A pair of Prince George's County tennis players recorded significant firsts Friday on a hot afternoon at the University of Maryland, College Park's tennis courts in the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association state tournament.
Charles H. Flowers High School senior Myron Davis reached the state semifinals in boys' singles for the first time during his four-year tenure, while Surrattsville's Cierra Plummer became the first player from the school to win a match in the state tournament. Plummer beat Tuscarora's Ana Chernova, 6-2, 6-0 in the first round for the historic win.
“To get this far my first time, I was in shock. When I got to regionals, I didn't know what to expect and I pulled it out there. Then I came here and I was like 'wow,'” Plummer said.
Plummer lost to the top-seeded singles player in the second round, however, falling 6-2, 6-2 to Paige Olson from Century. Plummer said she faced Olson four times in U.S. Tennis Association play and beat her three consecutive times before losing Friday.
“I went up there and told myself that I needed to stay positive because my temper gets the best of me sometimes. I said, 'Stay positive.' My serve was off, everything was off. I tried to stay composed,” Plummer said.
The junior with a powerful forehand said she's already excited for her senior season and hopes to go even further in the state tournament next year. She played with consistency, but Olson was too technically sound, at least on this Friday.
“I saw a lot of toughness, I saw a lot of heart. I saw a young lady that carries herself with character and poise,” Surrattsville coach Mario Newman said. “She's going to continue to get better, continue to improve. The bar has been raised a little further. She's set a higher standard for herself and going into next year expectations will remain high.”
Another Prince George's County player with already-high expectations is Davis, who entered boys' singles play as the fourth overall seed. The 5-foot-5 speedster outlasted Severna Park's Alex Cauneac in a marathon first-round matchup that took roughly an hour and a half to complete. The pair traded beautiful shots and both made their fair share of mistakes and the first set went to a tiebreaker. There, Davis, who frequently pulled his white shirt over his head after a bad shot or mishit, stroked enough winners to take the tiebreaker, 8-6. He then put Cauneac away, 6-3, to win in straight sets.
“It was really important for me to get that because that boosted my confidence and I guess it took a little from him. Going into the second set, I was confident I could take the match,” Davis said.
In the second round, Davis appeared a lot more comfortable (on the court at least, the sun still was brutal and he changed shirts after the first set of his first match) as he beat Towson's Jack Chalmers, 6-1, 6-3.
“I was kind of tired from my first match and my legs were kind of tight. I was trying to relax as much as possible and not do too much. I noticed from the beginning, he was a bit inconsistent. If he keeps making mistakes, you might as well keep going back to it,” Davis said.
Fairly frequently Davis was called for a foot fault, which appeared to throw him off his service game a bit. Still, it wasn't bad enough to prevent Davis from being the only player from Prince George's County who will return to play Saturday. He'll face top seed Mateo Cevalles from Thomas S. Wootton at 10 a.m.
“Hydrating during the match helped. I was tired, but I think it helped I was drinking a lot of water,” said Davis, who's bound for Howard University next year. “I'm going to take an Epson salt bath when I get home and ask my mom for a massage and be ready for [Saturday].”
Added Rob Vinson, his coach: “He was the No. 2 seed last year and lost in the quarterfinals. This year, he fought through it. It's a big accomplishment not just for the school, but for the county as a whole.”
Elsewhere in the county, the only other players to win a first-round match were Bowie's mixed doubles pair of Brittany Simmons and Alexander Stevenson. They beat Glenelg's Lu-Fang Hung and Fa-Yueh Hung, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 before losing to a duo from Hagerstown in the second round. Eleanor Roosevelt had three doubles teams and two individuals play Friday, but none advanced beyond the first round. Sophomore boys' singles competitor Vijay Golla gave Leonardtown's Robert Renfrow a solid match, but ended up losing, 6-3, 6-1.
“We had some good rallies. I felt like I could have played him better, but I'm happy with the way I played,” Golla said. “Overall, I feel like we had a good season as a team.”