons. Her sister, Stephanie, who beat Alicia Degregorio, is unbeaten this season.

Centennial's girls doubles No. 1 team of Susan Green and Michelle Brown won 8-0 over Emily Yanero and Magda Malak. It was a matchup of No. 3 and No. 4 players.

The girls doubles No. 2 match was also a Centennial win, 8-2. Bonnie Ghosh and Courtney Martin defeated Jessica Engdahl and Stacy Lesko.

"Our girls are definitely our strength," said Shook, whose team has seven shutouts and has lost only 10 individual matches all season.


In the other boys singles match, Centennial's Pathan Khan defeated Matt Chen, 8-4.

In boys doubles, Centennial's Neil Adler and Brian Higgens defeated Lucas Jantac and Jason Smith, 8-6.