3-time champs: Hellier, Porter

Arundel nips Severna Park for county team title, 35-33, with strong doubles effort

May 14, 1999|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

Broadneck senior Jennifer Hellier relied on her experience. For Severna Park junior Andrew Porter, redemption played a role.

Hellier and Porter both captured their third straight county singles titles at the Anne Arundel County Tennis Championships at Chesapeake High yesterday.

Arundel captured the team title behind its strong doubles play. The Wildcats edged runner-up Severna Park, 35-33, with Broadneck taking third with 21 points.

Arundel's top two boys doubles pairs reached the final, with Aaron Gough and Brad Hurst needing to go into a third-set tie-breaker to get past teammates Jordan Hoyt and Dave Filo, 8-7, in the decider.

In girls singles, Hellier, a two-time Player of the Year in the county, defeated Severna Park freshman Susan Johnson, 6-3, 6-1, in the final.

Porter, also a Player of the Year, avenged his only loss of the season with a 7-5, 6-2 win over Annapolis' Troy Demers.

On an afternoon mostly spent on the baseline, Porter wasn't going to be denied, coming away with the tight first set before rolling in the second with dominating ground strokes.

"I was flat the first time but wasn't going to allow myself to lose this time. I was a lot more pumped up, because it meant a lot more," said Porter, who dropped a three-set match against Demers in the regular season. "This is my third straight, and it's supposed to get easier, but this was the toughest one. My ground strokes felt real good."

In the girls final, Hellier took control in the middle of the first set after losing the first two games. Then, leading 4-3 in games, Hellier rallied on Johnson's serve from a 15-40 deficit, earning the break with a winner in the right corner. She closed out the first set with two aces.

After each player broke the other's serve in the second set's first two games, Hellier won the last five games to capture the crown.

"After getting down 2-0 with the wind bad, I knew I couldn't go for too many winners. I just tried to move her up and back and side to side," said Hellier. "I just wanted to mix up the pace and hit flat balls. My experience helped with the pressure points."

Johnson, who didn't lose without a battle and being a ninth-grader will certainly return, agreed.

"We both wanted it a lot," she said. "She played more consistent and with more confidence. That comes with experience. I enjoyed the whole time I was out there, and to play against Jen will only make me stronger."

Hellier will focus her attention now on winning a state title after finishing second last season.

"This feels good, and I'm just trying to work my way up," she said. "I'm not playing as well as I can right now, but I'm practicing hard to get ready."

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