North Dorch­ester’s Allen sis­ters earn state dou­bles berth

Eas­ton reaches three fi­nals, wins team crown

Dorchester Star - - Sports - By WIL­LIAM HAUFE bhaufe@stardem.com

CAM­BRIDGE — The fourth­seeded tan­dem of twin sis­ters, Kathryn and Kar­lie Allen of North Dorch­ester, earned a state dou­bles berth by reach­ing the fi­nals of the District VIII cham­pi­onships at Glas­gow Courts Fri­day, May 20.

The Al­lens fell 7-5, 6-1 in the fi­nal to sec­ond-seeded team of Ella Joshi and Carly Palmer, giv­ing Eas­ton its fourth-straight girls’ dou­bles ti­tle in dis­tricts.

They are both stronger than a year ago, and their off­sea­son play has put them ahead of their Bay­side Con­fer­ence com­pe­ti­tion.

But Kent Is­land High’s Ca­t­rina Coyner and Kent County’s Ryan Sant­myer are hop­ing their con­sis­tency is what helps them make a deep run at next week­end’s an­nual state ten­nis cham­pi­onships at the Ol­ney Manor Park Ten­nis Courts.

The two un­beaten sopho­mores con­tin­ued their dom­i­nat­ing play Fri­day dur­ing the District VIII cham­pi­onships at Glas­gow Courts. Top-seeded Coyner dropped just one game in four matches over the two-day tour­na­ment, that com­ing in the girls’ sin­gles fi­nal, where she de­feated Eas­ton’s Ina Lucero, 6-1, 6-0 for her sec­ond straight district ti­tle. Sant­myer was also seeded No. 1, and al­most as im­pres­sive, los­ing only two games in three matches, the last a 6-0, 6-1 vic­tory over Park­side’s un­beaten Con­ner Hout­man in the boys’ sin­gles cham­pi­onship.

“Even though I didn’t show it in my last match, I’m much more con­sis­tent than I was last year,” said Coyner, who im­proved to 16-0, and ex­tended Kent Is­land’s girls’ sin­gles ti­tle string to five — Kristi Wong win­ning the first three from 2012-14. “I’m much more solid on ev­ery­thing all around; so my serves, my ground­strokes, my vol­leys, my slices. And my strat­egy has def­i­nitely got­ten much bet­ter.”

Seeded third, Lucero ad­vanced when she earned a 6-2, 6-2 semi­fi­nal win over James M. Ben­nett’s Hyunji Lee, who lost to Coyner in last year’s fi­nal. A com­bi­na­tion of Lucero’s un­forced er­rors and Coyner’s nicely placed win­ners gave the top seed con­trol early in a con­vinc­ing fi­nals vic­tory.

“I feel very con­fi­dent; bet­ter than last year,” said Coyner, who earned District VIII’s lone sin­gles vic­tory at last year’s state tour­na­ment. “I think that as long as I’m con­sis­tent, and I play the best that I can, I think I’ll do well.”

Sant­myer has sim­i­lar feel­ings.

“Last year I think one of the ma­jor prob­lems in my game was con­sis­tency,” said Sant­myer, who lost to James M. Ben­nett’s Matt Ryan in last sea­son’s boys’ sin­gles fi­nal. “I had the power but not any con­sis­tency. And then this year I’ve re­ally built that con­sis­tency up so I can stay in points longer and wait for my op­por­tu­ni­ties.”

When Ryan, the three­time de­fend­ing district sin­gles cham­pion de­cided not to play this year at Ben­nett, Sant­myer had the op­por­tu­nity to be­come the con­fer­ence’s most dom­i­nat­ing boys’ player, which he proved to be on Fri­day.

Pa­tiently play­ing from the base­line, where he seem­ingly re­turned ev­ery­thing hit his way, the sec­ond­seeded Hout­man (16-1) de­feated Eas­ton fresh­man Lu­cas Joshi, 6-2, 6-3 in Fri­day’s semi­fi­nal. Af­ter about an hour’s break, Hout­man played Sant­myer (19-0), but couldn’t an­swer his power and con­sis­tency.

“I think he just came out, try­ing to play a lit­tle bit more for the fun of it, be­cause it’s more fun when both play­ers are play­ing in­stead of just hit­ting it back and forth,” Sant­myer said of Hout­man.

“Last year in the sec­ond half of the sea­son, I felt like I slipped a lit­tle bit,” said Sant­myer, who was un­de­feated dur­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son be­fore los­ing in the district fi­nal and his firstround match at states. “But this year I re­mem­bered that and just fo­cused on the goal of be­ing (district) champ. So I kept my fo­cus all through­out.”

While Coyner and Sant­myer were on their re­spec­tive cham­pi­onship runs, Eas­ton won the team cham­pi­onship, 18-16, over J.M. Ben­nett, ad­vanc­ing to the fi­nals in girls’ sin­gles (Lucero), girls’ and boys’ dou­bles, and the boys’ sin­gles semi­fi­nals. Lu­cas Joshi de­feated Ben­nett’s Brock Forsythe in the con­so­la­tion round.

“Our team all year long has been built on depth,” said Eas­ton as­sis­tant coach Grant May­hew, who watched the War­riors win their first boys’ con­fer­ence ti­tle since 1982 this sea­son, while the girls’ Bay­side ti­tle streak ended at four. “We have a nice mix; a few se­niors, and they showed lead­er­ship this year, and then we have a bunch of young­sters, who even the ones that lost yes­ter­day (Thurs­day) came out and they were ex­cited to see what it was all about. Coach (Dick) Kemp has been do­ing this for­ever now and the girls have al­ways been great. And now we’re start­ing to get some guys to come around and as a whole team, boys and girls, re­ally try­ing to build a pro­gram now.”

For a fourth straight sea­son, Eas­ton won the girls’ dou­bles ti­tle as the sec­ond­seeded team of Ella Joshi and Carly Palmer de­feated the fourth-seeded tan­dem of twin sis­ters, Kathryn and Kar­lie Allen of North Dorch­ester, 7-5, 6-1 in the fi­nal.

“It was pretty dif­fi­cult,” Ella Joshi said of mak­ing the tran­si­tion from play­ing sin­gles dur­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son to dou­bles dis­tricts. “We’re so used to play­ing sin­gles and then when we started prac­tic­ing we have to work out the

kinks. But then we felt pretty con­fi­dent go­ing into this that we be­came a solid dou­bles team.”

Palmer agreed, and said af­ter pulling out a tough first set against the Al­lens, her and Joshi felt a weight had been lifted.

“We strug­gled a bit in the be­gin­ning but we got it back and we felt pretty con­fi­dent sec­ond set,” Palmer said. “We

felt like we could re­lax and let our strokes be con­fi­dent, and it work out pretty well ob­vi­ously. It took a few games, maybe three, but we found our rhythm. We’ve known each other our whole lives and it worked out very well.”

Eas­ton’s Katie Claggett, who watched Fri­day’s play, won three con­sec­u­tive dou­bles ti­tles with Nora Ja­cob­son be­fore grad­u­at­ing

last spring.

“We were re­ally ex­cited to play in front of her,” Palmer said of Claggett. “She said that she’s re­ally proud of us.”

Seeded sec­ond, Eas­ton’s boys’ dou­bles team of Devin Wil­liams and Luca Tondin ad­vanced to the fi­nals, where they lost to Ben­nett’s topseeded team of Luke Mur­phy and Ryan Wooten, 6-3, 6-2.

Kent Is­land’s Kyle Alle­walt and Kylie Yesker won the mixed dou­bles cham­pi­onship, ral­ly­ing to de­feat Queen Anne’s County Rob­bie Kight and Charley Rek­stis, 5-7, 6-2, 6-2.

“I wasn’t that chal­leng­ing,” said Alle­walt, the Bucs’ No. 1 boys’ sin­gles player, of tran­si­tion­ing to dou­bles. “I had all the ba­sic strokes that we both did and we were just able to put it to­gether. We both thought we had pretty good chances of win­ning it all.”

Said Yesker, “We prac­tice to­gether a lot dur­ing the sea­son so that made it eas­ier.”

Notes: The top two in each di­vi­sion ad­vance to states, which is sched­uled to be­gin Fri­day at 10 a.m.

PHO­TOS BY WIL­LIAM HAUFE

North Dorch­ester’s Kathryn Allen, right, comes to the net for a re­turn while twin sis­ter Kar­lie watches from the base­line dur­ing Fri­day’s girls’ dou­bles fi­nal at the District VIII ten­nis cham­pi­onships.

North Dorch­ester’s Kar­lie Allen hits a fore­hand re­turn dur­ing the girls’ dou­bles fi­nal at Fri­day’s District VIII ten­nis cham­pi­onships. Kar­lie and twin sis­ter Kathryn lost 7-5, 6-1, but qual­i­fied for next Fri­day’s state ten­nis cham­pi­onships.

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