Support our mission
 
Lawrence Caro of Sigonella prepares to hit the ball in boys singles semifinals in the DODEA-Europe South tennis finals at Naval Support Activity Naples’ Gricignano di Aversa site on Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021. Caro went on to win the boys singles final.
Lawrence Caro of Sigonella prepares to hit the ball in boys singles semifinals in the DODEA-Europe South tennis finals at Naval Support Activity Naples’ Gricignano di Aversa site on Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021. Caro went on to win the boys singles final. (Alison Bath/Stars and Stripes)

NAPLES, Italy — To say that Saturday’s DODEA-Europe South tennis finals presented a challenge for Lawrence Caro would be an understatement.

The Sigonella Jaguars No. 2 seed overcame self-doubt, a grueling semifinal match against No. 1 seed Leonardo Proietti of the Marymount Royals and a bee sting in the final match to emerge the boys singles winner.

Caro bested Samuel Stutzman of the Naples Wildcats, 8-1, at Naples’ Gricignano di Aversa site.

It wasn’t a sure win.

Stutzman beat Caro twice before, including earlier in Saturday’s tournament play.

“I took a step back and said to myself: ‘I have to believe in myself,’” said Caro, 17. “It feels extraordinary (to win). I didn’t think I was going to be here.”

Aleigh Lamis of the Naples Wildcats prepares to hit the ball in the DODEA-Europe South tennis finals at Naval Support Activity Naples' Gricignano di Aversa site on Saturday, Oct. 23 2021. Lamis went on to win both girls singles and doubles titles.
Aleigh Lamis of the Naples Wildcats prepares to hit the ball in the DODEA-Europe South tennis finals at Naval Support Activity Naples' Gricignano di Aversa site on Saturday, Oct. 23 2021. Lamis went on to win both girls singles and doubles titles. (Alison Bath/Stars and Stripes)

Caro wasn’t the only member of the family to play in the finals. His 14-year-old sister Charlize won her semifinal against the Wildcats’ Lilliana Stutzman, 8-1.

That set up the No. 4 seed to play against No. 1 seed Aleigh Lamis in the girls singles final.

Lamis, a 17-year-old Naples senior, won 8-2 to emerge the winner in the last singles match of her high school career.

Lamis called the win “surreal” and the culmination of a longtime goal.

“It means a lot to be No. 1 in my senior year,” she said. “I had to dig deep and find my passion and know I want to win.”

The tournament saw Friday rained out after just a round of singles play.

Instead of the usual best-of-three format, coaches made the decision to condense matches to a single set. That allowed the completion of nearly the entire tournament without a lunch break over a span of more than 12 hours, said tournament organizer and Vicenza coach Mark Gillett.

Charlize Caro of the Sigonella Jaguars prepares to hit the ball in the DODEA-Europe South tennis finals at Naval Support Activity Naples' Gricignano di Aversa site on Saturday, Oct. 23 2021. Caro, 14, won her semifinal match but lost the girls singles final to Naples' Aleigh Lamis.
Charlize Caro of the Sigonella Jaguars prepares to hit the ball in the DODEA-Europe South tennis finals at Naval Support Activity Naples' Gricignano di Aversa site on Saturday, Oct. 23 2021. Caro, 14, won her semifinal match but lost the girls singles final to Naples' Aleigh Lamis. (Alison Bath/Stars and Stripes)

With singles play wrapping up around 3:30 p.m., doubles matches started soon after, ending around 8:30 p.m.

Results saw the Royals team of Proietti and Brian Hoton beat the Wildcats team of brothers Stephen and Samuel Stutzman in boys doubles. Lamis and Stutzman were victors for Naples against Marymount’s Isabella Nudi and Allegra Vittigli in girls doubles.

author headshot
Alison Bath reports on the U.S. Navy, including U.S. 6th Fleet, in Europe and Africa. She has reported for a variety of publications in Montana, Nevada and Louisiana, and served as editor of newspapers in Louisiana, Oregon and Washington.
twitter Email

stars and stripes videos

around the web

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up