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Published: Friday, 10/18/2013

Notre Dame tennis duo resilient in first round of state tournament

BY JARROD ULREY
SPECIAL TO THE BLADE

COLUMBUS -- Resiliency might be the best way to describe what the Notre Dame doubles team of junior Teagan McNamara and sophomore Alicia Nahhas tried to display at the Division I state doubles tournament Friday at Ohio State.

They had to overcome losing a set to beat New Albany junior Jane Haffer and freshman Alex Cash 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 in the first round.

Then against North Canton Hoover seniors Natalie Bourlas and Nicolette Bourlas, McNamara and Nahhas survived a tough second set to win 6-3, 7-5.

The performances puts the duo into a semifinal tomorrow at Hilliard Davidson against Olentangy Orange sisters Anna Sanford, a senior, and Alle Sanford, a freshman.

“We were more aggressive and we stayed focused,” McNamara said. “We just kept moving our feet and put (losing the second set to New Albany) behind us and tried to pump each other up.”

Last season, McNamara and Nahhas lost to eventual state runners-up Sarah Stein and Emma Stein from Dublin Jerome 6-0, 6-2 in a second-round match.

The duo teamed up for a doubles tournament during the regular season, but McNamara spent most of this season at first singles while Nahhas was at second singles.

“I think I was a lot more calm (than last season),” Nahhas said. “We knew the work that we had to do.”

In Division I singles, Northview senior Megan Miller lost in the second round for the second consecutive season.

Notre Dame junior Nina Eid lost in the first round in Division I singles and the St. Ursula pair of seniors Celina Nowicki and Sydney Seeley fell in the first round in Division I doubles.

Miller opened state by beating Cincinnati Walnut Hills freshman Lilly O’Toole 6-1, 6-1 but lost to Massillon Jackson junior Tessa Hill 6-2, 6-4 in the second round.

“I’ve had an awesome season and I’m really happy with the progress I’ve made,” said Miller, who entered the state tournament undefeated and will play for Bowling Green. “It’s my last tournament in high school and I actually feel like I played really well. I’ve been trying to be more aggressive and more confident.”

Eid lost to Dublin Jerome sophomore Eleanor Bullock 6-0, 6-2 and Nowicki and Seeley lost to junior Audrey Berger and freshman Kyra Jung from Upper Arlington 6-1, 6-0 in first-round matches.

In Division II, Maumee Valley Country Day senior Rochelle Issa lost in the second round and Ottawa Hills sophomore Lilli Boice lost in the first round.

Issa opened with a 6-3, 6-2 win over South Point sophomore Madison Riley but lost to Shaker Heights Hathaway Brown senior Ariana Iranpour 6-1, 6-0 in the second round.

Issa’s only other loss this season was to McNamara in early August.

“My goal all season was to win one match at state,” Issa said. “I lost 15 pounds during the season and worked really hard on my fitness.

“(Iranpour) is tough. She hits the ball big and flat. I’m excited to be here.”

Boice lost to Gahanna Columbus Academy junior Andrea Ballinger 6-0, 6-0 in her opening state match.



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