McCann sisters of Amherst contend for tennis title
Nicole McCann, of Amherst Regional, is the No. 1 seed in the Western Massachusetts Girls Individual Tournament, which starts this weekend. Her sister, Allison, is the No. 2 seed. Purchase photo reprints »
Allison McCann, of Amherst Regional, is the No. 2 seed in the Western Massachusetts Girls Individual Tennis Tournament. Her sister, Nicole, is the No. 1 seed. Purchase photo reprints »
A few times a week, the Amherst Regional girls tennis practice stops.
It’s too hard to pass up a front row seat to the two best players in western Massachusetts battling it out.
Hurricane sisters Nicole and Allison McCann entered the season expecting to be the top two seeds in the WMass individual girls tennis tournament and nothing has changed since.
Defending champion Nicole McCann, a junior, is 11-0 on the year and the top seed entering the event, which begins Saturday at Smith College at 9 a.m. Doubles play begins at 2 p.m.
Allison McCann, a freshman, is 13-0 and the No. 2 seed.
“I think they’d established that (they were the two best entering the season). They’ve pretty much done what they’re supposed to do,” Amherst girls tennis coach C.J. Holt said. “They haven’t had any real challenges to this point, whether from opponents or injuries. Everything is going well.”
Phoebe Gelbard of Northampton drew the No. 11 seed.
The McCanns are looking to extend Amherst’s WMass individual title run to five. Maya Hart won three straight and then Nicole knocked off Hart in last year’s championship.
Holt said having each other has helped prepare the McCanns for the postseason.
“That’s the best thing about having two players at that level, it was the same last year having Nicole and Maya together the last two years,” Holt said. “They can just push each other so much.”
And that’s when the rest of the Hurricanes usually take a break.
“It always happens throughout the season,” Holt said. “Everyone stops what they are doing and watches them slug it out. They get going and they are both just so competitive. They battle.”
If the seeds hold, all of the western Mass. tennis world will get a chance to see that competition happen — with a title on the line — the following weekend.
“They are very equal. They are very close,” Holt said. “Nicole will have an advantage from having been in the tournament the last two years. She had to face Maya the last two years and beat her last year, so she won’t have the same nerves as Allison. There will be pressure on her, but she handles pressure very well.”
On the doubles side, the Amherst pairing of Amutha Muthukumar and Samantha Doctor were named the No. 2 seed behind Longmeadow’s Hannah Epstein and Ashley Toebes. Northampton’s Olivia Bernstein and Katherine Lesko are No. 4, followed by Amherst’s Sarah Knapp and Hannah Lang at No. 5.
If Kevin Lindhult is going to reach the quarterfinals for the second straight year, he’ll likely have to beat Ludlow’s Ian Dansereau for the second time in as many days.
Lindhult, who is 13-0 on the season, is the No. 7 seed entering the tournament, while Dansereau is No. 10.
Lindhult won Friday’s match 6-4, 6-1.
“Kevin is playing very well,” Belchertown coach Zach Siano said. “We’re feeling confident. Kevin has done the same thing all year against good opponents. He feels them out early and then decimates them in the second set. It is usually 6-3 or 6-4 in the first set and then the second set is always (6-1) or (6-0).”
Lindhult, who is chasing his second straight undefeated regular season, has led the Orioles to a 12-2 season so far.
The boys will open play Saturday at 8:45 a.m. at Bliss Court in Longmeadow.
Jonah Kuder-Flam of Northampton is the No. 5 seed.
Rohan Sastri of Mount Greylock earned the No. 1 spot, while Loeniz Braind of Westfield is No. 2.
In doubles, the Northampton pairing of Jonah Hahn and Jordan Maurer earned the No. 2 seed behind Minnechaug’s Alex Smith and Tom Knight.
Hahn and Maurer’s lone loss of the season came to Smith and Knight, 6-2, 6-4 on April 8.
The doubles teams open play Sunday at 8:45.
Western Massachusetts Tournament
1. Rohan Sastri, Mount Greylock
2. Loeniz Braind, Westfield
3. Tanner DeVarennes, Lee
4. Ross Kamin, Longmedow
5. Patrick Shea, Minnechaug
6. Jonah Kuder-Flam, Northampton
7. Kevin Lindhult, Belchertown
8. Brian Gurski, Minnechaug
9. Tayyab Shiekh, Longmeadow
10. Ian Dansereau, Ludlow
1. Alex Smith & Tom Knight, Minnechaug
2. Jonah Hahn & Jordan Maurer, Northampton
3. Nathan Majumder & Alex White, Mount Greylock
4. Jack Harding & Joe Winstone, Lee
5. Bo Sjoberg & Stephen Freyman, Longmeadow
6. Brian Kavanaugh & Mike Knight, Minnechaug
7. Jake Foehl & Will Nolan, Mount Greylock
8. Wil Conklin & Alex Sours, Agawam
1. Nicole McCann, Amherst
2. Allison McCann, Amherst
3. Eve Sullivan, Minnechaug
4. Lisa Calcasola, Longmeadow
5. Kelly Babich, Lenox
6. Suzanne Elfman, Longmeadow
7. Rachel Korn, Longmeadow
8. Ashley Lewis, Sabis
9. Samantha White, Monument
10. Eve Falk, Minnechaug
11. Phoebe Gelbard, Northampton
12. Allison McCarthy, Sabis
13. Joeanna Glantz, Agawam
14. Margot Besnard, Mount Greylock
15. Courtney Freadman, Monument Mountain
16. Arshi Moktader, West Springfield
1. Hannah Epstein & Ashley Toebes, Longmeadow
2. Amutha Muthukumar & Samantha Doctor, Amherst
3. Rachel Moore & Camille Burger, Longmeadow
4. Olivia Bernstein & Katherine Lesko, Northampton
5. Sarah Knapp & Hannah Lang, Amherst
6. Emily Fernandes & Lauren Blanchard, Agawam
7. Anna Manzi & Catherine Weyant, Minnechaug
8. Sydney Pasini & Victoria Wotoywicz, Sabis