S. Carroll doubles pleasure at county championships

Cavs take 3 doubles finals, earn 5 of 6 regional berths

High Schools

May 12, 2002|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

The play of South Carroll's tennis team yesterday had the rest of Carroll County seeing double.

The Cavaliers captured titles in all three doubles matches, snagging five of the six regional bids at stake at yesterday's county championship meet at Liberty.

In a meet in which both Doug Ferguson of Liberty and Maria Covell of North Carroll cruised to their third straight individual titles, it was the teams of Ben Hamlington and Aaron Taylor (boys doubles), Erika Hunsinger and Lauren Blair (girls) and Kelly Atwood and Drew Reber (mixed) that helped steal the show for South Carroll.

"As a whole, guys and girls, we've never been this successful," said Cavaliers coach Jim Carnes, in his 24th season. "I thought coming in we had the two best girls doubles teams ... and our boys doubles have played at the top of our lineup for three years."

No team scores were kept.

For Hamlington and Taylor, winning counties is just the first step in a larger mission.

Normally singles players, with a combined 29-3 record this season, the seniors joined forces for the second straight spring in hopes of advancing well into the state tournament. A year ago, they lost to teammates in the semifinals, but qualified for the regionals (as one of the top two county teams) when South Carroll's top doubles duo had to pull out.

They went on to win a regional title before advancing to the second round at the state meet.

Adjusting to the doubles game, however, admittedly remains a challenge.

"In singles, it's a lot more ground strokes, which we both do well with," Hamlington said. "You really have to get to the net and be aggressive in doubles, so it's a change for us."

"It's a completely different game," Carnes said. "It takes a lot of work to adjust and be up on the net on every point. I think they'll get better the more matches they play in the tournament."

They won 24 of 28 games yesterday, including a 6-4, 6-0 win over Liberty's Scott Hasenei and Viral Vakil in the final.

In the other two doubles brackets, the Cavaliers monopolized the field, placing teams head-to-head in the final.

Hunsinger and Blair struggled in the second set before rebounding to beat Sara Smith and Amy Conner, 6-3, 1-6, 6-4, and Atwood and Reber captured mixed doubles by besting Coleen Fineley and Matt Reber, Drew's brother, 6-1, 6-4.

"I think [our success] is because we all started out together and we've worked together through the past four," Hunsinger said. "We're all close in age."

In singles, Ferguson, a senior, topped North Carroll's David Watson, 6-0, 6-0, to improve to 21-0 and earn his third straight title. North Carroll's Covell (15-3), whose losses this year all have been out of county, beat South Carroll's Jen Morgeson, 6-2, 6-4, to give her titles in each of her first three years.

She is hoping to advance to state tournament and fare better than a year ago, when she got bumped in the third round.

"There's definitely a lot of pressure to do better than you did the year before, so you always have that in front of you," Covell said.

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