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What's all the racquet about tennis for?

Posted May 28, 2017

The starting lineup for the undefeated girls tennis team has plenty of talent. It’s no surprise they were the team to beat in the county.

By Brayden Leather

If you say the word ‘loss’ to a member of the tennis team they probably will look at you with a confused look on their face. The word simply is not part of their vocabulary.

If by any chance it is in their vocabulary, it is used so rarely making them practically forget the word even exists. The girls team just completed the first undefeated regular season in school history. The boys team had a strong season as well finishing at 11-4.

“Loss is something I use as motivation for the next season or next game,” Shea Przywieczerski said. Her doubles partner Grace Murdoch noted the sense of disappointment you feel when you lose especially after putting in hard work on a daily basis.

The team obviously knows what loss means even though they were more familiar with the term ‘win’ this season. But that is a good thing.

One of the rare losses the tennis team had this year came on their home court during the county tournament. Rival North Hagerstown swept the team county titles.

It left the team with a sour aftertaste knowing the rival school stole the title on their court. They’re most definitely eager to prevent that from happening again next year.

Despite falling short of a team county title the Rebels did have a few entries to the regional tournament. Doubles pairs Brandon Keener and Dylan Baer finished as boys runner-up while Emma Lorenzen and Sarah Cartwright were crowned county champions to punch their ticket to regionals. Mark Moler and Mike Moler were the lone representatives from the Rebels singles.

All entries finished no higher than fourth in the region. A strong showing but not quite good enough to extend their historical season to the state level.

Undefeated - Enough said

Not many teams get to celebrate a win after nearly every match. Many dream of going undefeated one year. A team may be lucky to go undefeated for a week in the season.

Something clicked for the girls team this year leading them to enjoy the first undefeated tennis season in school history behind a lineup of more than enough athletic talent. Many said a strong team bond played a big role in their success this season.

“I feel like we are a lot closer this year than we were last year,” Emma Lorenzen said about the team bonding.

Sarah Cartwright knew the girls team was going to be one of the top competitors in the county this season but she did not expect to go undefeated. “It showed all the hard work we put in this season,” she said.’’

Many of the players believed the girls team can be just as good if not better next season with the returning talent. A conference title will be included in the preseason goals for next year along with another shot at a county title and eventually a trip to states.

The lifelong teammate… or rival?

When you play a sport that requires you to learn your partner's strengths and weaknesses, sometimes it can be tough.

In baseball, a catcher must know what pitch to call for in certain situations based on how well his pitcher can command that pitch and get the batter out.

Tennis is similar. A doubles pair must know who plays closer to the net and who doesn’t among other things.

Having a sibling as that partner can make it more stressful but in most cases it is a huge boost of confidence because you know your sibling like the back of your hand.

Sarah Touhey and her sister Anna Touhey were a doubles pair to begin the season. Each time they won the phrase “Touhey Takedown” was used around the court.

“I had a lot of fun this season,” Sarah Touhey said. “I started out (paired) with my sister Anna which is something I will cherish forever.”

The lineup eventually changed and Sarah became partners with Ally Frushour.

The Touhey sisters are a great example of how siblings together can create a headache for opponents but what happens if they become opponents and have to face each other?

Twin brothers Mark Moler and Mike Moler might have a bit of a rivalry. Mark edged Mike to win the boys single county championship.

“It was crazy. Mike had me down in the first set and I had him really down in the second. Third set, I knew I had put everything into it,” he told The Herald-Mail in an interview after clinching a regionals berth.

That would not be the final time Mike and Mark would face each other before the end of the season. The regional bracket lead them to play each other again for a shot at states. This time Mike won the match ending Mark’s season.

Both Mark and Mike are sophomores so the two facing each other with a lot on the line is bound to happen again over the next two years of their high school tennis careers.

That probably made for an awkward dinner at the Moler house.

The third time's the charm

Doubles pair Brandon Keener and Dylan Baer have played together for almost their entire high school tennis career.

The juniors made it to the regional tournament last year and improved over the offseason making it possible for them to earn another trip to regionals this year.

They finished after falling in the quarterfinals.

“Brandon and I had a good county season. We started off pretty well going undefeated before we lost a couple near the end… In counties we had a really hard fought match to send us to the county finals and we finished as the runner up,” Dylan said.

The two did not make it to the regional tournament thier freshman year but back-to-back trips to regionals has their sights set on a third trip next year and continuing to states.

“Next year we’re going all the way,” Brandon Keener says with a laugh.

With South High set to join the Central Maryland Conference (CMC), which is made up of mostly Frederick County schools only faced in regionals, over the summer, players like Brandon Keener and Dylan Baer will have the opportunity to learn their potential opponents during the regular season which may give them a better shot at making their dream a reality.

The strong possibility of bringing a tennis state championship home is only part of what the racket surrounding the sport is all about. The rest is the bright future on the horizon for the team and the talent of the players that make it all happen.

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