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MHS girls earn Region A tennis crown

Earn trip to state tourney

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Members of the Middlesex High School girls tennis team—2009 Region A Champions—include, front from left, Melissa Balstrulaitis and Jessica Anderson; second row, Stephanie Hutton, Andrea Stevens, Mindy Hurley, Amanda Blake. Amanda Pruett and team manager Ray Harrell; back row, coach Pete Shepherd.

The Middlesex High School girls tennis team swept the Region A finals by winning the singles, doubles and team championships on May 27-28, at the Howard Mast Tennis Center in Suffolk.

It was the first time in MHS tennis history that the Lady Chargers made it to the regional level.

The team was paced by senior Jessica Anderson, who is 15-0 in singles competition this season. Anderson won the Region A singles title with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Sarah Rainey of Appomattox Regional Governor’s School (ARGS). Anderson played 14 sets in two days and lost only two.

“Jessica is on fire,” said MHS coach Pete Shepherd. “If she can get her first serve in consistently, she’s going to be competitive at the state tournament.”

In the team title match, the Lady Chargers down ARGS 5-3. Middlesex and ARGS were tied 3-3 after their six singles matches. Anderson won 6-0, 6-1 for MHS and number three seed Stephanie Hutton “played the game of her life,”said Shepherd, and won 6-0, 6-0. Fifth seed Mindy Hurley also won, 7-5, 4-6, 6-2.

Middlesex’s Melissa Baltrusaitis lost her singles match 6-3, 6-2; Amanda Blake lost 6-4, 2-6, 6-4; and Amanda Pruett lost 6-3, 6-1.

The Lady Chargers then won two doubles matches to clinch the team competition. Anderson and Baltrusaitis won their doubles match, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3; and Hutton and Blake won 6-4, 6-2. 

“Stephanie and Amanda played the best tennis that I’ve seen from them this season,” said Shepherd. 

The Lady Chargers had been beaten twice by ARGS in the regular season, the first time by a score of 8-1.

Andrea Stevens and Mindy Hurley were winning their doubles match 6-2, 3-0 when the match was stopped because Middlesex had already clinched the team win.

Anderson and Baltrusaitis won the Region A doubles championship on Wednesday, May 27. The MHS duo defeated Sarah Rainey and Kayla Upadhyaya of ARGS 6-4, 6-2 in the title match. Earlier in the day, Anderson and Baltrusaitis defeated Rappahannock’s Jessica Bronner and Bergen Hubert 6-4, 6-3 in the semifinals. 

In singles competition, Anderson defeated Jessica Bronner of Rappahannock 6-4, 6-7 (4-7), 6-1 in the semifinals, and Sarah Rainey of ARGS in the finals 6-2, 6-4.

“I can’t say enough of how proud I am of these girls,” said Shepherd.  “When it came time to play, they were determined to win.”

The entire Middlesex team has earned a berth in the State Group A Tournament that will be played today, Friday and Saturday, June 4-6, at Radford University.

Undefeated in singles play this season, Anderson will play undefeated freshman Grace Sarver of Bland County High School at 9 a.m. today, June 4.

In team competition, the Lady Chargers will play Wilson Memorial at 9 a.m. Friday in the semifinals.

The doubles tournament also starts on Friday.

The championship matches will be played on Saturday. 

posted 06.03.2009

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