Newcomers making impact on tennis scene
By DAN STOUTAMIRE | STARS AND STRIPES Published: September 23, 2017
WIESBADEN, Germany — Newcomers look to have taken center stage on the tennis teams at Stuttgart and Wiesbaden, with senior transfer Zach Snow of the Panthers and freshman Charlotte Kardonowy of the Warriors leading their respective teams to overall victory in an early-season meet in Wiesbaden.
Kardonowy, in particular, looked impressive - displaying talent and composure belying her age and experience in DODEA competition. Matched up with Stuttgart’s No. 1 girl, Kendall Smith – a senior and returning European championship semifinalist – Kardonowy used a devastating overall game and powerful forehands to prevail, 6-0, 6-1. The match was closer than the score would indicate, with many games going to deuce and plenty of long rallies.
“I think that she was a really good player, it wasn’t easy,” Kardonowy said. “But I think for the rest of the season, if I keep up my game and keep training I should be able to do well.”
Smith said she was surprised to learn Kardonowy was only a freshman, and did her best to prolong rallies in hopes of having her opponent make an error.
“I didn’t know she was a freshman, that was a shock,” Smith said. “She basically got everything back, so our rallies kept going on and on.”
Wiesbaden coach Tom Rooney said he’s known about Kardonowy for the past couple years, and is excited to finally have her on the girls’ team, which looks strong. All of Wiesbaden’s top four singles and top two doubles pairs won their matches. Melissa Pritchett and Shelby Albers supported Kardonowy ably, winning each of their singles matches emphatically and triumphing as a pair in the top doubles matchup against Stuttgart’s Hannah Cahill and Kandis Ajyman.
On the boys’ side, it was a different story. The Panthers dominated from top to bottom, winning every singles and doubles match, highlighted by Snow’s impressive performance against freshman Duncan McLendon. Wiesbaden is rebuilding this year, with many freshmen playing important roles, and they’ll need to improve to have any chance of competing at Europeans.
Snow, a senior in his first year of DODEA-Europe competition, said it was good to get his first real match out of the way after training most of the summer.
“It got some nerves out the way – they’re all built up and I’m glad that’s over,” he said.
Snow’s set high personal goals for the season – he said he hopes to win the European championships, and not drop a set or match along the way. Time will tell, but Saturday was a good start for him and his teammates.