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Westlake singles players dominate at River Invite
Westlake singles players dominate at River InviteBy Jim Horvath



Dominating.

That one word summed up the performances of the Westlake singles players Friday as Lauren Golick, Michelle Djohan and Julia Dunbar won their respective singles championships at the Rocky River Tennis Invitational.

On a hot, sunny day at Tri City Park, the Demon netters won nine matches in straight sets to give Westlake a singles bracket sweep. It was Magnificat, however, that claimed both doubles titles to force a tie with Westlake for second place behind Kenston.

The Blue Bombers, with four runner-up finishes, scored 27 team points to edge past the 24 put up by the Demons and the Blue Streaks. North Canton Hoover was fourth with 22 points, while the Magnificat B team, subbing for Laurel School, came in fifth.

“For our singles players, this tournament sets the tone for the rest of the season,” said Westlake head coach Ralph Dunbar, whose team was coming off a 5-0 season opening win against Amherst on Wednesday.

“I think those girls are very happy with where they finished,” he said. “They stayed focused the entire tournament.

“They all play USTA tournaments, but that’s all individual. You win, you lose, it’s just you. The high school game is another story with different styles of play and pressure from the team standpoint. I think the girls handled that well today,” he said.

“With our doubles teams, we were missing a player who was out of town today,” Dunbar said. “We had girls out there who haven’t played varsity before, but they hung in there. They didn’t quit, and I think that’s a good sign for our future.”

The future is now, however, for the Westlake singles crew.

Golick, the Demons’ No. 1 singles player, lost just two games the entire day. She started her day with a 6-0, 6-2 win over Brecksville’s Connor Majstorovic, then came back with a convincing 6-0, 6-0 win over Rocky River sophomore Isabel Quinones.

In the championship final between two state qualifiers, Golick roughed up Kenston’s Mandy Marchant 6-0, 6-0 to regain her tournament title.

“All the matches were hard,” Golick said. “I really worked in the off season at improving my game. And playing outside in this heat, you’ve really got to get used to the conditions. I think I adjusted to the heat really well today, and that helped me a lot in my matches.

“I think fitness was a big key,” she said. “You’ve got to be able to stay out there for a long period of time. But other than that, it’s the same game. You’ve got to hit the ball between the lines, and you’ve got to get better at it.”

Djohan had a rougher trip through her bracket, starting out with a 6-3, 6-1 win over Magnificat’s Lauren O’Malley. In the semifinals, she withstood a stiff challenge from Brecksville’s Nicci Bourlas in a hard-fought 6-2, 6-4 victory.

In the second singles finals, Djohan faced Kenston’s Natasha Birze in the finals and breezed to a 6-2, 6-0 win.

Julia Dunbar scored a 6-0, 6-2 win over Magnificat B teamer Miranda Manimbo in her third singles opener. She then took a pair of 6-2 decisions from Hoover’s Abby Warburton before taking out Shea Marks of Kenston 6-3, 6-4, in the finals.

In the doubles competition, Westlake’s first doubles team of Melissa Djohan and Paavani Reddy came in fifth overall. They beat a Revere squad, 10-8, in a super tie breaker in the third set for a 4-6, 6-0, 10-8 win in their final match of the day. The Demons’ second doubles of Dana Miller and Marla Milano finished seventh.

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