MILFORD – The girls’ tennis squad aspires to win the Henlopen Conference southern division this year, and a 4-1 victory over Sussex Central Wednesday, April 12 puts the team one step closer to that goal.
The win improves the team’s overall record to 3-3, one win behind the division leading 4-3 Indian River Indians.
“I’m always impressed when we’re battling with the northern schools,” head coach Jacquelyn Powers said of her team’s win over Central. “They fought hard today, my girls are dedicated, they stay to the end, persevere. They fought through it today, had a good match with Central, good win. So we’re 3-3 now moving forward. Our goal is to come back and get Indian River for that southern title.”
Seniors Madison Rogers (first singles player), Brianna Redlich (second singles player) and Megan Stevenson (third singles player) picked up victories during the match.
Rogers, who has made the jump from No. 3 singles player last year to No. 1 singles player and co-captain this year, beat Central’s Luisa Cadeza 6-3 6-3.
“It feels really good to get the win, especially today,” Rogers said. “It was a little more challenging than we thought it was going to be. I think we overestimated ourselves and it kind of backfired, but we still were able to pull it off.”
About eight hours earlier, Madison had signed her letter of intent to extend her tennis career at Shenandoah University. She’s only played the game since her sophomore year of high school, but has seen her skills progress over the last few years.
“She’s incredible,” coach Powers said of her No. 1 singles player. “She’s extremely coachable, she works so hard every day to get better. Every practice she’s leading the team and doing what she needs to do to improve herself. Even this time of the year, being a senior with all of those obligations, all three of my seniors have put this as a priority and have given it all they have every day.”
The No. 2 singles player, Brianna, was the first to finish her match Wednesday afternoon, defeating Central’s Kelly Orledge 6-0 6-4.
Brianna also started playing her sophomore year of high school and has seen a lot of improvement in her game as well. After playing first doubles as a junior, Brianna made the jump to No. 2 singles this spring.
Megan, the No. 3 singles player and co-captain with Madison, defeated Central’s Gabrielle Metzingar 10-8 6-3. Megan teamed with Brianna to form the No. 1 doubles pair last year.
The first of two doubles matches ended with a fourth Milford victory. Sophomores Jasmine Wright and Jessica Gabriel Perez defeated Central’s Mariah Kollock and Jade Taylor 6-4 6-2.
It’s the first year Wright and Perez have played together, but both girls claim it didn’t take long for them to get along and play well together this season. The duo began the season 3-0 and Wednesday’s victory puts the pair at 4-2 on the season.
In the second doubles match, Central’s Marlea Postoia and Karen Ventura defeated Milford’s Emily Sylvester and Lauren Becton in a close 6-4 6-4.
Milford will now have back-to-back tough matches against Northern Division opponents Caesar Rodney (Tuesday, April 25) and Cape Henlopen (Thursday, April 27).
“As long as they keep working hard and they’re improving every week, that’s all we can ask for,” said coach Powers.
Sports Editor Ben Heck can be reached at email@example.com.