Allen twins win final match to clinch title
Buccaneers net first region championship
CAMBRIDGE — Catrina Coyner and Ryan Santmyer did the expected, Kathryn and Karlie Allen did not.
The Bayside Conference’s decision to adopt a format where singles players could also play doubles this year, allowed players to go into regional competition with doubles experience. Despite that added play, North Dorchester’s Allen twins, Kathryn and Karlie, lost both their matches during the regular season to Easton’s Ella Joshi and Carly Palmer, who defeated the Allens for the regional girls’ doubles title last year.
Easton’s string of four straight girls’ doubles titles — the first three won by Katie Claggett and Nora Jacobson — ended Thursday at the Region 8 championship at Glasgow Courts on a day when temperatures reached into the 90s, as Eagles head coach Jolene South used a spray bottle to cool the Allens during breaks.
The rematch from a year ago was again tight, though this time the Allens crafted a 6-4 victory in the opening set. Tied in the second set, the Allens answered South’s plea of, “Don’t let this go another set,” by earning a 6-3 victor y to win the title.
“Felt more focused this time,” Kathryn Allen said of the difference between losing and winning against Joshi and Palmer.
“I think they got more tired because it was hot,” Karlie Allen said. “We just took advantage of that. We worked together the
whole season so we were more (familiar) with each other. I felt like we could win and we did.”
Kyle Allewalt and Kylie Yesker also did the expected, though their result sealed a rather unexpected ending Wednesday, as Kent Island High’s tennis team won its first Region 8 championship on a sweltering afternoon at Glasgow Courts.
“I didn’t really think about it,” said Yesker of the possibility of winning the team title.
“No, because our coach said we didn’t,” deadpanned a smiling Allewalt when asked if he thought the Bucs had a shot at the crown, taking a playful jab at girls’ head coach Rick Tyng, who was standing nearby.
“We never even really thought about it until the end,” confessed Kent Island boys’ head coach Pete Bendel of winning the team title.
A title that came down to Kent Island and Parkside on the last championship match — mixed doubles — where Allewalt and Yesker, the defending champs, played the Rams’ Jae Han and Mallory Wainwright, who were coming off perhaps the two-day tournament’s most grueling match, outlasting No. 7 seed Maggie Ross and Isaiah Brinsfield of North Dorchester, 6-7 (9-7), 7-6 (7-2), 6-1 in the semifinals.
While fatigue may have played a part, Allewalt’s strong service game and powerful groundstrokes mixed with Yesker’s solid baseline play were also a major factor in a 6-3, 6-1 victory that ended with Yesker placing a high arcing return just inside the back corner in front of Han for the matchwinner.
“We both play to each other’s strengths; she’s better at the baseline,” Allewalt said.
“We just balance each other out,” Yesker said.
Balance wasn’t a factor in either one of the singles’ brackets.
Coyner, Kent Island’s gifted junior who again went unbeaten this season, dominated the field, not losing a game in four matches, as she marched to a third consecutive girls’ single crown with a 6-0, 6-0 victory over St. Michaels’ Lexi Lednum in the final to match former Buccaneers star Kristi Wong’s string of three consecutive singles titles from 2012-14
“Today it wasn’t focusing on my opponents, but it was more focusing on myself,” said Coyner, who was looking to build momentum toward next week’s state tournament, where she has reached the quarterfinals the past two years. “So I was focused on my serves; just trying to work on my second serve so I used that throughout the entire tournament. And then I was also working on hitting more of my shots, just feeling more comfortable hitting my shots so when I get in the state tournament I feel comfortable as well.”
Santmyer, Kent County’s talented junior, almost matched Coyner, going 3-0 and dropping just one game — that to Easton’s Alex Matsche in a 6-0, 6-1 semifinal win — en route to defeating No. 2 seed Zeth Weaver of James M. Bennett, 6-0, 6-0, for his second consecutive boys’ singles championship.
“I’m always nervous coming in,” said Santmyer, who went 16-0 during the regular season. “Even being the favorite I’m always nervous that I will lose, so I try to prepare and come out and play my hardest ever time.
“I believe my serve is definitely much better, as well as my consistency,” said Santmyer, who has been knocked out of states in the first round his first two years. “Last year I had the forehand power, but I was missing a lot. This year I feel like I’m making a lot more. And just from practicing all year long.”
Kent Island’s title effort was boosted by the girls’ doubles team of Abby Carpenter and Marisa Teti, who finished fourth.
The top two teams in each classification qualify for next week’s state tournament at the Wilde Lake Tennis Club in Columbia. Play is scheduled to begin on Friday, May 26.
North Dorchester’s Karlie and Kathryn Allen pause for a photo Wednesday after winning the girls’ doubles title at the Region 8 tennis championships.
North Dorchester’s Karlie Allen, left, watches twin sister Kathryn smack a return during Wednesday’s girls’ doubles final at the Region 8 tennis championships. PHOTOS BY WILLIAM HAUFE
From left, North Dorchester’s Kathryn Allen and Karlie Allen shake hands with Easton’s Ella Joshi and Carly Palmer after winning the girls’ doubles title at Wednesday’s Region 8 championships.