Bel Air looks to build on win

Undefeated Bobcats tennis team gathers a bolt of confidence from halting C. Milton Wright's six-year, 84-match winning streak

Notebook

April 26, 2006|By JEFF SEIDEL | JEFF SEIDEL,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Bel Air tennis coach Mike Daniel knew that C. Milton Wright had a long winning streak going. He just didn't know how long.

But when his Bobcats ended the Mustangs' six-year, 84-match winning streak with a 6-5 victory two weeks ago, Daniel was more concerned about how it would benefit his team in the long run.

"It gives them an extra bit of confidence," Daniel said. "It makes them play more as a team and less as individuals."

Bel Air is now 10-0 overall and 7-0 in the Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference. The Bobcats are in first place in their division and were scheduled to meet the Mustangs again yesterday.

Senior John Muth and sophomore Chad Elkins have given the Bobcats strong efforts at Nos. 1 and 2 singles. Muth was 8-2 playing at the top spot, and Elkins stood 10-0 overall (9-0 at No. 2). Kyle Polasko has helped by playing nine matches at No. 1 doubles with two different partners and winning a match at No. 2 singles.

For the girls, junior Alanna Casey, who plays No. 1 singles, has been working her way back into form after an early-season illness. Senior Jen Manzone (5-3) has played consistent tennis throughout the season.

The Mustangs, whose last loss before the streak started was to Bel Air, started well this season despite having to replace a number of talented seniors who graduated. C. Milton Wright won a few matches after the streak ended and improved to 7-1 overall through the end of last week and 6-1 in the UCBAC, one game behind the Bobcats.

Mustangs coach Peter Griffiths said had been worried about the match against Bel Air because he knew how tough the Bobcats would be this season.

"It was just a great tennis match," Griffiths said. "It was more the emotion of the match than it was the emotion of the streak."

The Bobcats won the first three matches that day before the Mustangs captured the next five. But Bel Air bounced back to win the final three to take the overall victory. The match was so close that there were five tiebreakers, with the Bobcats winning three of them.

Seniors Jessica Ahn and Brad Hanley are both 8-0 at No. 1 singles for the Mustangs. Ahn was the All-Metro Player of the Year last spring and hasn't missed a beat this season, and Griffiths said that Hanley worked hard in the offseason to improve his game.

Also for the girls, freshman Katie Fritch is 8-0 at No. 2 singles. Senior Kristie Trinchere plays at No. 3 and has a 7-0 mark.

Scott steps up

North Harford's Corey Donohoe and Emily Gibson get most of the attention on the No. 12 Hawks girls lacrosse team, but junior goalie Lauren Scott also is playing a big role.

Donohoe and Gibson combined for seven goals and four assists and Scott finished with eight tough saves in last week's 13-8 victory over Fallston in a key UCBAC game.

Scott made seven stops in the first half, as North Harford jumped to a 7-4 halftime lead. She made saves on some good Fallston shots, as the Cougars applied pressure in the first part of the game.

More efforts like that from Scott would bode well for the Hawks as they try to make an impact in the playoffs.

The Hawks already have beaten longtime Harford County power C. Milton Wright this season, and the two teams were scheduled to meet again last night.

On the road again

The John Carroll boys basketball team will be hitting the road more often next season, as coach Tony Martin tries to push the Patriots to another level.

The Patriots will be heading to the Benedictine Capital City Classic, set for Dec. 27-30 in Richmond, Va., and also will be traveling to the Chick-Fil-A Classic in Columbia, S.C. No dates have been announced for that one yet.

Martin hopes that going to tournaments such as these will help the Patriots continue to grow. John Carroll, which will host the inaugural Intensity Basketball Classic on Dec. 1-2, was winless two years ago but improved to 15-22 in Martin's first season as coach in 2005-06.

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