Tennis roundup: Northville girls net third state title in four years
A year after tying Midland Dow for the Division 1 state title in girls tennis, Northville returned for the crown, its third in four seasons.
Northville won the championship with 32 points while Dow totaled 30 and not far behind was Bloomfield Hills with 28.
Heading into the second day of finals action, Northville held a slight lead over Dow and Bloomfield Hills but took care of business against the two schools nipping at its heels in the standings.
Head coach Linda Jones credited crucial singles wins by Tori Mady and Renee Torres in head-to-head matchups with Dow as well as an upset win by Maya Mulchandani over the 4-seed in No. 4 singles as the difference in the final standings, calling it 'fabulous tennis.'
Moreover, No. 1 doubles, led by Serena Wang and Sophie Zhuang, and the No. 4 doubles, led by Connie Gao and Sneha Ganan, each won state titles, earning Northville much-needed points.
"No. 1 doubles was a 1-seed and never lost a set this weekend. They played like champs," Jones said. "No. 4 doubles was a 2-seed playing Midland Dow in the final. That match was critical because that win secured our state championship title. This team lost to Dow in April in straight sets and did not expect to win today. But they had a can-do attitude and won in straight sets — just marvelous."
Before Jones and her staff took over in 2014, Northville wasn't even on the map in the girls' tennis landscape. Three state titles and a runner-up finish later, Northville seems to have found the recipe for success: scheduling tough teams early in the year.
"We seek out top-10 teams," Jones said. "I told the girls (before the finals), 'there's no team out here that you haven't played.'"
That tough schedule has paid off with another state title.
Not far behind Northville, maybe a singles or doubles win away from making things interesting was Bloomfield Hills in third place.
The pressure was on Bloomfield Hills heading into the final day to play perfect tennis just to keep pace with Northville, head coach Chris Dobson said.
"No question (there was added pressure)," Dobson said. "We had Northville in five semifinals. If we could flip just one of those, it could have made the difference. It was that close."
Although the first team state title in school history evaded Bloomfield Hills, Dobson was pleased with the way his team showed up.
"There was no match that got away from us," Dobson said. "I feel like our girls performed well. We look strong next year."
Tia Mukherjee won No. 1 singles and Jenna Silverman won No. 4 singles state titles for Bloomfield Hills.
Bloomfield Hills, like the rest of Division 1, will be chasing one team in particular next season.
"Wow, I think next year is going to be interesting," Jones said. "I think we're going to be tough again next year."
Birmingham Marian won its fourth Division 2 state title since 2010 with 27 points, edging out East Grand Rapids, 26, and Birmingham Seaholm, 23.
Seaholm won the No. 4 singles, No. 1 doubles, No. 2 doubles, No. 3 doubles and No. 4 doubles state titles. Marian made the finals in four flights and East Grand Rapids came away with the No. 1 singles and No. 3 singles state titles.
Birmingham Groves (No. 7), Royal Oak (No. 12), Allen Park (No. 14), Trenton (No. 18), South Lyon East (No. 21) and Taylor Kennedy (No. 21) each placed in the state finals as well.
Running away with the Division 3 championship, its third straight, was Detroit Country Day with 38 points. Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood finished second with 22 points and Ada Forest Hills Eastern was third with 21.
Country Day won No. 1 through No. 4 singles state titles as well as No. 1, No. 3 and No. 4 doubles. Cranbrook-Kingswood was the only other team to take home a title in No. 2 doubles.
Pontiac Notre Dame Prep finished 16th and Dearborn Divine Child finished 18th.
Bloomfield Hills Academy of the Sacred Heart won its fifth state championship since 2012 with 32 points. Traverse City St. Francis finished second with 25 and Jackson Lumen Christi was third with 20.
The Academy of the Sacred Heart won each of the four doubles state championships as well as the No. 3 singles.
Ann Arbor Greenhills finished fourth (19 points), Royal Oak Shrine Catholic 15th (6), Clarkston Everest Collegiate 16th (5) and Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett 20th (3).
Connor Muldowney isafreelance writer