1998 All-Carroll County tennis team

June 05, 1998|By Jeff Seidel

Boys Player of the Year

Craig Gordon, North Carroll, senior: Gordon won his first county title this year with a season of strong and consistent play. The No. 2 singles player last season, he moved up to No. 1 this year and sparkled in big matches. North Carroll coach John Lynam said Gordon displayed the solid strokes he has always had but "played a much more mental game than last year." Gordon was 14-6 while mixing his power and finesse games to befuddle opponents. Lynam said Gordon simply moved his game to another level, earning himself the county championship. Gordon had lost to Andy Mangle of Liberty during the season but came back in the county tournament to beat him in the championship match.

Girls Player of the Year

Shen Poehlman, Liberty, senior: Another year, another championship for Poehlman. She captured her third straight county title with an impressive performance, beating Charis Fulton of North Carroll, 7-5, 6-0, in the title match. Fulton had surprised Poehlman a week earlier with a 6-1, 6-2 rout, but the Liberty senior came back to beat the North Carroll junior with a solid performance. Poehlman, who finished with a 12-5 record, is believed to be the first winner of three straight county titles. Little about her game was fancy. She was a baseline player who put the ball in play and waited for opponents to make mistakes, which they usually did and she pounced on them. Poehlman is headed for Florida State next year to study marine biology.

Co-Coaches of the Year

Pam Boan and Jim Carnes, South Carroll: Carnes has been guiding the Cavaliers for 20 years, and this was Boan's first season. The boys squad rebounded from a down period to take the county title and finish at 11-2. Both coaches worked with both teams, especially helping the boys in their championship run this season after they had struggled in recent years. The girls struggled -- 1-12 -- but were putting in place the foundation for a stronger program in the coming years. Boan will help there; she spent three years as the tennis coach at Kutztown (Pa.) University and played at Washington College. Carnes is one of the county's most respected tennis coaches -- in addition to boys basketball -- and has kept the program competitive for years.

The team

Zakk Ballard, South Carroll, senior: He played at No. 1 singles and was one of the better players in the county. In fact, he beat county finalist Mangle twice in regular-season matches, but a decision Ballard made late in the season paid off in a big way. He teamed with South Carroll's No. 2 singles player, Derek Favreau, to become the county's best doubles team. Ballard and Favreau hooked up before the county tournament and breezed to the championship with little trouble, rolling over Justin Zukowski and Russell Iseminger of North Carroll in straight sets in the title match. Ballard and Favreau were two of the reasons that South Carroll was able to take the boys team title this year, and they did even better as a doubles duo.

Derek Favreau, South Carroll, senior: Favreau had a great season in singles. While playing at No. 2 for the Cavaliers, he had little trouble and won 12 of his 13 matches. But when he combined with Ballard to play doubles in the county tournament, Favreau did even better. Favreau and Ballard rolled to the county title with little trouble, winning 35 of their first 45 games there and easily taking the championship. Favreau likes to come to the net and can help control the match there. He complemented the style of Ballard very well, and the two had hoped to play doubles together at some point this season, but Carnes needed them at singles during the regular season. But the late-season change pleased everyone.

Heather Easter, North Carroll, sophomore: more: She combined with Brooke Foster to win the county girls doubles title for the second straight year. This duo was again untouchable in the county and the area, winning their first 19 matches before losing in the region tournament. This was the second straight year that Easter and Foster finished third in the region after winning the county title. They finished with a 19-1 record. Easter is a strong net player who can dominate play because of Easter's baseline strength. Easter and Foster combined to play No. 1 doubles all year for the second straight year and should be even better next year. The question, if they again play together, is if they could win three county titles in a row and go farther in the region and states.

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