Southern Maryland News
Thomas Stone tennis upends Lackey
Cougars close to shutout versus Chargers team building on youth
Throughout the course of Wednesday afternoon’s Southern Maryland Athletic Conference Potomac Division tennis match between Lackey High School and host Thomas Stone, Chargers first-year head coach Jonathan Webster was hardly concerned with the score.
Lackey (2-4, 2-2 SMAC Potomac) was on the verge of being swept by the host Cougars, including losing one match via forfeit, until Lilly Collins upended Nomel Simmons, 7-5, 6-2, in No. 2 girls singles in the last match of the day. Even amid the lopsided setback, Webster was far more optimistic about the future for the squad than pessimistic about its current stage.
“Right now, we’re very young and we only have enough to just fill out the lineup,” said Webster, whose No. 2 girls doubles team missed the match for another school function. “We have no seniors on the team. They’re young, but they’re very willing to learn and they understand they’re going to make mistakes. But they’ve always had great attitudes.”
Stone (3-4, 3-1) won most of the matches against the youthful Lackey squad in lopsided fashion, ignited by junior Avani Hall’s 6-0, 6-0 win over Lackey junior Chloe Lateulere in No. 1 girls singles play. Hall has won two of her last three matches, including a three-set triumph over Westlake’s Krisha Patel after dropping the first set.
“I’ve been fighting through a minor shoulder injury,” Hall said. “So today I really had to take it easy on my serves. I was aiming for a spot most of the match, but I wasn’t trying to overpower the ball. I thought my forehand and my backhand were both good today. I’m just hoping to get more consistent the rest of the year.”
Lateulere admitted she simply did not play to her capabilities on Wednesday, but credited Hall with making a number of good returns. Lateulere gets ample serious practice against older brother, Alex, a 2015 Lackey graduate now playing tennis for the University of Maryland Baltimore Count. Those matches often enhance her skills and test her resolve.
“Today just wasn’t my day,” Lateulere said. “I didn’t serve really well and I had trouble with my backhand. [Hall] made some good returns on a number of my serves. I just
want to keep getting better heading into [the] SMAC [tournament]. My brother [Alex] plays against me when he’s home from school and he’s really good. Those make for some tough matches, but they help.”
Stone’s Tim Goldring defeated Lackey’s David Nelson, 6-1, 6-0, in the No. 1 boys singles to improve to 5-2, while the Cougars’ Geoff Goldring upended the Chargers’ Sam Guzzone, 6-1, 6-1, to remain unbeaten on the season at 7-0.
Stone won both boys doubles matches as Alex Richards and Xavier Coleman combined to defeat Lackey’s Zachary Zalovick and Max Scott, 6-2 and 6-1 at No. 1, while Vim Cariaga and Nick Keene defeated the Chargers unrelated pair of Charles Gordon and Thomas Gordon, 6-1, 6-1 at No. 2.
Stone’s No. 1 girls doubles pair of Sydney Colbert and Kailee Covey prevailed 6-0, 6-2 over the Chargers’ Mackenzie Martin and Amelia Dudley, while the Cougars No. 2 pair of Jackie Ruiz and Tayler Rooths were awarded a forfeit victory. Stone’s mixed doubles pair of Emma Chandler and Dasaun Gooding defeated Lackey’s Thenyathorn Vachira-Anan and Shanelle Kelly, 6-2, 6-1.
Although the overall match had been decided in less than an hour, Collins prevented the hosts from attaining a complete sweep of the outing when she defeated Simmons that gave the youthful Chargers an emotional lift before the team departed for its return ride to Indian Head.