As Sidwell Friends senior Alexandra Zhang served up another ace Friday afternoon at the D.C. State Athletic Association tennis championships, her younger brother, Michael, was two courts away, hitting a soft volley that eventually would lead to a winning point in his doubles match.
Both Alexandra and Michael, a freshman at Sidwell, were instrumental in helping the Quakers sweep the DCSAA boys’ and girls’ team titles for the third time since the tournament began in 2015. Defending champion Maret was runner-up in the boys’ competition, followed by Wilson. National Cathedral, the defending girls’ champion, was second, and Georgetown Visitation finished third.
“It’s awesome,” said Alexandra Zhang, a University of Chicago commit. “I never get to play with my brother. We’re usually in two different locations. . . . So to win with him has been really nice.”
Zhang made quick work in the girls’ singles final, defeating St. John’s sophomore Amber Brown, 6-1, 6-0, in a little over an hour at the indoor courts at Southeast Tennis and Learning Center to win her first DCSAA singles title. Throughout the season, Zhang said, she worked on relaxing more and playing loose.
Without the extra pressure, Zhang was able to execute the aggressive style she prefers.
“I like fast points, ending the point early and just dictating the point,” she said. “I like to move my opponent around the court.”
Zhang also reached the girls’ doubles final with senior Carrera Chao but lost in a marathon match to National Cathedral sophomore Kate Nuechterlein and freshman Yvonne Lopez-Davila, 9-7.
In the boys’ singles final, Maret senior Josh Keitelman held off Wilson junior Will Coad, 7-5, 6-2, to defend his title.
At 6 feet 2, Coad used his big serve and powerful forehand to race to a 5-2 lead in the first set, but his legs began to fade. Last week, Coad won his third straight D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association singles title.
Keitelman took advantage and used his defense to stay in the points. He held serve without dropping a point in the following game, and when Coad committed a forehand error on the next point, Keitelman felt the momentum shift.
“Will is a great player,” said Keitelman, who is committed to play at Richmond. “It’s just about never getting upset when he hits a big shot. He’s going to get aces, big forehand winners. But once I stay in it, he starts missing. I just need to wear him out.”
Shortly after his singles victory, Keitelman teamed with junior Cyrus Hatam to beat Michael Zhang and freshman Akira Morgenstern of Sidwell, 8-5.
Despite the doubles losses, the tournament still belonged to the Quakers, whose depth was key. While most of their opponents had left for the evening shortly after the trophy ceremony, some Sidwell coaches and players remained. There were still pictures to be taken with their new hardware.
“[Coach Logan West] said we have a dynasty coming up,” Morgenstern said. “I agree.”