COLUMBIA — No county tennis players walked off the courts at the Wilde Lake Tennis Club on Saturday as state champions.
The day and the entire state tournament will still go down as one of the best showings from the county in some time.
County players or doubles teams finished second in four brackets, third in another and fourth in one as the state tournament wrapped up on Saturday. By the time the semifinals were completed by mid-morning, two singles players and two doubles teams were on the courts just one win away from a state title.
“This is definitely a great showing for our county to have so many players out there,” said Broadneck coack Kathy Perrotta, who had a singles player and a doubles team finish in second. “I hope we can build tennis so that players are motivated to play tennis year-round and get the instruction year-round that you see from some of these other players.”
One of the county’s best shots at a title appeared to come from the Broadneck boys doubles team of Max Misner and Luke Garner. The pair, which won county and region titles, won the first set, 6-4, against Richard Montgomery’s Justin Song and Arno Babcock. Song and Babcock fought back to win the second set, 6-3, then used an early break in the third on their way to a 6-4 victory and the title.
“We hadn’t lost all season and didn’t face much adversity. We were feeling good coming into it,” Misner said. “I just got tight. Credit to Luke. Really good friend and better partner.”
The Broadneck pair kept in close in the third, including battling back on each of their serves, but just weren’t able to get the break they needed to extend the set.
“They just grinded,” Misner said of the opponent. “They’re two singles players playing doubles and we just hadn’t seen that all year. Can’t win them all.”
Song and Babcock actually just started playing doubles a few weeks ago, and the move paid off.
“We knew they were a really strong opponent, like no other opponents we had faced before,” Song said. “We struggled in the first set and weren’t hitting our shots as well. In the second set we were able to recover and our mental game was really tough.”
The county’s other second-place finishes came from Broadneck’s Finn Garner, who fell to Joseph Brailovsky of Wootton, 6-0, 7-6(9-8) for Brailovsky’s third straight title, Severna Park’s Abby Moghtader, who defeated two seeded players before falling to top seed Ayana Akli of Wheaton and the Severna Park mixed doubles team of Miriam Moghtader and Matthew Kilchenstein.
South River standout freshman Vanessa Mellynchuk, another undefeated county and region champ, fell to Akli in the semifinals and came back to defeat Marriotts Ridge’s Veronica Cuellar, 6-0, 6-0, for third. The Severna Park girls doubles team of Emma Brindley and Maddie Altman advanced to the semifinals with two three-set victories, including one over the tournament’s No. 4 seed, before falling in the semifinals to the tournament’s eventual champion. The pair dropped their third-place match, 7-6(7-4), 7-5.
“This was a great showing for Anne Arundel County. I think it shows the strength and depth in our county,” Severna Park coach Jessica Goodman said. “It was a great tournament. Things didn’t go our way in the finals, but I had no doubt that everyone was in their matches and competed.”