County tennis tournament dominated by Saint John

Sep. 17—SAYBROOK — 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 winning first singles, second singles, third singles and both doubles matches to secure 30 points.

Saint John head girls tennis 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. Jefferson was fourth with 13, followed by Edgewood in fifth with 12 and Conneaut in sixth with 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.

He said the second doubles team of Joslyn Petro and Terri Furlow did not fare well in the dual meet with Geneva. He said they won the first set on Saturday then 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 pair, however, came roaring back and won the second set 7-5 to earn their medals.

DiSalvatore won her match with Lakeside’s Keira Varckette 6-3, 6-3. Nassief said he thought she did a great job against a very good player.

Nassief said 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 for better results 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.”

Torok said his team is 11-4 and is getting ready for the Chagrin Valley Conference tournament next weekend.

The first and second singles matches were dominated by the Heralds with Zheng defeating Geneva junior Addison DiPofi 6-0, 6-0 and Cevera beating 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 she 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,” she said.

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