Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXI, No. 40
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
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SEVENTH HEAVEN: Hun School girls’ junior tennis star Maura Giordano strokes a forehand last week and she and partner Emma Richardson won the second doubles title at the Mercer County Tournament. The win by Giordano and Richardson helped Hun win its seventh straight MCT team title.

Utilizing Cool-Headed Play, Fighting Spirit, Hun Girls’ Tennis Wins 7th Straight MCT

Bill Alden

Maura Giordano of the Hun School girls’ tennis team had reason to be concerned after the first set of the second doubles final last Wednesday at the Mercer County Tournament.

Giordano and her partner Emma Richardson, who were playing in just their fifth match together, had been pasted 6-2 in the first set of the title match by the hard-serving PHS pair of Jesse Delaney and Pooja Joshi.

But Giordano was unfazed as she and Richardson looked ahead to the second set on an upper court at Mercer County Park.

“We knew the PHS team was good,” recalled Giordano. “One of the girls was a great server and they both hit the ball really hard. We did want to keep the ball away from the net. If we stayed focused and played our game, we thought we had a chance.”

The Hun pair found its game as it pulled out a 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 win. “In the first set, we got our nerves out, in the second set we gained confidence,” recalled Giordano.

The victory, however, didn’t come without some anxious moments. “We were up 5-2 and then it was 5-4. Coach [Joan] Nuse came over to us and said ‘you just need to get four points and I know you guys can do that."

In keeping their cool and holding on for the win, the Giordano-Richardson pair exemplified the play of Hun collectively as the Raiders fought off a stiff challenge from PHS to win the program’s seventh straight MCT team title. Hun piled up 32 points, five points better than the Little Tigers.

The other individual titlelist for Hun at the MCT was Hillary Drewry at second singles. Kara Shomaker placed second at first singles while Ali Deitchman was third at third singles and the first doubles pair of Rachel Greene and Laura Latella took third.

In Giordano’s view, the team title was the product of talent and togetherness. “The girls are all such good players and we also get along so well,” said Giordano. “There is such a good support system.”

Giordano feels that she gets great support from her partner Richardson. “We both play lacrosse together,” said Giordano.

“We are good friends and good teammates. We have different games so we complement each other on the court. We have fun; it’s not just about winning.”

Another major factor in Hun’s MCT winning streak has been the tone set by Nuse. “Coach Nuse is an amazing coach,” asserted Giordano. “She has been the constant; the players come in as freshman and are gone four years later as seniors. She really helps hold things together.”

Nuse, for her part, was thrilled by how her team held things together, particularly considering that it lost three of the four matches it had played before starting competition in the MCT.

“It’s amazing, I’m so proud of them right now,” said Nuse, breaking into a wide grin. “Everybody did as much or more than they could have done. They have all been great; I’m kind of delirious right now.”

Nuse pointed out that senior star Drewry went beyond that call of duty as she fought through a back injury and more on the final day as the temperature soared into the mid-80s.

“Hillary really toughed it out,” said Nuse. “She was really strong and on top of her injury, she had an asthma attack during her semifinal match. Rather than coaching her, I was just telling her to put her head down and breathe.”

The doubles team of Giordano and Richardson hasn’t taken long to breathe some new life into the Hun squad. “That is amazing; the first match they played together was last Sunday at Mercersburg,” said Nuse.

“For them to come together this quickly is very impressive. I’m still in awe of the way they have played together. They are just amazing out there; I went to talk to them during a changeover and they were discussing strategy with each other. They were saying things I would have said to them.”

The first doubles team of Greene and Latella showed tactical acumen and character as they rallied to beat Stuart’s Nithya Mathews and Kai Boulware in a critical third place match.

“That was big, the first doubles team from Stuart is great,” added Nuse, whose team topped Penn Charter 4-1 last Saturday to improve to 2-3 in dual match play this season. “For Rachel and Lauren to pull that out in the third set, shows guts. They knew it was important.”

Greene, for her part, credited the win to grit more than anything. “We went down in the first set of the consolation match and we came back,” recalled Greene. “It just shows that if you have a determination and put your minds to it, you can do it.”

Nuse saw that spirit teamwide as the team overcame obstacles in winning that seventh title. “It just shows how much these girls want this,” maintained Nuse. “They go out and no matter what is going on, they fight their way through and somehow they pulled this off.”

Giordano is hoping the Raiders can pull off some more big wins this fall, starting with a home match this Saturday against defending state Prep A champion Lawrenceville.

“We did have a tough start and this is going to help us,” said Giordano. We’ve got more confidence now. We’re looking forward to Lawrenceville, they are always a great rival.”

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