CCHS, BHS lead state tennis qualifiers

Central Catholic and Berwick High schools will lead the local contingent into the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s state tennis tournament, which begins Wednesday.

Central Catholic qualified its entire girls’ squad, while Berwick qualified a majority of its ladies’ squad. Both finished runner-up at regional play last week.

Morgan City also qualified John Pontiff in boys’ singles play and the doubles team of Eliannys Cabrera and Savannah Loupe.

The three teams will head to the University of Monroe where they will participate in the state tournament in their respective classes.

Class 1A

Central Catholic eighth-grader Emma Thomas entered the Division V, Region 3 tournament unseeded but ended the tournament as the last singles’ female standing.

Thomas defeated Madison Lachney of Christian Life, 6-0, 6-0 before taking down Massey Demmes of Country Day, 6-3, 6-0 in the semifinals.

In the finals, she defeated Victoria Waguespack of Country Day, 6-3, 4-6, 6-1.

The finals match lasted two hours and 40 minutes (high school matches average an hour and 20 minutes) and Thomas had to keep her focus while fighting wind from Lake Pontchartrain and the sun to stay focused.

CCHS coach Scott Rhodes, who has coached the squad for eight years, said this is CCHS’ first finals victory in the singles’ regional in at least the last 10 years.

And Thomas won it at a complex that Rhodes said has some of the windiest conditions because it is near Lake Pontchartrain.

“I don’t know the statistics exactly, but an eighth grader winning the singles is a feat that I have never seen in any classification,” he said.

He said that in the past 10 years, it’s probably the biggest win for CCHS tennis, regardless of gender.

In other CCHS tennis action, the doubles’ squad of Jaclyn Garber and Kate Patterson lost to Tsana Demmas and Adele Perino of Country Day in the semifinals, 6-3, 6-3.

The CCHS duo made it to the final four after defeating Marie Marine and McKenzi Rodrigue of Ascension Catholic, 6-1, 6-1.

In other girls’ action, CCHS’ doubles team of Jessica Landry and Brooke Picou lost to Lily Lupkin and Shay Westman from Country Day, 6-4, 6-4.

In boys’ action, CCHS’ boys all fell in their initial singles’ and doubles’ matches.

In singles’ action, CCHS’ Conner Hebert lost to James Conatser of St. Martin’s, 6-0, 6-2, while Sal Grizzaffi lost to Robert Livaudais of Country Day, 6-0, 6-0.

In doubles’ action, Luke Patterson and Quinlan Duffy lost to Zachary Castellucio and Doug Hartigan of St. Martin’s, 5-7, 6-3, 6-4; Noah Osburn and Brandon Anslum lost to Rivers Bruce and Nick Phillips of St. Martin’s 6-4, 5-7, 6-3; and Luca Grizzaffi and Zachary Osburn lost to Price Ciolino and Kell Kelleher of Country Day, 6-0, 4-6, 6-1.

Class 3A

The Berwick High School tennis squad finished in second place at the Division III (3A) Region 2 tennis tournament last week in Baton Rouge and advanced both singles’ and doubles’ representatives to the finals.

In the singles competition, Berwick’s Morgan Mitchell fell in the finals to Basia Walters of West Feliciana, 6-4, 6-0, while in the doubles’ finals, the team of Natalee Benson and Laura Schmit of Notre Dame defeated the Berwick duo of Anne Lee Parsiola and Claire Parsiola, 6-2, 6-2.

The Parsiolas advanced to the finals with a 6-2, 6-3 victory against Notre Dame’s Samantha Spallino and Gabby Romero, while Benson-Schmid advanced after defeating Kelly Loung-Elizabeth Dauzet of Parkview, 6-1, 6-0.

Berwick narrowly missed the team title with 13 points, just behind first-place finisher Notre Dame, who totaled 14 points.

Mitchell and Signe Parsiola, who entered regionals as the third seed, will advance to state competition along with the doubles team of the Parsiola sisters, and Carolyn Sanford and Mary Sanford. The Sanfords, the fourth seed at the regionals, won the consolation bracket to qualify for state.

“I think going in we were very confident because our girls have played strong all year,” BHS coach Charlotte Menard said of regionals. “It’s very nice to take almost the whole team to state.”

Class 4A

Pontiff, Cabrera and Loupe qualified for state competition during the Division II, Region III tournament at Renaissance Health and Racquet Club in Houma last week.

Pontiff qualified for state after making it to the semifinals as the tournament’s fifth seed. After receiving a bye in the first tournament, Pontiff won matches against South Terrebonne and Assumption before falling in the semifinals to Vandebilt Catholic eighth-grader Mitchell Thomas, the regional’s second seed, 7-5, 6-4.

“John is the strongest player on the team and has the best chance to make it the furthest in the state tournament in Monroe,” coach Jordy Dover said.

On the girls’ side, sophomores Cabrera and Loupe qualified for state with wins against opponents from South Terrebonne and Assumption before falling to Ursuline.

Cabrera and Loupe were the team’s first- and second-seed singles team at the beginning of the year but have combined their play and have jelled nicely, Dover said.

Vandebilt boys’ and girls’ tennis teams swept the team titles. Morgan City finished fifth with five points in the boys’ competition and sixth with three points in the girls’ competition.

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