Home Local Sports Ursuline doubles, Archmere singles bring home tennis state championships

Ursuline doubles, Archmere singles bring home tennis state championships

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Evelyn Parsonage and Caroline Peach won the DIAA first doubles championship in straight sets on May 25 in Middletown. They finished the season undefeated. Dialog photo/Mike Lang

MIDDLETOWN — Ursuline’s first doubles team of Evelyn Parsonage and Caroline Peach motored through the first set of their state championship match on May 25 at St. Andrew’s School in Middletown, defeating Dover’s Janelle Gyambibi and Malini Lodhavia, 6-0. They were up, 3-0, in the second set when the Lady Senators turned the tide.

Gyambibi and Lodhavia won the next two games, but Parsonage and Peach broke serve in to cancel the Dover duo’s momentum and extend the lead to 4-2. After winning another game, the Raiders stormed out to a 40-0 advantage, leading to match point.

At that point, Parsonage began thinking of how the match could end, but she didn’t want to get ahead of herself.

“I was like, ‘I need to stay focused. I can’t think too far ahead.’ I really didn’t try to think about it until I was certain the ball wasn’t coming back over, and then I just wanted to turn to Caroline and jump in the air and celebrate,” she said.

Evelyn Parsonage and Caroline Peach celebrate after their win. Dialog photo/Mike Lang

The end came when Parsonage, playing up front, dropped a shot to the left of the Dover players, and they could not generate a return. Parsonage and Peach thus completed an undefeated season on the state’s biggest stage.

Parsonage said the pair wasn’t too worried when the Lady Senators took those two games in the second set.

“I think we were just going through fatigue, getting a little complacent maybe, so we just talked to each other,” she said. “We decided to just talk amongst ourselves instead of taking a coaching break because we know how to pump each other back up. All it took was increasing the level of intensity again and keeping our heads in the game instead of thinking what could happen.”

Parsonage, a junior, and Peach, a sophomore, have known each other a few years and have played against each other, but this was the first season they teamed up. Peach said it didn’t take too much for them to adjust to being doubles partners.

“Our styles really complement each other. Evelyn’s more of an up player, I’m more of a baseline player,” she said.

The pair also was thrilled with the support they received at St. Andrew’s. Along with their teammates, other Ursuline students turned out, as did family members.

“It really means a lot. I think it’s so great that so many of my friends and family showed up to support us,” Peach said.

Brianna Yang

They entered the state tournament as the second seed in first doubles. They defeated No. 3 Tower Hill in the semifinals, needing extra points in a 6-2, 7-6 (8-6) victory. This season, the Raiders went 12-3.

Archmere had two finalists in the girls’ singles events. At second singles, freshman Brianna Yang, the third seed, gave top-seeded Alexis Montana of Wilmington Friends a battle before falling, 6-4, 6-0. And in third singles, junior Maggie Roberts, the No. 2 seed, lost to the No. 1 seed, Ava Vu of Caesar Rodney, 6-2, 6-1. The Auks’ girls finished the season 13-1.

Maggie Roberts

Speaking of Archmere, they had a repeat state champion at first singles among the boys. Andy Zhu, the No. 1 seed, defeated third-seeded Darin Jawahar of Caesar Rodney, 6-0, 6-1, giving him two titles at first singles in two tries.

“I was consistent. I held my serve, which was a good sign, and I got a break,” Zhu said. “I got the momentum, and I guess it just kept going from there.”

Kept my head in the game. I didn’t at any moment think I was going to win the match until it was actually over.”

Andy Zhu won boys first singles for the second consecutive year. Dialog photo/Mike Lang

His title ended a successful season for the Auks. The boys went 13-2, with their only losses coming to Tower Hill and Wilmington Charter, who happened to finish first and second, respectively, in the state championship. Archmere and Caesar Rodney tied for third.

“Our team did amazing, much better than last year. Our second singles guy, Ben Wei, he’s a great player. He made it to the semifinals, but lost to Charter unfortunately. But it was a great match. Our third singles is Charlie Rittereiser, he also made it to the semifinals. He had a great match with Charter,” Zhu said.