South River’s Vanessa Mellynchuk and Alison Bach made the most of their final days in a Seahawks uniform.
On Saturday at the Wilde Lake Tennis Club in Columbia, the duo made history by becoming the first girls tennis players from South River to bring home a state championship courtesy of a 6-0, 6-1 victory over Abigail Chen and Isabella Kaplan of Walt Whitman.
Both being accomplished singles players — Mellynchuk never losing a county match in her career — there was the potential for individual success in the postseason should either of them decided to go that route. In the end, though, the two decided they wanted to chase a title together.
“We’ve known each other for a long time. We did the junior tournaments growing up and, with it being our last year, we just wanted a chance to play with one another during high school and see if we could go out on top,” Mellynchuk said.
On the way to the championship matchup, they won four straight matches without losing a single game. And, even though that perfect streak ended in the final, the two were in control throughout.
“They were definitely our toughest match today, so we had to step it up in terms of strategy,” Mellynchuk said. “We always do signals and have game plans going in, and this one we really had to execute those.”
Both Mellynchuk and Bach have played doubles in the past, just never together in a tournament setting the last few years. Bach said she thinks the last time was when they were both 15.
Yet, as soon as they lined up alongside one another this postseason, the partnership succeeded immediately.
Latest High School sports
“It really wasn’t that hard of a transition. The chemistry came right away,” Bach said. “That’s how it works in tennis I think, sometimes you are just naturally in sync with someone. In our case, we just have always worked together really well.”