by Tom Utescher
A week after this year’s relatively late Labor Day, Mount St. Joseph Academy’s tennis team was already starting in on its second round of league matches in the Athletic Association of Catholic Academies.
With last Monday’s 5-0 victory over visiting Villa Maria, the Magic maintained an unblemished record within the AACA, climbing to a mark of 8-0. With one non-league encounter with Springfield High School added in, the Mount was 9-0 overall.
Mount St. Joe’s closest league bout had come six days earlier, when the Magic won on the road at Villa Joseph Marie, pulling out a 3-2 win after one of their singles players had to withdraw due to illness. A day later, the local racquetwomen overcame defending AACA champ Gwynedd Mercy Academy, 4-1.
Gwynedd had suffered a number of graduation losses from 2014, and while the Mount is missing nine girls who were on the roster last fall, the Magic have recovered nicely as talented newcomers have filled in some of the gaps in the line-up. The new arrivals, along with the overall depth of the MSJ program, have kept the Magic cooking right along for first-year head coach Joy Grafenstine.
In last week’s second meeting with the Villa Maria Hurricanes, there were no Roberta Vinci-style upsets. Instead, the Mounties were able to duplicate the 5-0 outcome they achieved in their season opener at Villa back on August 24. The weather was sunny and comfortable for last week’s rematch, with low humidity and a little hint of autumn in the air.
Mount freshman number one Stow Weiss went past visitor Kate Sweeney in a pair of 6-0 sets, and one rung down the ladder MSJ junior Julianne Dishler dispatched Reagan Hatcher, 6-3, 6-2. Another ninth-grader, Elizabeth Christine, cruised by Villa’s Cecillia Logan, 6-1, 6-0.
On the whole, the doubles matches were closer, but Mount St. Joe still won both contests in straight sets. Juniors Katie O’Sullivan and Ali Nowak, who played doubles together in 2014, put up scores of 6-3, 6-2 at first doubles against the Hurricanes’ Brenna Murray and Kaylee Ouimet. In the second flight, it was Mount sophomore Maddie Walsh and junior Meredith Fink over visitors Jacquelyn Shanley and Allie Monaco, 6-1, 6-4.