By BOB ETTINGER
For the Star Beacon
In the Division II tennis world, there is a distinct barrier between the public and private schools. Invitations to the district and state parties don’t generally find their way to a public-school player.
Geneva’s Alyx Lynham and Anna Forman wiggled their way onto the guest list to the Division II district tournament at Harvard Park in Canton. They look to become the belles of the ball.
“Just because we’re Division II now, things are a lot different (than in the past),” Geneva coach Scott Torok said. “(Forman and Lynham) will play a lot of private schools. There aren’t many public schools, we’re proud to be one of them.”
Lynham and Forman will play their first match against Lucy Grierson and Ale Riegelsberger of Rocky River this morning at nine.
“The only thing I know (about the Eagles’ opponents) is they beat a team from Bay Village (6-3, 7-6). One of them was the second singles player (during the season) and the other played first doubles. What that’s worth, I don’t know.”
That lack of knowledge shouldn’t hinder Forman and Lynham.
“Sometimes, it’s better not to know,” Torok said. “We’ll worry about our game. We’ve got to get the first serves in, be consistent with our groundstrokes and be a force at the net.”
The top five teams will advance to the state tournament next week. Advancing only takes a couple of victories.
“If you lose your first match, you go home,” Torok said. “There are 16 teams and eight matches (in the first round). If you win two (today), you’re going to go on (to state). If you win the first one and lose the second, you go into a playoff.”
Winning their first two matches would put Lynham and Forman in the final four, giving them a berth in Columbus. Winning their first and losing their second puts them in what will end up being a four-team scramble for the final qualifying spot.
“They know what it’s about,” Torok said. “They’ve played enough. This was the goal. Getting out (of the sectional) as the No.-2 seed was huge. They get to play a No.-3 seed. If they came out a No. 4, they’d have had to play a No.-1 seed and there’s not much chance there.
“Our chances are pretty good. They’re not ready to quit yet. Some girls are ready to cash it in at this point, but (Lynham and Forman) are not done yet.”
Should Forman and Lynham advance, they will join Courtney Brenkus and the doubles team of Nikki Keenan and Lori Smallwood as Eagles who have played at the state tournament.
Lynham played first singles and Forman played second all season for the Eagles before the duo teamed up for the postseason. That doesn’t mean the two were attempting something entirely new to them.
“They’ve done a lot on the side,” Torok said. “They’ve played some pretty good opponents and they played against some of the players on the boys team. They’ve done some work on their own. Both of them have a doubles background.
“Alyx played doubles as a freshman doesn’t play doubles for Geneva, but she does play a bit of team tennis and I’ve always said she’s the best volleyer on the team.”
Though they haven’t played together much, Forman and Lynham are on the same page.
“They have good chemistry,” Torok said. “Sometimes, teams don’t have that and they’ve got to find it. Something just gelled. Both have good ground strokes and are decent volleyers.”
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