Girls Tennis: All-Delco Garnet Valley’s Zhang stated her case as a freshman

In addition to Daily Times Player of the Year Genevieve McCormick of Episcopal Academy, the rest of the 2014 All-Delco girls tennis team includes:

Nadiyah Browning, Episcopal Academy: A junior, Browning was 11-3 and helped the Churchwomen earn a share of the Inter-Ac League title with Agnes Irwin … Avenged a 6-2, 6-3 loss to fellow All-Delco Catie Burkhart in an Inter-Ac dual match by defeating Burkhart, 8-4, in the second singles final at the Inter-Ac Tournament to help Episcopal claim the team title and battling back in their EA-AIS Day matchup to defeat Burkhart, 0-6, 6-4, 10-7, part of a 7-0 Episcopal whitewash … A Philadelphia resident, Browning is a product of the tennis program at Legacy. Became a student of Chris Hill at Legacy and continues to hit with him … Has a Middle States ranking of 78 in 16s as she transitions to 18s … Hopes to study pre-med and continue her tennis career in college … “We had a lot of good players back from last year, so we were hoping to compete for the Inter-Ac championship,’ Browning said. “And we got great leadership from Vivi (McCormick).’

“Nadiyah does a great job of getting everything back and adjusting to what you’re doing.’ … Twin sister Callie played on Agnes Irwin’s first doubles team … Receives coaching at Merion Cricket Club, working most closely with Charlotte Sikora and Taylan Batuk on that staff … Product of a tennis family. “The whole family plays,’ Burkhart said. “Mom and dad, aunt and uncle.’

Catie Burkhart, Agnes Irwin: A sophomore, Burkhart finished 9-3 and played No. 1 singles for a period when teammate and fellow All-Delco Camille Smukler was out with a sprained ankle … Her only Inter-Ac regular-season loss came when she filled in for Smukler at No. 1 singles against Penn Charter … Defeated fellow All-Delco Nadiyah Browning of Episcopal Academy, 6-2, 6-3, in Agnes Irwin’s 4-3 victory over the Churchwomen that gave the Owls a share of the Inter-Ac League title … Browning came back to defeat Burkhart, 8-4, in the second singles final at the Inter-Ac Tournament and claim a 0-6, 6-4, 10-7 over Burkhart on EA-AIS Day. “I came out real aggressive in that match,’ Burkhart said of the final meeting.

Camille Smukler, Agnes Irwin: A junior, Smukler was 9-0 in regular-season play and 5-0 in the Inter-Ac, but missed the Owls’ loss to Penn Charter with a sprained ankle … Smukler came up big with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 victory over Daily Times Player of the Year Genevieve McCormick to help the Owls claim a 4-3 victory over Episcopal Academy and gain a share of the Inter-Ac title. “We were so motivated not to lose that day,’ Smukler said. “Maybe it was because we had already lost one, we just didn’t want that feeling again.’ … McCormick avenged that defeat by beating Smukler in the final at first singles in the Inter-Ac Tournament and on EA-AIS Day, but it was high-level tennis every time these two played this season … Works on her game with Julia Cohen at Green Valley Country Club and Steven Szabo at the Julian Krinsky School of Tennis at the Narberth Tennis Club … Ranked 13th in the Middle States 16s and 31st in the Middle States 18s … Had a strong showing in the inaugural New Balance High School Tennis Championships last summer at Harvard, reaching the semifinals in one of the consolation brackets.

Marina Zhang, Garnet Valley: A freshman, Zhang teamed with senior Emma Blake to reach the PIAA Class AAA doubles quarterfinals before falling, 6-3, 6-4, to Laurel Shymansky and Amanda Nord of Fox Chapel … Zhang and Blake are the first Garnet Valley players to make it to states since Kristin Schappell capped her run of four straight PIAA doubles appearances by teaming with sister Melissa 10 years ago … Zhang and Blake reached the District One doubles final before falling to the Abington pair of Molly Bair and Amirah Salim, 6-1, 6-2 … Reached the finals of the Central League Singles Tournament before falling, 6-1, 6-4, to Harriton’s Rachel Benstock, who was also the only player to defeat Zhang in a regular-season dual match … Reached the quarterfinals at the District One Class AAA Singles Tournament … Helped the Jaguars finish 6-5 in the always-tough Central League. “I’ve played in USTA events by myself since I was 9 years old, but I really enjoyed being part of a team,’ Zhang said. “Having people cheering for you helps you play better.’ … Named to the All-Central first team in singles … Learned the game from her father … Works on her game at Penn Oaks … Her best summer was two years ago when she got inside the top 100 nationally in the 12s.


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