Glenelg's girls tennis team faces an enviable situation

Notebook

High School

April 17, 2002|By Kevin Van Valkenburg | Kevin Van Valkenburg,SUN STAFF

Glenelg tennis coach Mary Ellen Doyle has the kind of situation that any coach would love to struggle with.

On one hand, her girls team has more talent than anyone in the league. On the other hand, the team is sometimes just too talented for its own good.

Take recent events as an example: the Gladiators' No. 1 singles player, Marianne Baker, a state champ last year, is ranked No. 97 in the United States Tennis Association's 16-and-under age group. As a result, she often is invited to play in national tournaments, causing her to miss some of the Gladiators' matches.

"Fortunately we have some very good people we can sub in when she's gone, but it does make us juggle our lineup a bit," Doyle said.

Baker had to miss matches against River Hill and Centennial, and the Gladiators (6-2) got upset twice despite strong play from No. 2 singles player Julia Facchina and the doubles team of Becca Gaylor and Monica Marrie. Facchina is generally regarded as the second-best player in the county behind Baker, and Gaylor and Marrie were undefeated as doubles team last season.

"We're really good on the top, and I think our alternates are doing a great job when they get a chance," Doyle said. "It's really early to say if those losses will hurt us. It all depends on how a team is playing on any given day. Centennial and River Hill beat us, so we'll be out to get them the next time around."

On the boys side, things are a bit more clear as Hammond (7-1) - with Dan Merti and Mike Sandler solid in the singles spots - has emerged as the early favorite. The Golden Bears, county runner-up last season, dispatched last season's county champ River Hill, 4-1, and gave Oakland Mills its first loss, 3-2.

"We feel real good about our team this year," said Hammond coach John DiPaula. "River Hill is tough and Oakland Mills is really improved this year. The three of us should be battling right down to the end."

Softball

Two of Howard County's best softball teams will get a chance to measure their worth against two quality teams from Washington, D.C., at this Saturday's River Hill Softball Tournament. Host River Hill will take on St. John's at 10 a.m. on one field, while Atholton will face off against Holy Cross on the other. At 1 p.m., the Hawks will face Holy Cross and the Raiders will battle St. John's. If there is a tie in records, the team that has given up the fewest runs will be declared the champion.

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