Thursday May 10th saw the girl’s tennis team top Groves in an 8-0 blowout on senior night. Sporting their pink lapels’ in honor of breast cancer awareness, the seniors went out with a bang as their regular season winds down.
If that wasn’t exciting enough, the team won a tournament the past weekend, smashing the defending State Champions Forest Hills Northern 6-2 without star No. 1 Singles player, Nancy Benda, whose match was forfeited as she was ruled out due to the stress fracture in her navicular bone.
The load rested on the entire team to overtake Forest Hills Northern without Benda. No. 4 Singles player Claire Markley was able to come back from a 5-7 loss in the first set to overtake Edie Jiang 6-4, 6-3.
A tight match in No. 2 doubles went to Meghan Dooley and Allyson Foreman, who won 7-5, 4-6, 7-6 (7-0).
At No. 4 doubles, Katie Root and Lauren Benderoff won 6-0, 5-7, 6-4.
To put the magnitude of this tournament win in perspective, Forest Hills Northern hadn’t lost a tournament in six years, and Seaholm hadn’t beaten them in seven years. Forest Hills Northern is now ranked #2 behind Bloomfield Hills Marian, who the Maples match up with tonight at Marian.
As of April 30th, Seaholm sat #4 in Division Two as they were overtaken by Bloomfield Hills Andover.
During the 8-0 sweep of Groves at Senior Night, some of the best news of the season came out for the Maples. No. 1 Singles player Nancy Benda returned to the court sporting a brace on her right ankle.
“I wasn’t pushing myself to 100%, but that was just out of caution,” said Benda. “At first the brace was an awkward adjustment, but to be honest I don’t notice it anymore and it doesn’t seem to affect my play.”
Benda will play through the end of the season barring setback.
“I’m definitely making my way back,” said Benda. “Hopefully I’ll be able to play at 100% next week.”
Though the scoreboard showed an apparent rout, senior captain Annie Grier knew that there is better tennis to be played this season, especially on a personal level.
“I don’t think I was on top of my game today,” said Grier. “The rest of the team played well, but it wasn’t really my day.”
Though the No. 1 doubles team of Grier and Arielle Williams won 2-6, 6-1, 6-1 over No. 5 doubles Claire Nader and Rayanne Brode, Grier and Williams played frustrated most of the day.
Brode and Nader were brought on in substitution for the No. 1 doubles team, who lost Christine Chien to a sprained ankle the previous week. Brode and Nader started the match with a 6-2 first set win, which caused a buzz around the court.
“I think both teams were equally surprised at the score after the first set,” said an unnamed Groves player.
After the loss, Grier and Williams were able to stomp out Brode and Nader with mostly turbulent free, back to back 6-1 thumping’s.
According to Benda, the Groves squad was not their top competition, and senior night was just a stepping stone towards Regionals.
“Groves is a respectable team,” said Benda. “But they aren’t necessarily our biggest competitors, so as a team we went out and played our game and the scoreboard reflected that.”
The 2012 season is a season that features 7 seniors out of 16 total varsity players. With only half of the 2012 varsity team returning next year, this could be the end of the road if they can’t win a state title now.
“Having such a big senior class definitely has a huge impact on the team,” said Benda. “They are all really great players and teammates, so everyone is extra determined to win a state title for their last season.”