Submitted by Coach Willie Paz
St. Mary’s goal simply was to make it to the state championships as a team. The Lady Tigers did so much more. Emma Broadway, a junior, won three heated matches at the state tournament, including a tight, nail biter in the state quarterfinals before falling to heavily favored Christ Episcopal’s B. Powers 0-1 in the 2021 LHSAA Division IV, Region I championship match at the ULM tennis complex in Monroe.
“The girls battled. They left everything on the court,” said coach Willie Paz. St. Mary’s became the first girl’s tennis team in Natchitoches history to finish state runner-up.
The doubles team of Zeina Younes and sister Yara Younes also helped St. Mary’s take the title. They also reached the semi-finals. On their way they defeated Westminster Christian’s Nezat/ Lastrapes 0-0, Louise McGehee’s King/Beary 1-1 and Vermillion Catholic’s Romero/ Fontenot 2-0. Sheridan Pesnell and Maggie Gilmore appeared to be in control at #2 doubles when the won the first set 6-2, but St. Edmund’s Miller/Deville took the second set tie-breaker 7-6 and 10-8 for the third set.
Maggie Wheat and Mary Grace Long clinched their match with a 2-6, 7-5 and 10-5 over Avoyelles Public Center’s Belius/ Armand. They were defeated in the next round by Brown/Waddell of Episcopal of Acadiana 6-0, 6-0.
Zeina and Yara Younes and Maggie Wheat are students at the Louisiana School for the Math, Science and Arts that compete with the St. Mary’s tennis team.
“It’s a great feeling. I am so proud of the kids after everything that happened last year with Covid, and to come back without competing; it’s pretty awesome,” Paz said.
Andrew Kautz qualified in singles and the doubles team of Kolby Lipa and Stephen Wheat, they were knocked out in the first round. Kautz advanced to the 2nd round where was defeated by J. Bickford of St. Thomas Aquinas 7-6, 6-2.