Arundel earns early respect TENNIS PREVIEW

March 31, 1995|By Doug Brown | Doug Brown,Sun Staff Writer

It appears to be unanimous: Arundel is the cream of county tennis this spring.

Even Margie Nicholson, who last year coached Severna Park to an 11-0 record and its seventh county championship in 10 years, considers Arundel the team to beat. Nicholson, who is expecting her third child, turned over the reins to her assistant of eight years, Bob Naworal.

Nicholson established a winning tradition at Severna Park. The Falcons were 122-7 under her and over one stretch of four years won 69 straight dual matches.

Even if Arundel weren't loaded, Severna Park would be hard-pressed to repeat. The Falcons' No. 1 boys player, David Hatef, decided to try lacrosse, and their No. 1 girls player, Bronwyn Fulton, decided not to play high school tennis this year.

"With David and Bronwyn, Severna Park would have been more competitive against Arundel," Nicholson said. "Still, I'll be surprised if Severna Park loses to anybody else. Broadneck, maybe."

Naworal thinks he has a "pretty solid team" that won't be crippled by the absence of Hatef and Fulton. He ticked off the names: Steve Strzelczyk, David Leddy, Rob Anderson, Steve Boyle, Mary Alex Dundics and Nancy Turnblacer.

Arundel lost only one match last season, but it was to Severna Park and decided the county championship. Coach Gerry Quickel's main returnee is junior Andrew Carlson, who was 20-1 last spring and finished third in the state tournament to merit a salute as The Baltimore Sun Anne Arundel County Boys Player of the Year.

Other Arundel top boys include No. 2 Greg McGuffin, No. 3

Florian Jung, an exchange student from Germany, and No. 4 David Flage. The girls are No. 1 Lindsay Carlson, a sophomore who's Andrew's sister, and No. 2 Neely Harris. Another German exchange student, Stephanie Kuhne, will be No. 6 or 7.

"Our top four boys will be tough to beat, and we actually go eight or nine deep," Quickel said. "Our girls aren't quite as strong, but we still have a chance to win the county title."

A chance? Opposing coaches might snort at that. Naworal recalls that Severna Park "just managed to pull it out" against Arundel last year in the county championship match, and now the Wildcats not only have their aces returning but have added the German exchange students.

"They're solid from No. 1 on down the line," Naworal said. "Arundel is the team to beat."

Said Chesapeake coach Ginny Barnicoat: "Arundel, definitely. They're loaded."

And from Annapolis' Rick King: "Arundel is way out in front."

A highlight of the spring will be Andrew Carlson's rivalry with Chesapeake senior Jay Kimmel. A state title contender, Kimmel skipped his junior season to concentrate on tournaments because there was so little competition at the school level. As a sophomore, he won the county and regional titles.

"Andrew played Jay last summer and beat him fairly easily," Quickel said. "So he feels good going into the match this spring." Barnicoat noted that Kimmel has improved dramatically and that their confrontation will be "an excellent match." It's her recollection that Kimmel leads in the rivalry with Carlson and "has beaten him three or four times" in high school matches.

"Jay could win the states," Barnicoat said. "It's a neat goal. Of course, he has to get by Andrew first."

Barnicoat, who also has Suzanne Stumpp and Shane Hatmaker, figures Chesapeake is in the group with Broadneck, Old Mill, Annapolis and South River competing for the third and fourth spots behind Arundel and Severna Park.

Annapolis' star is Meghan Cornwall, who last year as a sophomore was 23-0 and won the state title, earning The Baltimore Sun's Anne Arundel County Girls Player of the Year honor. She already has played some of the top girls in the state -- at Calvert and LaPlata, for instance -- and beaten them.

"It's tough to repeat, but Meghan is determined," King said. "A big part of her game is crosscourt, baseline -- wait for her opponent to step the wrong way, then rip it down the line. Actually, she's playing better than last year."

Even with Cornwall, King has no grand visions of his team winning the county title.

"We'll be in the middle of the pack," King said. "As a team, we can't score enough points to win dual matches. Of the nine individual matches, I can't see us winning more than four."

At South River, new coach Doug Neagle will rely heavily on senior Priya Vajani at girls No. 1. From Ron Price, the coach of 16 years, Neagle also inherits Matt Hanna, Howie Edelstein and Erin Sears, all of whom advanced to the states last spring.

"South River will be competitive," Price said.

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