The Science Hill boys’ and girls’ tennis teams felt good about their chances against Knox Catholic once they got to doubles play.
The problem was the Hilltoppers never made it to doubles at Thursday’s Class AAA team tennis sectionals. Catholic took a 5-0 win in the boys’ competition and a 4-1 decision in girls’ play.
Science Hill finished the season with an 11-1 record for the boys and a 10-2 mark for the girls.
“I’ve been proud of this group,” Science Hill head coach D.C. Smith said. “The ending is always tough, but they played so well all year and battled today. They have nothing to be ashamed of. They should keep their heads up. It’s just tough because they fought so hard.”
Knox Catholic, which won the 2009 state championship in Class A/AA, improved to 17-0 in boys’ action and 15-2 for its girls.
“It was a tremendous effort by our players,” Fighting Irish head coach Rusty Morris said. “Sam Greeley came through for Catholic, winning a three-setter. Then the girls, Ella Monarch and Katie Covino battled through some really long points. I’m proud of how our players came through, but I have a lot of respect for Science Hill’s players. They never gave up and had a lot of fight in them.”
Case in point was the boys’ No. 5 singles match. Science Hill freshman Parth Goenka pushed Greeley to the wire in a 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 loss.
“Parth is a talented kid with a lot of potential,” Smith said. “He’s a very enthusiastic kid who wants to learn and get better. He is a great example of how the whole team was this year. All of the kids worked hard, listened and tried to do their best.”
Although the match was decided, the teams allowed a No. 2 singles match between Thomas Young and Catholic’s Michael Aleman to finish. Aleman took a 6-3, 7-6 (1) decision.
“Thomas is a fighter,” Smith said. “He played hard and came back, but he just ran out of gas.”
In the other matches, No. 1 Stephen Lorino downed Colin Ice 6-1, 6-0, No. 3 Jonathan Chavez topped Landon Martin 6-1, 6-2, and No. 4 Mitchell Jostes romped 6-0, 6-0 against Cameron Martin.
Likewise, Science Hill couldn’t get over the hump on the girls’ side.
Hope Forbush had the Hilltoppers’ lone win at No. 2 over Alexa Jostes 6-1, 6-0. But, Catholic’s Emily Holloway defeated Katie Deal 6-1, 6-3 at No. 1 and No. 3 Abby Leake topped Leah Eddy 6-2, 6-2 for an Irish advantage.
Then at No. 5, Katie Covino won 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 over Jamison Reid before Ella Monarch clinched at No. 4 with a 6-3, 6-4 decision over Avery Linton.
“If we could have just got that one more point,” Smith said. “Avery and Jamison fought real hard down at the bottom of that ladder. Avery lost a two-set match that looked like a three-set match. They were fighting. We just couldn’t pull it out today.”
Despite the loss, Smith looked to next season with optimism.
The team loses just one senior — Landon Martin on the boys’ team, and two seniors — Deal and Eddy on the girls’ squad.