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Jason Schmitt is the editor of MIPrepZone.com, the high school sports website for The Oakland Press. He has served as the sports editor for a number of newspapers, including the Daily Tribune in Royal Oak and the Macomb Daily in Mount Clemens. In his time in the industry, he has covered every high school sport and has served a a beat writer for boys and girls soccer, boys and girls tennis, hockey, wrestling, bowling and cross country.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Can't wait for the rematch

Rain may have robbed me of some great tennis Saturday afternoon. But I got a taste of it Monday over at Marian. The Mustangs hosted Seaholm in a battle of two of the state's best Division 2 teams. I expected a 4-4, 5-3 match (either way) coming in.
And the two teams did not disappoint. Marian won four of the first five matches and held on for a 5-3 victory. The Mustangs won three of four singles and two doubles matches. Each coach felt there was a flight where the outcome could be different when the two teams meet up again Thursday in regional play.
It's tough to tell which ones, however, at least score-wise. Marian's wins came at No. 1 singles (Bailey Paradiso 6-4, 4-3, retired), No. 3 singles (Catherine Christian 6-3, 6-1), No. 4 singles (Lauren Dietz 6-1, 6-3), No. 1 doubles (Kelly Lunghamer-Olivia Underwood 6-1, 6-3) and No. 4 doubles (Macy and Mallory Hudson 7-6 (5), 6-1). Seaholm's Labina Petrovska won at No. 2 singles, 7-5, 6-0; Meghan Dooley and Allyson Foreman won 6-3, 6-2 at No. 2 doubles; and Jackie Meier and Rachel Wilson won 7-6 (5), 6-4 at No. 3 doubles.
I expected two or three 3-set matches, so to see all straight-set victories - most convincingly - surprised me a bit. If Nancy Benda was healthy at No. 1 singles that match may look differently. I expected that match to be a good one. Same for No. 1 doubles. I really thought that could go three sets. I expect it to when they meet again Thursday. Seaholm coaches Scott Ransome and Paul Young will be hard at work these next two days to make some adjustments and have their girls ready for the rematch (at the regional played at Marian and Seaholm).

OAA Red "washout"
OK, so the OAA Red Tournament wasn't officially rained out on Saturday. But it was rain shortened. And that was a big bummer for a lot of people ... myself included. I was eagerly anticipating a great rematch between Clarkston's Katie Brozovich and Lahser's Mollie Fox at No. 1 singles. But the rains came in just three games after the opening serve, denying us all a chance to see them play one last time. Fox is the only player to take a set off Brozovich this season. And Brozovich is the only player to beat Fox.
I was also looking forward to what was sure to be a great final at No. 1 doubles. Clarkston's top-seeded Dana Olsen and Olivia Dunn were awaiting the winner of the semifinal match between Seaholm's Arielle Williams and Annie Grier and Troy's Tonya Malyarenko and Kalie Collins. Seaholm was up a set when it was stopped.
Seaholm and Clarkston ended up sharing the title because all of their flights made it out of the first round - and not all of the semifinal matches had been played yet. It was going to be a heck of a push for the title between the two schools. Clarkston's singles players were dominant, while Seaholm had a legitimate shot of winning 3-4 of the doubles titles. It was going to be close, either way.

Royal Oak tops 'em all at the Blue
It took a long time for Avondale to get another shot at Royal Oak, which beat the Yellow Jackets 5-3 in an early-season matchup between the two teams. And although Avondale's Amy Swanson at No. 3 singles and Nicole Hermiz and Sara Mulders at No. 1 doubles exacted a little revenge this time around on their Royal Oak foes in the finals, it was the Ravens that placed six of its flights in the finals, with three taking home championships.
Catherine Gray surprised no one in winning the No. 2 singles title, beating Ferndale's Lekha Mutyala 7-5, 6-0 in the final. Teammates Meghan McCarthy and Sarah Rusinowski, along with Ashlee Morris and Rachel Rusinowski at Nos. 3-4 doubles, also won league titles.
And let's not forget Southfield's Lauren Hughes, who once again proved to be the best player in the league, taking home the No. 1 singles championship with a 6-0, 6-0 win over Avondale's Fallon Richie.

Novi just misses out on KLAA title
Northville was the favorite heading into Saturday's KLAA tournament, ranked No. 5 in Division 1. But Novi gave the Mustangs everything they could handle, finishing just two points behind in second. It was dear-near a dual between the two teams in the finals. Both teams had seven teams reach the finals.
The difference was Northville won five of those seven finals, while Novi took home three championships. Senior Abby Wang led the Wildcats, winning the No. 1 singles championship. And Rebecca Chen and Asawari Kanitkar at No. 3 doubles and Rachel Bailey and Dina Fawaz at No. 4 doubles also were victorious.
The Central Division, which Northville and Novi play in, was clearly the superior division this year. Livonia Stevenson, the third member of the division to compete Saturday, finished fourth overall. Lakeland, which won the North Division title, scored seven points to finish eighth overall. Five different flights scored for the Eagles, including No. 3 singles, senior Sydney Sinclair, who reached the semifinals.

OAA White, what's up?
Not that it was anticlimactic at Saturday's OAA White tournament. But with a pivotal match between Groves and Adams taking place on Wednesday, the end result was going to be on hold - as far as who will walk away with the division championship.
The Highlanders edged out Troy Athens, North Farmington and Groves for the tournament title. They won flight championships at No. 1 and No. 2 singles - Halle Hyman and Marla Seaver. They're hoping their  potent singles lineup can beat out the Falcons' deep doubles lineup. If Adams wins, it wins the league championship. If Groves wins, it splits the title with Adams. And if they tie, Athens takes home the title.
At least that's what I figured out on paper. If I'm wrong, please let me know.

Catholic League champs - Marian - Again
For the fifth straight year, Birmingham Marian left the courts as champions of the Catholic League. The Mustangs won seven of eight flight championships to once again dominate the league tournament Saturday. Bailey Paradiso, Elaine Apaza, Catherine Christian and Lauren Dietz swept the singles, while Kelly Lunghamer-Olivia Underwood, Bianca Emde-Molly MacKenzie and Macy and Mallory Hudson took home doubles titles.
Mercy's Christy Snyder and Anna Hinrichs won the only other flight championship, that coming at No. 2 doubles.
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