Bucs’ depth key in winning first Bayside title
Kent Island 5 J.M. Bennett 2
The fruits of Rick Tyng’s labor bore nearly immediate results.
Kent Island High’s girls’ tennis team captured its first-ever Bayside Conference championship Tuesday afternoon against James M. Bennett, flaunting its depth in a 5-2 victory in Stevensville.
Tyng, in his fourth year with the program and coming off the completion of his first official year as a tennis pro at Prospect Bay Country Club, has elevated the Buccaneers to the class of the Bayside, and hopes the feeder program continues paying dividends.
“It’s a good first step in creating a sustainable program at Kent Island,” Tyng said via a telephone interview Tuesday evening. “What excited me today was that slowly but surely, we’re developing a tennis community. Beyond the kids, we’re getting great support from the parents and other people coming out to see the kids.”
Kent Island wrapped up team competition with a 15-1 mark, the lone loss arriving against much-improved North Dorchester.
Katrina Coyner breezed past Hyunji Lee, 6-0, 6-1, at No. 1 singles, but No. 2, a match between the Bucs’ Kylie Yesker and the Clippers’ Abby Bazin, was according to Tyng, a tone-setting crux.
Yesker won that battle 6-3, 6-3, followed by Abby Carpenter besting Emily LeCompte, 6-2, 6-2, Kent Island jumping out to a 3-0 lead and sitting a match within sealing the conference crown.
“We have been spoiled because we have Katrina, who’s the best player on the Eastern Shore,” Tyng said. “We’re counting on that point and always get that point. What set the tempo were No. 2 and No. 3. At No. 2, our player, who was undefeated, was playing someone who was also undefeated, and the match was a lot closer than the score indicated.
“That was the pivotal match right there.”
Kent Island’s depth, then, was on full display in the doubles matches, as Selena Kaufman and Jenny Houston won, 6-2, 6-4, over Nidhi Menta and Abby Ryan, and Maris Teti and Emily Fronczek defeated Kelli Moreno and Zoe Sheller, 6-0, 6-1.
“We’re just fortunate to have 13 or 14 kids who could have played in the top nine,” Tyng said. “It made for some very competitive practices, day in and day out ... it made us a better team with the depth.”
Bennett picked up wins at fourth and fifth singles: Sydney Weaver over Kara Perticome, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 and Lydia Marks defeating Grace Park, 7-6 (8-6), 3-6, 1-0 (7-4), the No. 5 match being decided by a one-point tiebreaker since the title was already clinched in the doubles competition.
Perticome and Park battled back after dropping the first sets of their respective matches to force third-set tiebreakers, earning praise from Tyng despite ultimately falling.
“In between sets, because we’re not accustomed to playing two out of three, we had to make sure they’re not discouraged after losing the first set,” Tyng said. “They had to compartmentalize the first set, and they were able to scrap back and win the second set. It showed me guts and desire on their parts to win the second set.”
“We’re developing a feeder program where the kids finally hit the high school age, they have the experience,” Tyng added. “We’re starting something and hopefully we can see it grow for years to come.”
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Members of the Kent Island High girls’ tennis team pose with the Bayside Conference championship trophy on Tuesday. The Buccaneers defeated James M. Bennett, 5-2, to capture the program’s first-ever conference title.