by Tom Utescher
Shrugging off graduation losses that would have severely hampered most teams, Mount St. Joseph Academy rolled to an undefeated tennis season this fall to capture the Athletic Association of Catholic Academies championship for the fifth year in a row.
The Magic completed a 14-0 sweep through the double-round of league matches by beating visiting Sacred Heart Academy last Wednesday. The Mount had officially clinched the championship the day before, earning a 4-1 home court victory for its second win of the season over its closest competitor in the AACA, runner-up Gwynedd Mercy Academy.
Last spring, the Magic graduated two athletes who had dominated in the singles flights since they were freshmen, as well as one of their top doubles players. Stow Weiss, who was the Mount’s number one for four years, is now playing for St. Joseph’s University.
Current junior Grace Walker, who was stationed at third singles in 2018, moved up to the top spot this fall and lost only two matches the entire season, both to the same player. Coming out of last year’s doubles flights to fill the second singles slot this time around was junior Rachel Zilligen, while freshman Dylan Conroy played third singles. Each of them won all but one match this fall.
Because some postponed league events had to be made up, non-league contests were eliminated from the schedule. All the Mount’s matches, therefore, followed the three-singles/two-doubles AACA format.
The Magic were undefeated in pairs play, with junior Kennedy Cropper and freshman Beth Murray playing first doubles, and junior Nancy Mabry and sophomore Leah Scott in the second flight.
The Mount’s head coach of five seasons, Joy Graffenstine, was gratified to have the 2019 squad extend the Mount’s string of league championships in spite of the many personnel changes in the lineup from the year before.
She remarked, “I was happy to see them do it because, as I told them, it proves you are a good team. Everybody was part of this, not just a couple of players.”