BINGHAMTON – The month of September seems to be producing harder and more talented competition for the Norwich varsity girls tennis team to face, but they have risen to each and every challenge thus far. The Tornado girls have made it to an impressive 4-0 in their 2016 campaign, handily defeating any and all competition.
With two league wins and two non-league victories Norwich now sits atop the standings as one of the few Section IV teams left with an unblemished record.
Norwich continued their dominance from the Johnson City matchup on August 31, which saw a 7-0 team victory go in favor of Norwich. Since that point, Norwich in the month of September has been on a roll, steamrolling Owego 6-1 on Sept. 7, seeing straight set wins from Makenzie Maynard at first singles (6-2, 6-0); Caroline Stewart at second singles (6-2, 6-3); Samantha Gage at third singles (6-0, 6-0); Cierra Sherman at fourth singles (6-3, 6-2) as well as two wins from first and second doubles, Brooke Steigerwald and Megan Burke at 6-4 and 6-1, and Ava and Olivia Granquist at 6-3, and 6-3, respectively.
This win on the road against Owego would propel Norwich to another win when they hosted the Chenango Valley Warriors on Sept. 9, once again winning in convincing fashion. With a 5-2 team victory, the competition from the Warriors was higher than previous teams had shown, however, Norwich would see their top three singles players – Makenzie Maynard, Caroline Stewart, and Samantha Gage – once again walk away with wins on the day. The first two doubles teams would continue the winning trend for the Tornado, as the duos of Steigerwald and Burke, and the two Granquists would each earn wins at 6-3 and 6-1, followed by a 6-0, 6-0 victory, respectively. Notably all wins in this matchup against CV were won in straight sets.
“Norwich’s top three singles players remained undefeated in match play taking out visiting Chenango Valley 5-2. The Norwich trio gave up a total of four games. Norwich first and second doubles team also remained undefeated giving up only four games. The second doubles team of Ava and Olivia Granquist's strong performance at second doubles did not give up a single game. Norwich travels to Chenango Forks on Monday for a division showdown,” said Norwich head coach John Stewart following the win against CV.
And it was just that on Monday, Sept. 12, a showdown of two of the top teams in Section IV, as Norwich traveled down to the Binghamton area to take on the Blue Devils of Chenango Forks. After Norwich split 3-3 in the match, the undefeated season was on the line when second singles player Caroline Stewart stepped onto the court for the final match. Caroline would face off against Hannah Benscoter for the final team point and the win that was up for grabs. In just two solid sets from Caroline, she defeated Benscoter in straight sets of 6-2 and 6-3, showing poise and control when faced with a formidable opponent.
Norwich would also get wins from third singles player Samantha Gage, who defeated Colleen Samsel in straight sets of 6-1 and 6-3; as well as their first and second doubles teams – Brooke Steigerwald and Megan Burke won 6-2 and 6-2 at first doubles, while Ava Granquist and Olivia Granquist would win a close matchup at 6-4 and 6-1.
All four victories on Monday – Stewart, Gage, Steigerwald and Burke and Ava and Olivia Granquist – successfully ensured that not only the team stayed undefeated but each of those girls at their positions individually are notably still undefeated in 2016...