Source: Grosse Pointe News Online

South clutch in state title run

by Bob St. John

June 05, 2014

Grosse Pointe South girls’ tennis team captured its third Division 1 state championship since 2008 and 14th overall last weekend at Midland Tennis Center.

The Blue Devils won 11 straight titles from 1976 to 1986, and three more in 2008, 2012 and 2014.

Head coach Mark Sobieralski and his Blue Devils won with 28 points with runner-up Clarkston a distant second with 22. Bloomfield Hills was third with 19 points and Northville also had 19.

“Our kids were so clutch the entire two days,” Sobieralski said. “I thought it woud be so close, but the girls just took it right at the opposition.

“This was the most balanced state finals tournament in years and it was nice to see all of our girls add something positive to our point total. It was a total team effort and I’m proud of them for earning this state championship.”

Leading the way for the champs were two flight champions.

Maddie Paolucci won the No. 4 singles title with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Midland Dow’s Elaina Parrillo. She played Clarkston’s Paige Olsen and lost the first set 6-1 before winning 6-2, 7-6 in the semifinals.

In her other two matches, Paolucci beat Hudsonville’s Erin Labarge 6-3, 4-6, 6-0, and West Bloomfield’s Pooja Natarajan 6-1, 6-1.

The No. 4 doubles team of Ginny Hayden and Kelly Beardslee also won the title, defeating Northville’s Libby Quinn and Chloe Page 6-2, 6-4 in the title match.

In the semifinals, the duo beat Troy’s Katie Forche and Erica Friesen 6-3, 6-3, and they won 6-4, 6-1 over Traverse City Central’s Caroline Gardner and Aleksa Szunko in the quarterfinals.

Hayden and Beardslee also beat Hudsonville’s Katlyn Tannis and Harley Swanston 6-4, 6-1 in their first match.

South also had two other flight finalists. The No. 2 doubles team Sydney Keller and Morgane Flournoy lost 6-2, 6-2 to MAC Red Division rival Port Huron Northern duo of Amy Tseng and Maggie Bacheller in the championship match.

They had a tough semifinal match, beating Ann Arbor Pioneer’s Sajani Desai and Emma St. Pierre 3-6, 7-6, 6-3. They also went to three sets to dispose of Clarkston’s Caitlin McCaghy and Mackenzie Sowers 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 in the quarterfinals.

They had a routine 6-0, 6-2 win over Rockford’s Paula Downs and Maddie VanEck in their first match of the tournament.

The No. 3 doubles team of Angelica Kalogeridis and Jennifer Moy made the semifinals after beating West Bloomfield’s Hannah Shink and Sahana Shankar 6-1, 6-0 in the quarterfinals. They lost 6-4, 5-7, 6-2 to Troy’s Julianne Fava and Leena Penumalee in the semifinals.

They also beat Port Huron Northern’s Margaret Smith and Sophia Ahmed 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 in their first match.

The Blue Devils’ No. 1 doubles squad of Samantha Perry and Maggie Sweeney won their first match 6-0, 6-0 over Dow’s Claire Butcher and Nicole Dobrzelewski, but lost 6-3, 6-4 to Clarkston’s Alex Whall and Katie Hubregsen in their next match.

Brooke Willard was also a finalist at No. 3 singles. She beat Ann Arbor Huron’s Laura Hanselman 6-1, 6-1 in her first match, and Traverse City Central’s Christi Druskovich 6-3, 6-1 in the quarterfinals.

In the semifinals, Willard upset the No. 1 seed from Dow, Afua Ofori-Darko, 4-6, 6-2, 6-2, to make the finals where she lost 6-2, 6-1 to Clarkston’s Dana Olsen.

Madie Flournoy, playing No. 2 singles, had a bye before beating Utica Eisenhower’s Taylor McLaughlin 6-4, 1-6, 6-4. Her run ended in the next round, 6-1, 6-0 to Dow’s Caroline Szabo, the No. 1 seed.

Raven Neely, at No. 1 singles, won her first match 6-1, 6-1 over Hudsonville’s Amanda Moore and her second match 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 over West Bloomfield’s Christina Jordan. Her tournament ended with a 7-5, 6-2 loss to eventual champ Davina Nguyen of Utica in the semifinals.

Grosse Pointe South finished its season perfect during the regular season and continued it through the regionals and state finals.

The Blue Devils graduate Willard, Perry and Keller.

“We should be very competitive next spring since most of our girls are coming back,” Sobieralski said. “We will miss our three seniors.”