Poly serves Southwestern lesson in tactics, technique

Engineers begin season with 18 wins in 2 matches

April 04, 2000|By Andrea Leand | Andrea Leand,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

After steamrolling to last year's city title in tennis, Poly's Engineers started a new winning streak this season by snagging all 18 victories in its first two matches.

Since romping over Edmonson, 9-0, in its season opener, Poly preserved its undefeated record by walloping host Southwestern, 9-0, yesterday. The Engineers overwhelmed their younger, less experienced opponents with better tactics and technique in surrendering just two games in the combined boys' and girls' competition.

"Our players practice all year long in other programs and so have a lot more experience than other teams like Southwestern," said Poly coach Preston Jackson. "This difference in commitment showed today. Participating in programs like Head's All-Star Tennis Academy at Druid Hill Park each summer helped our kids have the continuity to improve their games for this year."

Poly's veteran lineup of returning seniors and juniors outmatched Southwestern's underclassman, many of whom picked up the game a year ago. The absence of the Tigers' top girl, Lisette Lewis, also handicapped Southwestern's chances of challenging the defending champions.

No. 2 Erica Mantilla substituted at No. 1, but felt rusty since recovering from a tonsillectomy three weeks ago.

"I was just happy to be able to be back out here after having my tonsils out," said Mantilla after falling, 8-0, to Poly No. 1 Kim Harrison. "I was surprised that I was able to even play after not practicing for so long."

Southwestern's Dejuan Saunders waged the most contested battle against Poly No. 2 Carson Porter. Saunders swiped two games from the senior with a string of solid forehands. Porter outrallied his younger adversary, 8-2, with well-placed ground strokes and consistency.

"It is the most beautiful feeling in the world to me to come back from behind and score some games," said Saunders, also a karate champion.

Poly's No. 1 Michael Fowler downed Antonio Overton, 8-0; girls'No. 3 Katrina Paglia toppled Candice Owens, 8-0; girls doubles Rowena Jalova and Cassandra Ewing stopped Jenifer Meggison and Shanell Cooper, 8-0; and mixed doubles duo Jumajah Jackson and Nicholas West tripped Amber Smith and Danya Jackson, 8-0.

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