Last season, the Central Catholic girls tennis team reached milestones when it defeated rivals Notre Dame and St. Ursula for the first time, then won its first City League championship.
Sunday at Jermain Park, the Irish put an exclamation point on the progress of their program, sweeping Notre Dame in all five finals matches on the way to repeating their CL title.
Combined with its CL dual-match points, Central totaled 50 points in the final standings to take the crown. Notre Dame was the league runner-up at 44, St. Ursula took third at 37, and Clay was fourth at 33.
The Irish were undefeated in regular-season CL dual matches, and posted 40 points in the league tournament, which began on Thursday and was extended to Sunday from Saturday's rain postponement.
Notre Dame's Eagles were next at 35, while third-place St. Ursula had 29 tourney points.
“Last year was closer, but it still felt pretty close today,” said 10th-year Central head coach Lisa Bialorucki. “It was great to come out with a win.”
In 2009, Notre Dame was also runner-up in the tournament, but posted titles at No. 3 singles and No. 1 doubles.
“Six of our top seven from last year came back, so we definitely had experience on our side,” Bialorucki said. “Having that confidence from winning it last year, we came in this year knowing it was something that we could achieve.
“The girls are more mature, and more confident playing this year.”
Sisters Morgan and Sydney Delp led the way for Central, taking titles in dominant fashion in a pair of Delp-versus-McNamara, all-sisters finals for the second straight No. 1 and No. 2 singles, respectively.
Senior Morgan Delp defeated Eagles senior Megan McNamara by a 6-1, 6-1 count, while junior Sydney Delp topped Notre Dame sophomore Kerigan McNamara, 6-1, 6-0.
“They certainly are a pleasure to coach,” Bialorucki said of the Delp sisters, who repeated their respective CL titles at No. 1 and No. 2 singles. “They lead the team, they're great girls, they work really hard, and they know how to play the game. They lead by example.”
At No. 3 singles, Irish senior Anna Scherting bested Notre Dame senior Tassa Christides 6-1, 6-1 in the title match.
In the doubles finals, the Irish team of senior Maria Mitchell and junior Shannon O'Hearn outlasted the Eagles senior duo of Ashton Genzman and Taylor Smietanksi in a hard-fought No. 1 final, 6-4, 6-7, 7-5.
The Central pair of senior McKenna Hunter and junior Lexi Brown triumphed over Notre Dame junior Meredith Smietanski and sophomore Lindsay Clark, 6-1, 6-4 in the No. 2. final.
Mitchell and O'Hearn won the CL title at No. 2 doubles last year.
— Steve Junga