Morgantowm girls, University boys dominant to open Region I tennis tournament

MORGANTOWN — The WVSSAC Region I tennis tournament began in the hot, windy afternoon at the WVU courts behind the Coliseum lasted well into the night before all the semifinal slots were decided. And while the Morgantown High girls continued their dominance this season by punching a ticket into all seven final matches, the team championship on boys’ side of the bracket remains far from a done deal.
University leads with 12 points, followed by Wheeling Park and Buckhannon-Upshur with nine, while MHS remains in the hunt with eight. However, while UHS has matched the Mohigans girls by reaching all seven title matches, Morgantown will play for two singles and one doubles crown, all against their cross-town rivals.
For veteran MHS boys’ coach Dan Martinelli, his team’s consistency Wednesday will be the key to winning today.
“It’s all about limiting your own mistakes,” he said. “At just about every level of tennis, the unforced errors outnumber the winners. So consistent play, concentration and fight on every point, and mental toughness will almost always be the difference between winning and losing, especially in big matches.”
Martinelli was especially enthusiastic about the play of Hamilton Hall, who actually lost his semifinal match 8-5 to UHS’s Andre Barcinas at No. 2 singles. While Hall won’t win a regional title this season, he can still qualify for the state tournament with a consolation match victory today.
“Hamilton played great today,” Martinelli said. “Very poised, very solid. He moved really well, and limited his mistakes, and if he plays that way, he’s got an excellent chance to extend his season.”
This was the first time that the regional finals were held at the WVU courts, and UHS boys’ coach Tom McClellan and the other teams (Brooke and John Marshall also participated) were appreciative that Mon Health CEO David Goldberg agreed to sponsor the event.
“This is such a great venue for the premier high school tennis tournament of the year for our region,” he said. “It’s all about building relationships, showcasing the sport and the athletes, both for now and for the future. It’s just a big tennis party, and it’s been a blast.”
Fresh off his team’s overwhelming performance in the OVAC championship last week, McClellan concentrated on bring his team back down to earth, focusing them on the next hurdle on their journey to the state tournament.
“We believe that winning begets winning, and so of course our fourth consecutive OVAC title was a big goal for us this season,” he said. “But you have to put that in the rearview mirror and get ready for the biggest matches of the season. And we want to make sure that we build on the confidence that playing well can provide, because the mental part of tennis is so important.”

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