eight breaks in the first nine games.
Coyner sent a backhand wide of the court to open the tenth game of the final set. Santoriello hit a forehand wide for a 15-15 tie, but she took the lead for good when Coyner sent a forehand into the net from close range. Another Coyner forehand caught the net before she scored with a backhand slice to pull within 40-30. But the match ended with her final two serves without the presence of a court attendant.
“Oh my goodness, it was very hot; I had to get an ice bag just to cool myself down,” Coyner said. “... It [the heat] didn’t affect me a lot. I knew that I’m fit enough that I can stay in the game. I think maybe my focus was just a little off, just in the first few games. I think that’s what set me back in that third set.”
Coyner said she trains at the Junior Tennis Champions Center in College Park and she hopes to return for another shot at the singles championship next season.
Coyner proved she could rally and win in the first set, which she trailed 5-3. She tied the set at 6-6 and dropped the first two points of the tiebreaker before countering with three straight points. With the tiebreaker tied 6-6, Santoriello sent a backhand slice long and, after a long rally, she sent a forehand long to give Coyner the 7-6 (8-6) win.
Santoriello then dominated the second set before fighting through the third set for the win. She advanced to meet top-seeded and defending champion Miranda Deng of Wooten. Deng, a junior, continued to blitz through the competition on Saturday for her third-straight singles title.
Coyner had only won three games in a second-round loss in last year’s state tournament and had struggled to a 7-5 win in the second set of her opener. She breezed through this year’s opener, earning a 6-1, 6-0 victory over Pikesville’s Nicole Kachay.
“Catrina really showed a lot of heart today,” Kent Island head coach Rick Tyng said. “She doesn’t get a lot of competition on the Eastern Shore, and to be able to come out and play a tournament-caliber player, and play as tough as what she did. That girl just didn’t miss, didn’t make any unforced errors whatsoever, and made Catrina hit a lot of balls that she’s not accustomed to in the regular season.”
Coyner and Easton’s girls’ doubles team of Carly Palmer and Ella Joshi were the only players that reached this year’s quarterfinals.
Palmer and Joshi defeated Roosevelt’s Nana Mansa Essilfie-Mensah and Sarika Walia, 7-5, 6-4. Easton’s duo then fell to the top-seeded team of Carina Greenbelt and Sarinah Wahl of Whitman.
Easton’s Ina Lucero fell to Randallstown’s Asmara Rose, 6-0, 6-0, in girls’ singles.
In boys’ singles, Kent County sophomore Ryan Santmyer fell to Bowie’s Neerav Ganjoo, 6-3, 3-6, 2-6 at the park’s fenceless court. In their hard-hitting match, Ganjoo was able to more consistently keep the ball in play and had success with well-struck shots sent past Santmyer at the net. Santmyer had won only one game in last year’s opening round.
In boys’ doubles, Easton’s Luca Tondin and Devin Williams fell to Catonsville’s Steven Bingaman and Nathan Kesavan, 6-2, 6-3. In girls’ doubles, North Dorchester’s Kathryn Allen and Karlie Allen fell to Liberty’s Elle Shatto and Abby Brecker, 6-0, 6-1. In mixed doubles, Queen Anne’s Robbie Kight and Charley Rekstis fell to Liberty’s Christian Lansinger and Caroline Dangel, 6-0, 6-2.
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Queen Anne’s Charley Rekstis competes during a mixed-doubles match with teammate Robbie Kight in the state tournament Friday afternoon in Olney.
Queen Anne’s Robbie Kight competes during a mixed-doubles match with teammate Charley Rekstis in the opening round of the MPSSAA state tournament Friday afternoon in Olney.