AVON LAKE — For Amherst’s Megan Mendoza, the opponent has changed but the name remains the same.
“I always have a Chiricosta,” the Comet senior laughed.
Mendoza, who had three years of Southwestern Conference battles with Avon Lake’s Christine Chiricosta, met her younger sister Nikki on Saturday in the championship match of the Lorain County Athletic Administrators Association tournament.
Nikki Chiricosta came away with a 6-2, 6-2 victory, helping lead the Shoregals to their fourth straight LCAAA title. Adding to Avon Lake’s individual championships were Jenna Goedde, who took the third singles title with a 6-2, 6-0 win over Elyria Catholic’s Cara Dlugosz, and the first doubles team of Katie Began and Molly Clayton, who won their bracket with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Elyria Catholic’s Morgan Baker and Nicole Campana.
“I’ve know Megan since we were like six — we’ve been friends forever,” Chiricosta said. “When you play somebody you know you get a little more pumped up.”
“We grew up together,” Mendoza said. “She gets better every time I see her. In the very, very beginning I was able to beat her but after that first six months, she had me.”
For the third straight year, Avon Lake won the title by a narrow margin over Elyria Catholic — this season’s installment was 48-46.
Sparking the Panthers’ runner-up performance was individual championships by sophomore Emily Mueller — who won the second singles title with a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Avon Lake’s Cassie Simmelink — and the second doubles team of Shannon Tomshack and Michelle Mueller — who scored an 0-6, 6-4, 11-9 win over Avon Lake’s Maddie Shanko and Jessica Began.
“I played Avon Lake in the finals last year and lost in the third set,” Emily Mueller said of her first doubles runner-up feat last year. “So, I guess you could say there is a bit of a rivalry there.
“But Cassie’s a really good player and really consistent — her forehand’s amazing.”
The team trophy is just another in the dominant run Avon Lake has had in Lorain County and beyond. The Shoregals were the state runners-up in the team tournament last season, and have dominated the SWC ever since coach Rich Mostardi took over the program.
“The goal is always to win and I always think we’re going to win — that’s what I try to instill in these kids,” Mostardi said. “You’re never going to be successful in sports unless you always think you’re going to win. I don’t care if you lose to somebody 200 times in a row, you’ve gotta think you’re going to win the next time.”
The Chiricostas won the Division I doubles state championship last season, and Nikki hopes to be just as dominant in singles.
Mendoza doesn’t think that will be a problem.
“Nikki’s more aggressive and Christine was a bit more consistent,” said Mendoza, trying to explain the differences in the sisters’ playing styles. “Both are great players. There’s not much I can do with either.”
TEAM STANDINGS: Avon Lake 48, Elyria Catholic 46, Avon 38, Amherst 31, Midview 24, Elyria 23, Vermilion 20, Southview 16, Lake Ridge 15, Admiral King 13.
FIRST ROUND: Rafiraiou (LR) def. BanWagnen (AK) by default; Roth (V) def. Dispenza (S), 6-2, 6-0. QUARTERFINALS: Chiricosta (AL) def. Rafiraiou, 6-0, 6-0; Fine (A) def. Nielsen (E), 6-3, 6-0; Mittler (EC) def. Plues (M), 6-1, 6-0; Mendoza (Am) def. Roth, 6-1, 6-2. SEMIFINALS: Chiricosta def. Fine, 6-0, 6-0; Mendoza def. Mittler, 7-5, 6-1. THIRD-PLACE: Mittler def. Fine, 6-3, 6-2. CHAMPIONSHIP: Chiricosta def. Mendoza, 6-2, 6-2.
FIRST ROUND: Kelly (S) def. Stiee (AK), 3-6, 7-5, 7-5; Hughes (V) def. Yu (LR), 6-2, 6-1. QUARTERFINALS: Mueller (EC) def. Kelly, 6-0, 6-0; Mathie (A) def. Foss (E), 6-2, 6-3; Smith (M) def. Coughlin (Am), 6-3, 6-1; Simmelink (AL) def. Hughes, 6-4, 6-4. SEMIFINALS: Mueller def. Mathie, 6-0, 6-1; Simmelink def. Smith, 6-1, 6-2. THIRD-PLACE: Mathie def. Smith, 6-4,6-4. CHAMPIONSHIP: Mueller def. Simmelink, 6-3, 6-1.
FIRST ROUND: Kelly (S) def. Moreno (LR), 6-0, 6-1; Szucs (A) def. Chase (V), 5-7, 6-2, 6-2. QUARTERFINALS: Goedde (AL) def. Kelly, 6-1, 6-0; Aston (A) def. Rudisill (E), 6-1, 6-2; Schoewe (AK) def. Kucera (M), 6-2, 6-1; Dlugosz (EC) def. Szucs, 6-0, 6-1. SEMIFINALS: Goedde def. Aston, 6-0, 6-1; Dlugosz def. Schoewe, 6-0, 6-3. THIRD-PLACE: Aston def. Schoewe, 6-2, 6-0. CHAMPIONSHIP: Goedde def. Dlugosz, 6-2, 6-0.
FIRST ROUND: Long-Watkins (S) def. Arnau-Vojtek (AK), 6-3, 6-3; Shah-Bus (LR) def. Toby-Penfound (E), 3-6, 7-5, 6-3. QUARTERFINALS: Baker-Campana (EC) def. Long-Watkins, 6-0, 6-0; Aston-Wagner (A) def. Atkins-Noskova (Am), 6-2, 7-5; Brezina-Schibliy (M) def. New-Montano (V), 6-4, 6-1; Began-Clayton (AL) def. Shah-Bus, 6-0, 6-3. SEMIFINALS: Baker-Campana def. Aston-Wagner, 6-3, 6-0; Began-Clayton def. Brezina-Schibliy, 6-1, 6-4. THIRD-PLACE: Brezina-Schibliy def. Aston-Wagner, 6-3, 6-7 (8-6), 6-1. CHAMPIONSHIP: Began-Clayton def. Baker-Campana, 6-3, 6-2.
FIRST ROUND: Lappis-Hays (V) def. Cruz-Diaz (S), 6-1, 5-7, 6-1; Cook-Ziska (LR) def. Ely-Wilson (M), 6-2, 6-0. QUARTERFINALS: Shanko-Began (AL) def. Lappis-Hays, 6-1, 6-0; Smith-Bremke (Am) def. Soucek-Tomazic (AK), 6-1, 5-7, 6-2; Adams-Ramadugu (A) def. Gibbs-Lescher (E), 6-1, 6-1; Tomshack-Mueller (EC) def. Cook-Ziska, 0-6, 6-4, 7-5. SEMIFINALS: Shanko-Began def. Smith-Bremke, 6-1, 6-1; Tomshack-Mueller def. Adams-Ramadugu, 7-6 (7-5), 4-6, 6-4. THIRD-PLACE: Adams-Ramadugu def. Smith-Bremke, 7-5, 6-3. CHAMPIONSHIP: Tomshack-Mueller def. Shanko-Began, 0-6, 6-4, 11-9 (tiebreaker).
Contact Shaun Bennett at 329-7137 or email@example.com.