(May 27, 2022) The Worcester Prep boys’ and girls’ tennis teams hosted the Eastern Shore Independent Athletic Conference tournament last Tuesday in Berlin and both again earned the championship trophies.
“I thought overall we played very well. I thought the boys made great effort to play ‘point to point’ and not concede anything,” said Prep Coach Terry Underkoffler. “They hustled, kept points alive, and finished their chances.”
Prep freshman Aleksey Klimins swept his singles competition, winning his matches 8-2, 8-0 and 8-3.
“[Klimins] was in top form with his ground strokes and dominated his three rounds. He was a confident hitter, his forehand had pace and precision and he moved his opponent all around the court to set up points,” Underkoffler said. “When you have a solid No. 1 it makes it easier to build the team around him. He played some excellent older players this year and the experience will be something he can build on.”
The boys’ doubles finals featured all Worcester Prep players.
Senior captains Riley Schoch and Graham McCabe and juniors Ian Lewis and Jason Todorov both won their earlier matches 8-2 and 8-5, to meet in the championship round.
It was a tight battle, but Schoch and McCabe came out on top, 9-7.
“Scoring was back and forth. It was quite the battle, but Riley and Graham outlasted Ian and Jason,” Underkoffler said. Riley and Graham made more plays at the net. The senior captains went out with a trophy and great leadership to boot.”
Prep players who received all-conference accolades for reaching at least the semifinals in the ESIAC tournament were: Klimins, Schoch, McCabe, Todorov, Lewis, junior captain Harrison Humes, sophomore Dylan Simmons and freshman James Haley.
The girls’ doubles team of sophomores Lebby Becker and Natasha Richter won all of their matches to claim the title in their division.
Senior captain Sumira Sehgal finished runner-up in the singles competition.
“We knew that there were some other schools in the conference (like Gunston School) who were major contenders for the trophy this year, so that knowledge made us focus even more,” said Prep Coach Kevin Chalk. “We also had four all-conference players: Lebby Becker, Natasha Richter, [junior] Morgan Schoch and Sumira Sehgal. I am proud of the competitiveness that our team displayed on the courts throughout the tournament.”
Both Prep teams finished the season with 10-1 records.
The boys’ team will graduate Schoch and McCabe.
“I thought it was a great season,” Underkoffler said. “We have a very solid core returning for next season and a good foundation to build on.”
The girls’ team will graduate five players.
“Including our number No. 1 singles player and co-captain Sumira Sehgal, so a pretty significant dent in our team for sure,” Chalk said. “The other seniors who are departing are Anna Carpenter (co-captain), Grace Baeurle, Ava Nally and Sophia Haines. Their contribution to WPS tennis will be sorely missed.”
Chalk was pleased with the season overall.
“It was an awesome season. We faced plenty of adversity but we didn’t get complacent. There were a number of matches that were on a razor’s edge but we found a way to win,” he said. “Despite the loss of five seniors, I am excited for the future. We have some amazingly talented underclassmen who are waiting for their chance to lead.”
Chalk also enjoyed his first season as head coach of the girls’ squad.
“It was a pleasure getting to know the students from a coaching perspective instead of a teacher’s perspective,” he said. “Their sense of humor, positivity and perseverance sustained me throughout the season. I look forward to returning next year.”