Pair catches tennis title with net

Coach's sharp eye helps Thayer, Wallace deliver Westminster first crown

Notebook

June 05, 2005|By Jeff Seidel and Rich Scherr | Jeff Seidel and Rich Scherr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Westminster co-coach Fran McCullin noticed something at last year's state tennis tournament that helped the Owls' doubles team of Alissa Thayer and Melissa Wallace come up big in this year's competition.

McCullin talked with Thayer and Wallace before last weekend's tournament at Maryland about the fact that not many of the girls doubles players seemed to come to the net.

The seniors decided to play more of an attacking style, a move that paid off with the school's first state tennis championship.

Thayer and Wallace defeated three of the top four seeded pairs and won the state title by pulling out a 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory over Erica Hocking and Melissa Loeper of La Plata.

The Westminster pair was unseeded coming into the tournament after finishing second in the Carroll County and region tournaments.

"You make the opponent feel the pressure when you put two people at the net that can volley," McCullin said.

"You take the middle 80 percent of the court away, and then you're really asking somebody under pressure to hit great shots usually over the long term of the match. [Then] you're going to win more than you're going to lose."

Thayer and Wallace bounced back from tough losses to Stephanie Scurci and Sarah Weisse of South Carroll in the county and region finals to sweep through the state tournament and finish with a 22-3 record.

McCullin said he was proud of the resilience Thayer and Wallace showed.

"They came off a regional situation where they get thumped in the finals and play the No. 4 seed in the first round, and it would have been really easy for them to mail in that first match," McCullin said.

"But they ignored the seeding of the teams they were playing, and they just played the match."

Thayer and Wallace became the first county players to make the state final since North Carroll's Brooke Foster and Heather Easter in 1999.

Golf tournament?

A Carroll County golf tournament is tentatively being planned for this fall. If it happens, it would be a first.

County coaches have been discussing having a tournament for the past few seasons and have tentatively agreed on scheduling one Oct. 8 at Bear Creek Golf Club, according to some of the local coaches.

The date is not official, as the event has yet to be given the green light by the county, but it will soon be submitted for the administration's approval.

All-conference honors

A number of Carroll athletes have been named first-team all-conference by coaches in the Monocacy Valley Athletic League.

In baseball, South Carroll and Century placed a county-best four players each on the Piedmont Conference first team.

The Cavaliers, who split the county title with Westminster, put Josh Ricker, Steven Fye, Weston Szymanski and Dan Gerjets on the team, and the Knights, who captured the Piedmont Conference championship, placed Andrew Bourne, Matt Meadows, Aaron Gabrielian and Jimmy Mudgett.

Westminster, which advanced to the Class 4A state semifinals, put Brett Harman and Jacob Kuperstock on the Chesapeake Conference first team.

Carroll's two top teams in girls lacrosse received similar respect.

County champion Century, which advanced to the Class 2A-1A state final, had Megan McGuire, Jenny Steadman, Alicia Burkhart, Rachel Hawes and Brittney Zerhusen on the MVAL Central list, with the county runner-up Falcons also placing four on the team: Amber Falcone, Kristy Bosley, Lindsay Love and Katie Hertsch.

In boys lacrosse, county champion Westminster, which took a 15-0 record into the state tournament, was also rewarded. Ryan Finch, Adam VanLeeuwen, Brandon Johnson, Cris Collins, Steve Mersinger and Pat Smith were named first team All-MVAL East.

Liberty, which made a run to the Class 2A-1A state final before falling to Parkside, put Matt Latham, the county's scoring leader with 87 goals, Dustin Walters and Kevin Hinton on the MVAL Central team, and Francis Scott Key placed Jeff Ziegler, Zack Devilbiss, Cameron White, Brad Whitcomb and Nate Eyler.

And in softball, four players each from county co-champs Westminster and Francis Scott Key received first-team honors.

The Owls, who advanced to the Class 4A state semifinals, placed Stacy Davis, Stephanie Gerber, Casie Mand and Kristina Skinner on the Chesapeake Conference team, while the Eagles put Megan Johnson, Katie Philpott, Stacey Malarkey and Joanna Gilford on the Piedmont Conference squad.

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