The Urbana High School girls’ tennis team improved to 8-0 this season with a 5-0 sweep of Tuscarora on April 15. Remarkably, through eight matches this spring, the Hawks have dropped only two individual courts and four total sets.
But Urbana tennis is no stranger to such dominance. The Hawk girls’ victory over Tuscarora was their 80th straight dual match win dating back to mid-2014—and Urbana’s boys are not far behind. While the girls are certainly mindful of the streak—and celebrate each milestone—the Hawks don’t put pressure on themselves when it comes to prolonging it, senior and No. 1 doubles player Aaliya Husain said.
“It’s fun to see how long we can keep this going, but there’s no pressure,” Husain said. “We just help encourage each other and help coach each other to achieve (success).”
Urbana’s rich history and depth makes breaking into the starting lineup a feat in itself, so once players are there, they know they hold themselves accountable, Husain added.
“Players work hard to be part of our team and earning a spot in our lineup is difficult,” Coach AJ Stuart said. “Therefore, players know they have to be poised, confident and walk on the court with the mindset of playing smart (tennis).”
Urbana’s lineup is composed primarily of tennis-first athletes, many of whom continue to hone their skills during the off-season, which gives the defending Frederick County champion Hawks an edge locally. But the goal this spring is to become more competitive at the state level, Husain said. Urbana’s boys and girls—which Husain said consider themselves one big unit—have the benefit of learning from some of the county’s most experienced U.S. Tennis Association tournament players.
Junior Sophie Geerneart is off to a 5-2 start in her second season as Urbana’s No. 1 singles player this spring after finishing third at last year’s county championship. In her five wins she lost only five games—six of her sets won were shutouts.
Freshman Abigail Min has been dominant in the No. 2 singles position, compiling a 6-0 record, including a win at No. 1—no opponent has won more than four games in a single set. Husain and Sophie Nielsen, who won the Region I mixed doubles title a year ago, are 7-0 and have won eight sets by a score of 6-0.
“I feel incredibly grateful to be a part of such a wonderful network of coaches and players,” Husain said. “Most of our lineup has experience and trains outside of the regular season, which is really helpful in building a strong team. Those who don’t have as much experience are able to calm themselves when they’re on court and are really strong mentally.”