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Strong start for MRHS tennis team Ocean City Sentinel

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OCEAN CITY The mainland regional girls’ tennis team is a perennial contender for the Cape Atlantic League and South Jersey titles. This year seems no exception, as the girls started with a 7-0 record through Friday.

Last week, the Mustangs defeated Ocean City 3-2, trailing their first singles player, forcing some lineup shifts.

They did a good job, head coach Kathy Yohe said during the game against the Red Raiders. It’s a young team. At the moment there is no senior there. She noted that Emma Savov, who was out last year due to injury, would be returning to the lineup. (Savov joined Ana Kilibarda in the second double at the end of the week, eliminating their Absegami opponents.)

In first doubles, junior Elizabeth Ong and sophomore Marlee Campbell were not only unbeaten so far this season, they’ve only played a handful of games through last Friday, mostly outplaying their opponents.

They played really well, Yohe said. This is a new link. This is Ongs’ third year at varsity and the first for Campbell, who moved up after her freshman year of the first JV. Ong and her former partner were second in the CAL last year and first in the CAL the year before.

Elizabeth has some experience in doubles, Yohe said. They are a good team. Last year we knew that Marlee really wants to win and goes after every ball. She is very positive.

In the first singles, sophomore Christina Htay, junior Maddie Dennis in second singles and junior Samantha Goldberg in third singles. Second double was a pair of freshmen with Kilibarda and Lily Turner, but Savov won a challenge match and is now working with Kilibarda.

Htay was the third single last year as a freshman. She played well. She’s a good little player. I am happy with how she plays.

I think our lineup is pretty strong and pretty deep, Yohe said.

Dennis is a good second single. She advanced to the first singles with Htay’s absence from the Ocean City match. She is a good athlete and plays well.

Our third single, Sam, is a wall, which is good for third singles, the coach said. She gets everything back. You have to beat her. She won’t give you much. She won’t hurt you, but you won’t get many free points from her. It’s deceptive, she doesn’t necessarily look like she’s fast, but she accomplishes everything and gets it back. She has a nice topspin and slice. She mixes it up a lot. She is a smart player. She puts it where they are not.

Yohe said the team goals include winning the CAL and going as far as we can in the state tournament. She added that Shawnee High School, which has a strong tennis team, has moved to Group III this year, posing a potential additional challenge for the Mustangs further down the road. Well, go as far as we can there. It would be really nice to win, but good to see. That is always our goal. We got lucky. We’ve done it a few times.

Mainland 3, Ocean City 2

On the first basehits, Dennis and Ocean Citys Alexis Allegretto had an absolute fight, three sets and deep into a tie-breaker. Dennis won the first set 6-4, but Allegretto came back to win the second set 7-6 (7-5), creating a tiebreak in the third set. Allegretto went on to win, 12-10.

On the second basehit, Goldberg Red Raider defeated Taylor Pontari 6-3, 6-4 and on the third basehit, Kilibarda Mackenzee passed Segich, 7-6 (8-6), 6-3.

Ong and Campbell knocked out Ocean Citys Chloe Howard and Daphnee Brozyna in the first doubles.

In the second double, Red Raider Claire Coffey and Claire Brooks had the upper hand over Turner and Jessica Wise.

Ocean City is now 3-4 on the season, with two wins over Atlantic City and one over Millllville. Two of the other lost games were close, 3-2, against Absegami and Vineland.

By DAVID NAHAN/Sentinel Staff

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