Berwick begins play at state tourney

While they began state competition today at the Louisiana High School Athletic Association State tennis tournament in Monroe, Berwick coach Charlotte Menard said that for the most part, her squad played the toughest competition it will face at its Region Tournament last week.

If that’s any indication of what the squad can expect out of its state performance, the Lady Panthers should be pretty confident.

During play last week at Division III, Region 2 tennis tournament, Berwick narrowly missed a team title as it finished with 13 points, just behind first-place finisher Notre Dame, who totaled 14 points.

Both in singles play and doubles’ competition, the squad finished as runners-up with a second doubles’ team winning the consolation bracket.

Heading to state now, Menard said that besides E.D. White and whatever unknown surprises could pop up at state, she expects that her squad has already faced its toughest competition.

Now, they just have to finish the job.

In singles competition, Berwick’s Morgan Mitchell fell in the finals to Basia Walters of West Feliciana.

Mitchell, who advanced to state in singles in her first year playing alone after advancing last year as a doubles’ teammate of Anne Lee Parsiola, said she was surprised how she did at regionals.

“I didn’t expect to go as far as I did,” she said. “I wanted to work a lot this year because I was changing to singles, and I think I did that. I think I helped improve myself.”

While she has excelled in singles, Mitchell said it wasn’t easy.

“I had to learn that I had to be quicker,” she said. “I had to cover more range.”

Besides success at state, Mitchell said she wants competition.

“I like to play a match that will last me hours so I have a hard time but once I finish and if I win, I feel very accomplished, but if I lose, I know I played a hard enough match,” she said.

Fellow senior Parsiola has teamed with her younger sister, freshman Claire Parsiola, to return to state in doubles’ competition this year.

“It’s a lot of fun because you get to compete against some of the best people in the state,” A. Parsiola said.

At regionals, the sisters fell in the finals to Notre Dame’s Samantha Spallino and Gabby Romero, 6-2, 6-3.

While both sisters said they did well, they said that they could have performed better.

“I think we did good,” C. Parsiola said. “We could have done better, but I think we were having a pretty off day our second day.”

As for state, the younger Parsiola said she hopes she and her sister perform well to send her sister out on a positive note.

The Parsiolas are already off to a good start as they beat a squad from Loyola Prep, 6-0, 6-1 this morning.

Another doubles combo of sisters, Carolyn Sanford and Mary Sanford, also advanced to state competition.

After losing in their first round matchup at regionals, the duo rebounded and won the consolation bracket to advance.

“I thought we did pretty good,” M. Sanford said. “We played the No. 1 team and that’s who we lost to. I was really disappointed about losing that one. I’m just glad we get to go (to state).”

Both sisters hope to perform their best and win at least one match at state.

Both the Sanfords and Parsiolas said they consider it an advantage to play with a sister other than a teammate because they can be more open with their sibling.

“If you’re playing with someone who is your friend or something like that, you don’t want to get mad at them because you lose, but because it’s your sister, you get mad at them all the time,” C. Parsiola said smiling. “So it doesn’t matter. I can tell her something, and she won’t take it to heart, because she knows we’re just playing tennis.”

Berwick also qualified Signe Parsiola, sister of C. Parsiola and A. Parsiola, in singles’ competition.

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