Mason Girls Tennis Takes Another Title, Rolls to Regional Final

Sports-Mason-TennisSenior Kelsey Kane triumphs in singles and doubles; Kan Tagami paces boys



From left to right: Coach Baldo, Claire Pribulka, Kelsey Kane, Claire Sedmak, Nathalie Lesgourgues, Alexa Shaffer and coach Madison. The George Mason girls tennis team won the district regular season and tournament championships. (Photo courtesy: Jody Kane)

The George Mason varsity girls tennis team recently secured its fifth consecutive Bull Run District regular season title and has continued smashing its opposition well into the postseason.

Kelsey Kane is the team’s No. 1 player. Kane is both the 2010 Bull Run District singles champion and the Bull Run doubles champ with teammate Claire Sedmak.

On May 25, Kane advanced to the Region B singles tournament, which she also won, giving her a slot as a singles competitor in the Virginia High School Jubilee in Radford on June 10.

And on June 1, Kane and Sedmak claimed the Region B doubles championship as well, marking Kane’s second regional doubles title in a row.

Kane and Sedmak will compete in the Virginia Group A Doubles Championships in Radford. They are set to take on the Region A doubles champions at 3 p.m. on Friday, June 11.

In team play, Mason crushed Riverheads 6-0 in the Region B team semifinals on May 29.

The squad will play in the Region B final on June 4 at 2:30 p.m. at Nelson County High.

“We’ve had a phenomenal season,” remarked head coach Chris Madison.

“We’ve got five seniors in our top five who really lead the team, led by Kelsey Kane at No. 1. She’s been a four-year starter for us,” Madison continued.

“We’re very consistent. We have girls who are mature on the court and have a lot of experience.  The experience that those seniors have, it gives us a lot of confidence going into the post-season tournaments.”

“We’ve been here before and it makes a big difference. It’s stressful, it’s intense, there’s a lot of fans around, and having been there before gives us a leg up.”

Claire Pribulka is the team’s No. 2 singles player. Madison called Pribulka “probably our most well-rounded player, skill-wise. From the baseline to the net, she can do it all. She also plays No. 2 doubles.”

The team’s No. 3 singles player, Sedmak, “made the most improvement from last year to this year,” Madison said. “And most of those improvements have been on the mental side. She handles the stress of competition much better.”

No. 4, Alexa Shaffer is “as consistent as they get. She’s in phenomenal physical shape and she’s willing to be out there two hours if she needs to. She will run you ragged, keeping everything in play, and making you work for everything,” her coach said.

Nathalie Lesgourgues is the team’s No. 5 and “mixed among all the seniors is Jessica Lim at No. 6,” Madison said.

The Mason boys tennis team is also generating plenty of reasons for acclaim.

Sophomore Kan Tagami won the Region B singles tournament on May 25 at Altavista High School and will now advance to state tournament play in Radford.

In team action, the Mustang boys downed Central High School 5-1 on May 29 in the Region B semifinals.

Tagami closed out his match 6-4, 6-2, with 20 winning shots and only seven unforced errors.  Junior Daniel Fletcher stepped into the No. 2 position and, according to coach Matt Sowers, “played some of the best tennis I have ever seen him play.” Fletcher collected 21 winners to just 12 unforced errors, but was ultimately edged 6-7 (3-7), 5-7.

Junior team captain Jay Rodock dominated his match 6-1, 6-1, pushing his opponent back and forth on the baseline and nailing 50 percent of his first serves.

Senior Eric Gemond cruised in straight sets 6-0, 6-0. Gemond had 14 winners and only two unforced errors.  Freshman Tommy Weber, in his first post-season play, won 6-3, 6-3 in the No. 5 slot. Senior Miles Bulter clinched the team victory with a 6-1, 6-4 win.

Mason will play on Friday, June 4 at 3 p.m. at home in the Region B Final against Randolph-Henry. A berth in the state final four will be at stake.

On May 1, the Mason boys doubles team of Jay Rodock and Kan Tagami won their regional semifinal match, and a half-hour later in the Region B final they outlasted a tandem from Central High in a tensely fought contest, 6-3, 7-6 (7-5).

Rodock and Tagami will now play in the state semifinals at Radford on June 11.