Just after winning at Gwynedd Mercy Academy to clinch the Catholic Academies championship for the fourth year in a row, the Mount St. Joseph Academy tennis team celebrates with the 2018 trophy. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

by Tom Utescher

In a road match at Gwynedd Mercy last Wednesday, Mount St. Joseph Academy clinched its fourth consecutive Athletic Association of Catholic Academies. The last three wins were much harder to come by than the first two, but eventually the Magic completed a 5-0 victory over the host Monarchs.

Overcoming Gwynedd for the second time this season, the Mounties climbed to a 13-0 league record, and even with a rematch with Nazareth Academy remaining on the schedule, Mount St. Joe could no longer be caught by the second-place Monarchs, who closed out their AACA campaign at 12-2.

Stow Weiss, the Mount’s senior number one and a Division I college prospect, hasn’t lost a match all season. Last week at Gwynedd she was the first player to finish, going 6-0, 6-1 against the hosts’ Kelsie Van Thuyne. Not too long after that, the Magic was leading 2-0 in the team score thanks to a win at third singles by sophomore Grace Walker, who topped Tess Flanigan of Gwynedd, 6-2, 6-1.

Visiting fans had to wait some time before a third successful outcome allowed the Mount to lock up the team victory. At second singles, MSJ senior Elizabeth Christine had only lost two games while defeating GMA’s Bella Kellner when the teams first met nearly a month earlier. This time, Christine took the first set at 6-2, but Kellner gave her a real battle in the second, pulling even at 6-6 before Christine prevailed in a tiebreaker, 7-4.

The Monarchs also provided stiff resistance in the doubles bouts, splitting sets this time after succumbing in straight sets in both matches back in early September. MSJ senior Liz Meister and sophomore Rachel Zilligen prevailed in the first flight, 7-5, 2-6, 6-4.

After the second doubles players split sets, Magic senior Lilly Doyle and sophomore Alexis Tran jumped ahead 5-2 in the third-set tiebreaker, but they didn’t finally wrap up the win until the score reached 10-8.

Still, the final reckoning was the same as it had been in almost every match this fall, 5-0 in favor of the Mount. Head coach Joy Grafenstine has had her teams capture the AACA crown in each of her four seasons at the school.