The Mason girls’ tennis team served up some revenge at the Greater Miami Conference Finals today.
The Comets entered the GMC as the top seed, with a perfect 9-0 conference record under their sleeve. Defeating one of their biggest rivals and last year’s winner – Sycamore – in three of their four finals matches today, Mason was able to walk out with a GMC championship.
The tournament started on Thursday, September 26, when six out of the seven players from Mason secured a spot in today’s finals.
The team started its quest for the GMC title on Thursday with freshman Lizzy Kong, senior Lynn Kelly, and freshman Amanda Huser playing singles and senior double players Radhika Pandit and Haley Hopkins, and senior Nina Cepeda and freshman Isabel Cepeda.
The first two wins of the day came from Huser and the Cepeda sisters. According to the Nina, the team’s undefeated season was not an assurance that they would succeed.
“At the beginning of the match, we were actually very nervous, very tight,” Nina said. “[We] had to rely on…pumping each other up and really focus[ing] on not getting negative.”
That strategy seemed to work for the Cepedas, as they won their match in straight sets against Sycamore. But after Pandit and Hopkins lost their doubles match in the third set, Mason needed one more win to capture the GMC.
This pressure landed on Lynn Kelly as she battled Maggie Skwara from Sycamore – the deciding match on whether Mason would win the GMC.
Although Kelly lost the first set, Nina said she remained optimistic.
“Lynn is very good at coming back as a singles player,” Nina said.
Kelly did end up making a strong comeback and winning the next two sets – she said her tough perseverance today came from her past experience, team support, and this year being her last playing for the GMC.
Head coach Mike Reid said he feels thrilled and fortunate to have hard-working players on his team, but he knows the road to State won’t be easy. He said the team will continue to prepare as much as possible for their next level of play.
According to Pandit, though she lost her own match, the overall GMC win is exciting and inspiring for the girls trying to advance to State.
“I’m really happy that we won,” Pandit said. “We’re gonna work a lot harder… and [today’s win will] just make our team stronger and hopefully go to state.”