Unbeaten Dover girls tennis team sweeps Vikings

Dover’s Erika Synoski winds up to return a serve during her first singles win Wednesday afternoon. Delaware State News/Ben Heck

DOVER — Erika Synoski was facing an opponent she had yet to play against.

It didn’t change her approach, or the end result, Wednesday afternoon.

The Dover High sophomore earned a 6-0, 6-0 sweep in the first singles position to help lead the unbeaten Senators to a 5-0 team win over previously unbeaten Cape Henlopen High in a Henlopen North girls’ tennis showdown.

The win improves Dover’s record to 6-0, which includes five 5-0 sweeps.

Cape Henlopen drops to 5-1, just two days after picking up a pivotal Northern Division victory over powerhouse Caesar Rodney High, 3-2. It was the program’s first win over CR in at least a decade.

Dover’s Olivia Anyanwu registers a point during her 6-0, 6-0 sweep in the third singles match.

“I was being aggressive and moving forward into the court, going to the net and hitting volleys and just going for every shot and being confident on the court,” Synoski said.

Synoski, who defeated Cape senior Maryann Tietbohl, has adjusted well to her new position after competing at second singles a season ago. But she’s still noticed a difference since making the jump.

“There’s tougher competition, obviously, and just a different mindset because you know the team is going to have their best player at first singles, so I have to be ready for that,” she explained.

The Senators also earned 6-0, 6-0 wins from second singles Victoria Anyanwu and third singles Olivia Anyanwu.

Cape’s Marcella Sabbagh returns a serve against Dover’s Olivia Anyanwu during Wednesday’s match.

“The three of them are very strong, they’ve been playing a lot together,” explained Dover coach Kevin Papen. “They always set the tone, which is good, because then the doubles don’t have quite as much pressure.”

The junior Victoria defeated Cape’s Sammi Messina. The sophomore Messina was filling in for regular second singles player Amanda Sponaugle, who missed the match with an illness.

“I wanted to come in and play my game, and that’s what I did,” said Victoria. “During our 5-10 minute warmup, I generally just try to see their playing style and I figure out what I need to do during the match and that helps me a lot.”

The freshman Olivia defeated Cape’s Marcella Sabbagh.

Cape’s Maryann Tietbohl in action during the first singles match.

“I was a little nervous, but I was just trying to play my best and really do whatever I could to come out in the end,” Olivia said. “I just had to see what she was doing in warmups and just kind of work with it as I go through the match and figure out her weaknesses.”

The first doubles team of senior Erin Biddle and freshman Shing-Rue Lin earned a 6-4, 6-1 win over Cape seniors Anna Harrington and Taylor Smith.

Dover’s second doubles team, consisting of sophomore Anna Canalichio and junior Corina Kwok rounded out the scoring with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Cape freshman duo Juliana Warnock and Samantha Connors.

“We had a really good practice yesterday, because I knew Cape was going to be good, they’re always good with their doubles,” said Papen. “All the first sets were 6-4, so I’m glad we prepared pretty well.”

“I’m just so happy for this team,” Victoria Anyanwu said. “I’m going to look up from here, take it one game at a time and I just can’t wait for the end of the season to see what might happen.”

Reach staff writer Ben Heck at bheck@newszap.com

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