Saint John sweeps county tennis tournament

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Sep. 17—SAYBROOK TOWNSHIP — The Saint John girls tennis team swept all five matches in the Ashtabula County Girls Tennis Invitational on Saturday on their home court.

The Heralds scored the maximum points possible with wins at first, second and third singles and both doubles matches to secure 30 points.

Saint John coach Todd Nassief said he talked with other coaches and nobody remembered any team accomplishing such a feat before this year.

Geneva took second place in four of the five matches and scored 24 points to finish second.

Lakeside finished third with 19 points, followed by Jefferson at 13, Edgewood 12 and Conneaut six.

Nassief said both doubles teams and third singles player Grace DiSalvatore all were able to fight through adversity to win their matches.

“I am pleasantly surprised,” Nassief said.

He said Mickey Zheng, first singles, and Alyssa Cevera, second singles, were favorites but the rest of the squad had to dig down deep.

The second doubles team of Joslyn Petro and Terri Furlow did not fare well in the dual meet with Geneva, but won the first set on Saturda, lost the second and won in a tie breaker third set by a score of 10-8.

The Saint John first doubles team of Maggie Hoza and Christina Bellios won the first set against Geneva’s Abby Griffiths and Hannah Dunn, but fell behind in the second set.

The Heralds tandem, however, came roaring back and won the second set 7-5 to earn their medals.

DiSalvatore won her match against Lakeside’s Keira Varckette 6-3, 6-3.

Nassief said he thought she did a great job against a very good player.

The coach added the wins against Geneva and Lakeside, in the finals were challenging against very good opponents.

The Heralds are 13-1 in dual meets with wins over Mentor, Chagrin Falls and many other larger schools.

Geneva coach Scott Torok said he hoped to fare better, but knew it was going to be a big challenge going against the Heralds.

“We would have looked to do better, but we knew the task was difficult,” he said. “We will be back. We are not used to second. We are young.”

The Eagles are 11-4 and are getting ready for the Chagrin Valley Conference tournament next weekend.

The first and second singles matches were dominated by the Heralds.

Zheng defeated Geneva junior Addison DiPofi 6-0, 6-0 and Cevera topped Geneva’s Ashlyn Thompson 6-1, 6-1.

Zheng said she was proud of her team sticking together for the win.

“There is like no words to express how I feel,” she said. “I have worked hard all summer. This was my one goal, [to win the tournament] … I am so happy and I am glad all my hard work has paid off.”

DiPofi said she felt the team played well as a unit and knew her match with Zheng was going to be difficult.

“I think I played as well as I have all year, so I don’t feel bad,” DiPofi said.

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