(April 19, 2019) The Worcester Prep and Stephen Decatur tennis teams went head-to-head on Wednesday. The Worcester Prep Mallards won both the boys’ and girls’ competitions.
The Lady Mallards earned victories in all seven matches on their courts in Ocean Pines. Topping their first through third singles opponents, respectively, were juniors Abi Plylar (8-2) and Annika Larsen (8-1), and freshman Sumira Sehgal (8-0).
Sophomore Summer Walker trailed 1-4, then 6-7, but won the next three to come out on top, 9-7, at fourth singles.
Senior captain Maya Natesan shut out her fifth singles opponent, 8-0.
Juniors Mesa Cammack and Saylar McGuiness outscored their first doubles opponents, 8-2.
Juniors Kennedy Humes and Korina Gjikuria won 8-1 at second doubles.
“Our doubles were particularly good today,” Prep Coach Cyndee Hudson said.
She was very pleased with all the Mallards’ performances, especially Sehgal’s.
“She kept the ball in play consistently,” Hudson said. “For a ninth grader, she’s really coming along. She’s learning how to win without overhitting.”
Hudson said her players enjoy competing against Decatur each year.
“It’s very steady competition,” she said. “We always know it’s going to be a great match, and fun.”
Hudson said the Mallards continue to progress and show improvement.
“I thought we were out-matched in most of the matches, but I thought we were competitive,” Decatur Coach Jamie Greenwood said. “Playing on a different, unfamiliar surface definitely affected our play.
“Six of seven matches were played on clay,” he continued. “When the ball hits the line it has a tendency to go in unpredictable directions.”
Worcester’s boys’ team won 6-1 on Decatur’s courts in Berlin.
Senior captains Dominic Anthony and Will Todd took their first and second singles matches, 8-5 and 8-2, respectively.
Senior captain Graham Hammond trailed 1-2, but won the next seven to prevail, 8-2 at third singles.
Sophomore Ryan Brafman battled in his fourth singles match with Decatur sophomore Micah Bourne. Scoring went back and forth and the match went into a tiebreaker set, which Brafman won, 7-2.
Sophomore Ben Brandt outscored his fifth singles opponent, 8-3. Prep Coach Terry Underkoffler was impressed with Brandt’s strong forehand play.
Senior captain Colin Miller and Anthony topped their first doubles competition, 8-4.
“It was pretty competitive [despite] the 6-1 score. It was a battle for many of the individual matches,” Underkoffler said. “I was pleased with their effort. Every time, it seems like we’re getting better. We have some things to work on, but we’re making strides. Overall, I think we’re growing.”
For Decatur, seniors Aaron Campbell and Omar Omar outscored their second doubles competitors, 8-6.
“We did OK. They were really good,” Decatur Coach Steve Berquist said. “We are young and they had a lot of upperclassmen. It was a fun match and we look forward to playing them again.”
Worcester’s next match is Wednesday against the Salisbury School Dragons at 6 p.m. in Salisbury.
The Decatur and Prep teams will play each other again on Monday, April 29 at 4 p.m. The boys’ squads will compete in Ocean Pines and the girls’ teams will play on Decatur’s courts in Berlin.