Sep 04, 2014 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Someone, somewhere was eventually going to end the Fayetteville-Manlius girls tennis win streak that stretched out over 21 years and covered 329 consecutive matches. And West Genesee was all too happy to be the side that pulled it off.
Playing on F-M’s courts Wednesday afternoon, the Wildcats, buoyed by its strong doubles teams, defeated the Hornets 4-3 and, by doing so, brought to a conclusion a string of victories that was, unofficially, the longest in American high school team sports.
The last F-M loss had come all the way back in 1993, when Liverpool earned its own 4-3 victory over the Hornets. From there, the wins piled up, and so did 21 consecutive Section III titles, plus back-to-back state championships in doubles for Kaitlin Englert – paired with Kristin Greiner in 2003 and Sallie Crawford in 2004.
Not long ago, F-M head coach Phil Rudolph said that someone was going to eventually catch his team, but that the quest to do it put more pressure on the Hornets’ opponents since all of them wanted the fame and glory that came with that feat.
West Genesee, of course, was one of many F-M opponents that had come close over the years. But on this warm, sunny late-summer afternoon, everything aligned for the Wildcats.
And that included some impressive doubles victories. Mikayla Mannara and Abigail Thurston defeated Catarina Westergaard and Marissa Broddus 6-3, 6-4, while Kelsey Shanahan and Elena Kopp got a 6-1, 7-5 victory over Mary Trop and Abby Welker. Kayla Llanos and Mary Frontale got past Shannon Fullam and Kristina Liu.
In the pivotal doubles match, WG seniors Taylor Ginestro and Marisa Joyce lost their first set to F-M’s tandem of Madison Jordan and Olivia Wojonvich, only to take a close second set and dominate the final set in a 4-6, 6-4, 6-0 victory that helped create history.
Meanwhile, in singles play, WG’s Caroline McGuigan lost to Katerina Atallah 6-3, 6-2, with Shannon Marlatt falling to Maggie Bonomo 6-0, 6-1. But Samantha Heyn worked hard in first singles and claimed a 6-4, 6-4 decision over Shirley Zhang.
WG had no time to celebrate its feat, because over the course of the next two days it was scheduled to brave summer-like heat and meet two more tough opponents in Auburn and Baldwinsville.
The Auburn match did take place, and the Wildcats beat the Maroons 4-3 on Thursday afternoon, leaning entirely on its doubles teams after Auburn swept the three singles matches. Kelsey Shanahan lost, 7-5, 6-0, to Celia Mattie, with Marlatt running into Julia Wagner in a 6-0, 6-1 defeat and Sarah Schahczenski falling to Katherine Brundage 6-2, 6-3.
To start the doubles sweep, Ginestro and Llanos beat Grace Bachman and Anna Streeter 6-2, 6-0, with Mannara and Frontale getting past Jaime Whitford and Lindsay Jarman 6-0, 6-2, and Thurston and McGuigan pairing up to beat Emma Solomon and Amanda Dixon 6-4, 6-3.
Again, it hinged on Heyn and Joyce, who won the first set over Lauryn Husby and Jenna Jarman 6-4, but lost the second set 6-2. The final set, at 6-6, went to a tie-breaker, but Heyn and Joyce were up to it, edging Husby and Jarman 7-5 to keep WG undefeated.
Then, when the thermometer soared past 90 degrees on Friday and the heat index threatened triple digits, WG’s match with Baldwinsville was postponed until later in the season, giving the Wildcats a chance throughout the weekend to regroup – and savor, a bit, the biggest team win in the program’s history.