SMAC places five in top four at region tennis tourney
H-town duo headed to states; St. Charles’ Paras takes fourth
After placing second at the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference tournament, the Huntingtown mixed doubles team of Bailey White and Kai Tougas was hoping for a better result in the next tournament. Mission accomplished. White and Tougas defeated the Arundel team of Cammie Norton and Andreas Linke 7-5, 6-3 to claim the Region IV tennis tournament Saturday at Annapolis High School in Anne Arundel County. Day 1 of the tournament was held May 18 at North Point High School in Waldorf.
“It feels great,” White said. “Right off the bat [Kai and I] started playing well together. We kind of clicked right away. We work well together.”
“The team and the coaches are very proud of what Bailey and Kai have accomplished so far,” Huntingtown head coach Rob Martin wrote in an email to Southern Maryland Newspapers.
Players were seeded on Tuesday will be held Friday and Saturday at Wilde Lake Tennis Club in Howard County.
“Bailey and Kai have the potential to do well at the state tournament,” Martin said. “The hard part this week will be staying focused and getting an opportunity to get outside and practice.”
Seeded as the SMAC’s No. 2 team, White and Tougas breezed past Broadneck 6-0, 6-0 and faced perhaps their toughest test of the tournament when they met Severna Park — the top Anne Arundel seed — in the semifinals.
But the Huntingtown duo rallied for a 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 victory in what White said was a “long and stressful match.”
“We knew that would be our hardest match, [so] our strategy was just to go out there and play like we did our first match [which was to] just go out there and play our hardest,” White said. “Kai had to take over and once he did we just started winning [points]. I couldn’t have asked for a better partner.”
“Bailey has been playing singles for the last four years and was able to maintain rallies from the baseline with the opposing team,” Martin said. “She was able to handle the pace, and spins that the other team was sending her way, and she was bringing it right back to them. Kai was able to control the net, and with a player that active at the net, the opponents had to hit great shots to pass him or avoid him altogether.”
Patuxent’s mixed doubles team of siblings Evan and MacKenzie Dinopoulos — which claimed the SMAC championship — finished third following a forfeit win over the Falcons. The SMAC No. 1 seed upended South River 7-6 (8-6), 6-3 in the quarterfinals before falling to Arundel in straight sets in the semis.
“She played great, but I don’t think I played up to my standards,” Evan Dinopoulos said of his sister. “Usually I use my mental game against teams, but it was working against me. She’s always really calm. I think [the fact she’s my sister] I was a lot more comfortable with what I said and did with her [as my partner]. I thought we had a great season. We won SMAC and besides that last game, I don’t think it could have been better.”
“Our kids fought hard but fell short Saturday,” Patuxent head coach Rico Aris said of Evan, a senior, and McKenzie, a sophomore. “They had a tremendous season and it would’ve been nice to see the brother and sister team make it to the state tournament. Unfortunately all good things come to an end.”
In girls doubles, Samantha Chan and Erika Dozier also added a third-place finish when they defeated Broadneck 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 in the consolation final. The duo — the SMAC No. 1 seed — downed a Northeast tandem 6-0, 6-1 before a loss to Severna Park relegated them to the consolation bracket.
In singles play, Adrian Paras of St. Charles placed fourth in boys singles following a 6-7 (6-7), 1-6 defeat to Broadneck in the consolation final.
After receiving a firstround bye, Paras downed North County’s representative 6-0, 7-6 but fell in the semifinals to the eventual champion from Broadneck.
Leonardtown’s Samantha Schwalbe also added a fourth-place finish after falling 3-6, 3-6 in the consolation final to the Annapolis representative.
Schwalbe, the No. 2 SMAC seed, received a first-round bye and was ahead of her Annapolis opponent 4-3 when the Panther retired. Schwalbe then moved to the consolation round following a straight-set loss to eventual champion Abby Moghtader of Severna Park.
Patuxent’s Nathan Poteet (boys singles), Northern’s Kirsten Kosa (girls singles), La Plata’s Kier Nacua and Griffin Moyer (boys doubles), Huntingtown’s Hannah Kennerly and Sydney Nader (girls doubles) and Leonardtown’s Richard Gladwell and Hannah Keeney (mixed doubles) each won their first-round matches.