The Smyrna High School girls tennis team tied for second place in this weekend's Henlopen Conference tournament. With a total of 15 points, Smyrna tied with Dover for second place.
The 2nd doubles team of Gabby Pope and Katie Morgan led the way for the Eagles with a first place finish, beating Caesar Rodney's Aisha Hallman and Stephanie Rogers 6-2, 6-3 for the win.
With three wins in the tournament, Pope and Morgan improve to 18-0 after going 15-0 in the regular season.
Second singles player Rachel Blair finished in second place, first doubles duo Courtney Walley and Louisa Rusch finished in third place, and third singles player Katherine Clark placed fourth. First singles player Sarah Koehler had a bye in the first round but lost in Friday’s quarterfinal match 7-6(7-3), 1-6, 2-6 to Indian River’s Grace Cummings.
On top of the performances of the players, head coach Courtney Markiewicz was voted Henlopen Conference Girls Coach of the Year for the second year in a row.
“I’m shocked and surprised and honored. It means a lot that the coaches see me as deserving enough of this honor, coach of the year,” Markiewicz said.
The Smyrna girls tennis team may have finished in tie with Dover, but Markiewicz is satisfied nonetheless.
“I am so happy. We did as well, if not better, than I expected to do at conferences. They gave it their all; they put 110 percent on the court in every game,” Markiewicz said.
For the Smyrna players, whether it was freshman third singles player Katherine Clark or senior doubles player Courtney Walley, each player was proud of their efforts over the weekend including senior Rachel Blair, who finished in second place at second singles.
“I played a really good match, even if the score doesn’t reflect it. It was a long match, I was going to deuce all the time, 30-40s,” Blair said. “I played my best so I’m content with second.”
As for Smyrna’s 18-0 second doubles team, winning was exciting for Gabby Pope.
“I think the reason me and Katie went 18-0 is because we never got mad at each other,” Pope said. “We kept each other confident. We never quit on each other.”
Next up: states
Coming off their success at the conference tournament, the next stop for the girls team is the state tournament starting Saturday, May 19.
Markiewicz said she’s confident in her team going into states but it’ll be difficult from a coaching standpoint since they’ll be playing in different locations.
Page 2 of 2 - “I think the experience at conferences showed them and gave them confidence that they can be successful if they just keep their mind to it,” Markiewicz said. “I think we could have a good showing at states.”
Boys team ties for 7th place
The Smyrna High boys tennis team tied for seventh place with Lake Forest and Polytech with two points each.
First singles player Thomas Clark won his first match in the play-in round but fell in the quarterfinals to Seaford’s Zach Parks 6-3, 7-5. Second singles player Tugrabek Usul also won in the first round but fell in the quarterfinals to Milford’s Zeph Geyer 6-2, 7-5. Third singles Ben Twenge received a bye in the first round but lost to the eventual champion, CR’s Nate Parker, 6-0, 6-1 in the quarterfinal.
First doubles duo Josh Allison/J.W. Newlin lost to Polytech’s William Lackey/Clay Satterfield 6-1, 6-3 in the play-in round. Second doubles Ryan Kaczorowski/Austin Flowers received a bye in the first round but lost to Indian River’s Sam Izzo/Ridge Murray 6-2, 6-4 in the quarterfinals.
Email Jennifer Dailey at email@example.com.