By: Drew Hendrickson, Director of Tennis, Fitness, and Summer Programs

In the latest round of team tennis matches, the Fredrick defended their undefeated record, the Curley defended their home court, and the McCormack snapped their losing streak (kind of).

The Melnea Cass Center is quickly becoming known as the House that Burke Built. Coach Brianna Burke has led the Frederick on a winning streak, the likes of which are rarely seen in a Middle School Tennis League known for its parity.

In their match against the Umana on November 16th, the Frederick won both doubles matches. 7th graders Myasia King (subbed out mid-match)/Nevaeh Melendez and Jade Moses won 6-4 over Umana 7th graders Leslie Bonilla and Sam Sierra. In second doubles, Frederick’s Selam Bekele and Owen Turner defeated Umana’s Margarito “Rito” Arbaiza and Luis Pena.

“They are clearly a well-coached squad with a lot of mental toughness,” seethed Umana Coach Caitlin Cataldo, who went on to list a series of excuses off the record

The Curley also defended their “Lion’s Den” against the Irving in their November 15th match.

The raucous scene at the Curley prompted one Irving student to wonder why their team didn’t have posters and a banner to charge through.
“That’s what home court advantage is all about,” responded Irving Coach Tristan Norbert.

Coach Norbert’s squad hung tough against adversity, splitting the first two matches. In the second singles slot, Irving 7th grader Angel Vega fought from a 5-2 deficit to upset Curley’s Amari Brown-Sweeting, 6-5. That match kept hope alive for the Warriors, but Curley swept the doubles matches and went on to a 3-1 victory.

The JMann Tigers hosted the McCormack Panthers at Ringer Park on Friday November 18th. The match ended in a tie. McCormack’s Patrick Dasilva and Roberto Murcia took the first doubles match 6-4 defeating 6th grader Lilu Malloy and 7th grader Hajira Aden. And in the second, JMann 6th graders Ayra Haniff and Daisy Ogbesoyen won 6-1 over Djimmy Brotus and Emma Velez.

The tie is the first non-loss for the McCormack, but Coach Joe Ruggles seemed neither buoyed nor crestfallen at the result. When asked for a quote about the match, McCormack Coach Joe Ruggles said he is combing his roster for his best players. He concluded his text with this word: “PALACE.”

“Palace” is a reference to the Crystal Palace Hoop Squad, a successful men’s basketball team of which Joe is a part. His reference to the team here is at once casual and provocative. Could he be harkening the competitive fortitude of this high achieving team for inspiration? Or is his mind merely wandering to greener pastures as his team remains at the bottom of the MSTL standings?

These and other questions will likely be answered at the upcoming Rising Stars Tournament and the Holiday Classic.

On December 9th at 4pm at the Harvard Murr Center, every MSA tennis team will bring their top four 6th grade players to the Rising Stars round robin doubles tournament.

On December 16th at 4pm, also at the Harvard Murr Center, every MSA tennis team will bring six standouts from all grades to compete in the Holiday Classic.

Your attendance at these events would be much appreciated. At these events, this year’s various storylines will either come to their logical resolutions or grow into deeper narratives that will continue to captivate the loyal fans of the Tenacity Middle School Tennis League.