Twinsburg girls tennis looks toward postseason

Steve Batko
Correspondent

Looking toward possibilities in the rugged Division I post season tournament, the Twinsburg girls tennis squad hopes to surprise after a solid showing at the league tournament.

Twinsburg (9-10 overall) was fourth in the Suburban League National Conference regular season standings.

In the regular season league results, Twinsburg was fourth with a 4-3 mark behind Hudson (7-0), Brecksville (6-1) and Wadsworth (5-2).

To the delight of head coach Chris Kuzas, the Tigers picked up a slot at the final tournament in league action.

The final tournament scoring recently saw Hudson win a league title with 39 tourney points, followed by Brecksville (34), Twinsburg (28), Wadsworth (23) and North Royalton, which had 18 points.

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“We finished the tournament in third-place, putting us in an overall tie for third place for the year with Wadsworth,” said Kuzas.

In the final overall point standings combining the two components of the league championship, Hudson had 16 points to edge Brecksville (14) as well as Twinsburg and Wadsworth, who each compiled 11 points. North Royalton had eight points.

Twinsburg’s first doubles team of senior Ashley Veverka and junior Ella Bleyl garnered league runner up honors as did the second doubles duo of junior Riley Floro and freshman Harika Polamarasetti.

“The first doubles team of Ashley and Ella continued their successful year with a second-place finish in the league tournament,” observed an excited Kuzas.

“Our second doubles team of Riley (Floro) and Harika (Polamarasetti) started off as the sixth seed and also finished in second-place,” added the Tiger coach.

In first doubles action, Veverka and Bleyl were seeded second and after a 6-4, 6-1 win over Brecksville, the Tiger crew lost a tough finals match 6-4, 6-1 to Hudson’s top-seeded team of Samantha Sigler and Emi Uijtewaal.

Floro and Polamarasetti upset second seeded Wadsworth 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 in second doubles action. They lost in the finals to Hudson 6-1, 6-1.

Another Tiger senior, Grace McIlroy, finished third overall in singles action at the tourney.

Competing at third singles, McIlroy was seeded fifth and fell to Brecksville’s top seed Megan Baker (6-0, 6-0), but fought through the consolation brackets to place third with a spirited 6-2, 6-1 victory over third seed, Kristen Butcher, of Wadsworth.

“Grace McIlroy played very well and finished the tournament in third-place,” noted Kuzas.

Second singles senior Shreya Kusumanchi, finished the tournament in fifth place overall as did first singles freshman prospect, Julia Bazarov.

“We have had some ups and downs this year that include a bunch of close team matches,” observed Kuzas.

Sectional Preview:

“Overall, I am excited to see what the girls can do on October 5,” pointed out Kuzas, alluding to the Solon Division I sectional tournament at Solon Community Park. Action begins at 8 a.m.

“Hopefully, we can end the year on a high note,” stressed Kuzas.

“Playing singles for us will be Kusumanchi, Polamarasetti, and Floro,” the coach added. “This will be the first time at sectionals for both Harika (Polamarasetti) and Riley (Floro).”

The competition at Solon will be robust.

“Sectionals this year has some very tough players,” said Kuzas.

“Mayfield’s Hannah Kassaie is one of the best players in the state,” he added. “Also seeded are very good Hudson players in Laura Nijhuis (Suburban League first singles tournament champion), Sunny Fan (also a league tourney champ at second singles), and Solon's number one singles player Niya Freid.”

“I expect our singles players to have some success early on, but it will be incredibly difficult to beat those four players,” added Kuzas, as Hudson’s league runner up at third singles, Erica Liu, also could be in the mix.

Twinsburg could surprise in heated doubles play at Solon.

“Our doubles teams will consist of Ashley Veverka and Grace McIlroy, along with Julia Bazarov and Ella Bleyl,” said the coach.

“Doubles this year could be interesting and there are certainly talented players, but nobody outside of the top seed from Warren Howland is unbeatable,” explained Kuzas.

“Veverka/McIlroy have a solid chance at qualifying for districts if they can win their first match and get past a tough Hudson team in round two while Bazarov/Bleyl have a tougher job, but it is doable if they can win a tough second round match against a Kenston doubles team that qualified for districts last year (they beat Twinsburg’s duo of Sahaj Bhambra and Allison Riley to qualify), and then most likely, the winner of Hudson/Shaker Heights in round three.”

The top qualifiers in sectional play will advance to the district championships at Akron’s Springside Racquet and Fitness Club Oct. 15 at 9 a.m.) and Oct. 17 at 8:30 a.m.).

Other qualifiers will come from sectionals at the Elyria Athletic Complex, Canton’s sectional at Jackson Park in Massillon, and from Springside.