What better way to highlight a superb career in your senior campaign than to qualify for the district championships in post season high school girls tennis?
Competing in a loaded post season, Twinsburg senior Claudia Nmai gained her second straight district tournament berth by moving on from the Solon Division I sectional tournament.
Tiger head coach Chris Kuzas was excited for Nmai and was pleased with his team’s play at the sectional, which took place Oct. 1 and 2 at Solon Community Park and then due to rain, moving to the Western Reserve Racquet Club in Streetsboro.
"The girls played hard and fought all day at sectionals," saiud Kuzas. "There were some really tough matches, playing against some of the best players in the area."
Nmai, the fourth seed, qualified for districts as he opened with a win (6-4, 6-2) over Cleveland Heights’ Xoe Bly, then won 7-6, 6-0 over Shaker Heights’ Tiffany Hsich, followed by a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Willoughby South’s Lorena Jevnikar.
It was the victory over Jevnikar that clinched a second straight district berth for Nmai.
In the semifinals, Nmai fell 6-0, 6-0 to Painesville Riverside top seed Angelica Ross.
"For the second year in a row, Claudia played well enough in the sectional tournament to place and qualify for the district tournament beginning," said Kuzas.
The Division I District Championships are set for Thursday at Springside Racquet and Fitness Club in Akron.
A team captain, Nmai was 7-9 overall in the regular season at the top singles post, competing against talented players in each match.
"Claudia anchored our team in the regular season playing against some of the top players in the area like Mia Zivkovic (Brecksville state qualifier), Emily Hadler (Medina Highland state qualifier and 3-time league champ), Susie Fan (Hudson district qualifier), Megan McDaniel (Kent Rooseveltís gifted freshman), and Morgan Dobos (Richfield Revere freshman standout)."
Twinsburg also had some solid sectional play in a loaded doubles field.
Junior Krishna Patel and sophomore Ashley Veverka comprised one of the Twinsburg doubles teams and fared quite well in their first full post season.
Patel and Veverka won 6-2, 6-1 over Cleveland Heights and then registered a 6-1, 6-0 victory over a Riverside team before falling 6-0, 6-0 to Solon second seed team of Maggie Yang and Alexis Ratner, who were the sectional runners up.
An experienced junior doubles tandem — Sahaj Bhambra and Allison Riley — also had their moments this fall.
The Tiger duo won 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 over Kenston before losing 6-2, 6-2 in a great match to fourth seed Solon team that placed third.
"Also playing very well this season were the first doubles team of Allison and Sahaj," said the coach.
"As a team, their only regular season losses came to Highland, Brecksville (in three sets), Hudson (in three sets)," added Kuzas. "In tournament play, their only losses came to Hudson and Solon."
Twinsburg junior Aarushi Singh also competed at the sectional. Singh lost 6-4, 4-6, 6-0 to Genevaís Kate Keenan.
Grace McIlroy, a first-year sophomore, played in singles action and fell 6-1, 6-2 to Kenston’s Anna Marthe.
The Lady Tigers went 9-6 overall and 5-2 in the Suburban League National Conference, and finished third overall in the combined meet and tourney standings.
"We did a great job this year in the regular season against league competition as last year, we had a 3-4 league record," said Kuzas. "The two teams we lost to were Brecksville and Hudson, which had very good teams this year."