Lady Panthers are state runners-up
By GEOFF STOUTE
MONROE — Just as it had last year when it won the Division 3 state tennis title, the deciding factor came down to a state finals doubles’ match for the Lady Panthers.
While in 2012, the Lady Panthers’ Claire Parsiola and Anne Lee Parsiola claimed the doubles title to break a tiebreaker with E.D. White and win the state title, this year was even more intense as the Lady Panthers’ doubles team of Mary Margaret Sanford and Claire Parsiola had split the first two matches, tied in the third and were forced to play a tiebreaker.
Unfortunately for the local squad, the Notre Dame team won the tiebreaker 7-2 and in turn had enough points to edge the Lady Panthers, 11-10 in team scoring for the state team title.
While naturally they were hoping for a repeat state title, Berwick coach Gina Sanford said when it was all said and done, she was happy with a runner-up finish.
In that match, Parsiola-Sanford won the first set 6-1 before dropping the second set 4-6 before taking the third set 6-7 with a 7-2 tiebreaker.
In the doubles’ finals, coach Sanford said Parisola-Sanford “came out strong and were holding their ground” before Notre Dame elevated its play.
“I was on pins and needles. We all were,” coach Sanford said of the finals’ match.
Sanford and Parsiola finished as state runners-up.
They advanced to the state finals after defeating another doubles’ team from Notre Dame earlier Tuesday, 6-4, 6-4.
“They were down 3-0 in the first set, and came back to beat them 6-4,” coach Sanford said.
The Berwick duo, the top seed, had a first-round bye Monday before beating a team from Jennings, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 and another Notre Dame squad, 6-4, 6-3 on Monday to advance to the state semifinals
The Sanford-Parsiola duo weren’t the only Berwick representatives to advance deep in the tournament bracket.
In singles’ play, Signe Parsiola, fell to No. 2 seed Alex Donner from E.D. White in the state semifinals, 6-2, 2-6, 3-6.
“She came out strong and fought to the very end,” coach Sanford said of Parsiola. “She gave it all she had and Alex held on and fought back.”
Signe Parsiola advanced to the semifinals after defeating Lizzie Robichaux from Notre Dame, 6-1, 6-1 and Colleen Barnett from Loyola Prep, 6-0, 7-5, in the quarterfinals.
“She had to fight for her quarterfinal win,” coach Sanford said.
In other doubles’ action, Berwick’s Emma Gray and Allis Armato drew a first-round bye and beat another team 6-4, 6-2, from Caldwell before falling to a squad from E.D. White, 2-6, 6-2, 6-2.
While coach Sanford said the doubles’ team started off slow, she said Gray-Armato “learned how to play against them” and noted they “dominated” the second set.
As for the E.D. White doubles’ team, coach Sanford said they had been to state before and made adjustments against Gray and Armato.
“I think they were pretty tough,” she said.
The Berwick doubles’ team of Shereen Richard and Abby Ledet fell to a team from E.D. White, 7-5, 4-6, 6-3.
Coach Sanford said while she thought her squad had figured out what they needed to do for success against E.D. White, E.D. White came back and took the final set.
In girls singles’ action, Berwick’s Caroline Sanford beat E.D. White’s Morgan Berthelot, 6-4, 6-3, before falling to Jennings’ Kate Hollier, 6-1, 6-3.
“She could play some ball,” coach Sanford said of Hollier. “And Caroline was a little timid in this match, but Caroline gave her all and tried her best. The girl just outplayed her.”
Berwick’s lone male representative, Andre Adams, fell in the first round to Notre Dame’s Andrew Kondert, 6-1, 6-0.
“He had a tough draw,” coach Sanford said. “He played a guy from Notre Dame. … Andre, being new to this, got some great experience, and I think he learned a lot.”
Coach Sanford will lose three senior boys from this year’s tennis squad, Evan Boudreaux, VC Caruso and Chaz Russo as well as three members of the girls’ squad, Carolyn Sanford, Richard and Ledet.
She said she would miss all of them.