Panthers, Eagles crowd out competition for All-County honors All-Baltimore County tennis

June 13, 1993|By Tara Finnegan | Tara Finnegan,Contributing Writer

Pikesville coach Sol Schwartz returned to the successful program he graduated from in 1988 to continue the school's dominance in Baltimore County tennis. This year, his girls doubles team produced the only state title from the metro area.

Laddie Levy, who graduated from McDonogh School in 1963, took over its varsity tennis program in 1990. This year, he took a boys team mostly made up of freshman and sophomores and won the Maryland Scholastic Association A Conference Tournament for the second straight year.

For being true to their schools and keeping their teams true to form, Schwartz and Levy are The Baltimore Sun's Tennis Coaches of the Year for Baltimore County.

In the spring of 1985, Schwartz played his first high school matches on Pikesville's tennis courts. This year, the 23-year-old alumnus returned to those courts to coach the strongest girls tennis team in the county -- a team that did not drop a set during its nine matches.

"You start as a beginner, then you go into tournaments and maybe go professional, but it all comes back to what you can give back to the people from what you have learned," Schwartz (( said. "I guess if you consider it a cycle, then I've completed it with coaching."

Schwartz played four years at Pikesville and went on to play at Washington College and UMBC. He now teaches lessons and clinics in the Baltimore area, which is how he came across some members of his team, in particular, Kelley Margolis, the Girls Player of the Year.

Seniors Payton Goldman and Dori Feldman won the county and state doubles title for Pikesville and Margolis went 9-0 at No. 1 singles and won the county tournament. The freshman then went on to finish second in the state tournament.

"Everybody on the team was always supportive and there for me," Margolis said. "It was a like being on a team even though you play as an individual."

At McDonogh, county Boys Player of the Year Scott Ackerman went undefeated in the MSA during the season and went on to win the No 1 singles conference title. He was trailing, 4-2, in the third set to Calvert Hall's Christopher Jones before he rallied to win four straight games to clinch the final set, 6-4.

"I looked over at Laddie and my mom [during the match] and they were both laughing," said Ackerman, who finished 13-3 overall in his sophomore season. "They did it on purpose to make me smile. It made me have fun and helped me battle back."

Ackerman led the way for the McDonogh netters as they swept all the singles finals at the conference tournament. It was the third time in Levy's four-year coaching tenure that the Eagles won the title.

Before he became the head varsity tennis coach, Levy coached junior varsity lacrosse at McDonogh.

"It got to a point where I realized two things -- one, I didn't know much about lacrosse and two, I didn't get enough exercise," Levy said. "So I formed a JV tennis team which would allow me to play a lot."

This season Levy's youthful team went 11-0 in the MSA and finished 14-2 overall, losing only to D.C. schools Georgetown Prep and Landon. Levy has expanded the Eagles' schedule to include out-of-state schools such as Lawrenceville Prep (N.J.) and St. Andrew's (Del.) to offer his team more competition.

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