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Humphreys tennis upends perennial league contender

By STARS AND STRIPES Published: October 4, 2018

CAMP HUMPHREYS, South Korea – Humphreys’ tennis team achieved a school first on Wednesday when Ryan Oh and the Blackhawks defeated Gyeonggi Suwon, a Korea Red Division power, in both the boys and girls matches by team scores of 4-1.

In so doing, Oh, a senior, handed Knights senior Sam Lee an 8-2 loss, the first defeat in his high school career. On the girls side, Valencia Ramirez rallied from behind 3-0 to beat Leslie Lee 8-4, and Caroline Chung won the last seven games to beat Gina Park 8-2.

“Super proud of our team,” coach Matthew Pollack said.

He’s in his third season with a Blackhawks team still in its building stages. But Wednesday’s victories, particularly the boys’ school-first win over GSIS, was an upset on a big scale.

The Knights boys and girls teams feature seasoned student-athletes who play tennis year-round, whereas Humphreys’ players are more seasonal. Sam Lister, for example, is unbeaten in boys doubles but also wrestles and plays soccer for Humphreys.

Blackhawks girls tennis has already enjoyed success on the Korea Red circuit, taking third place in the team standings in 2016, but also having three of players take top spots in the Korea Red tournament. Emily Yang won the No. 1 singles title and Capri Leschber and Pauline Coronel won the No. 1 doubles title.

Wednesday’s win was Humphreys’ boys’ first in three matches this season, after going 1-5 each of the last three seasons.

This one came against a Knights squad (2-1) that won the Korea Red regular-season and tournament titles in 2017 and had been tied for first place with Chadwick (3-0), the team GSIS has battled for the top two spots in Korea Red the last four seasons.

Pollack said he was especially proud of Oh’s victory over Lee.

For his part, Oh says the best may be yet to come for Blackhawks boys tennis.

“Every match we play, win or lose, is a step toward improving our game,” Oh said. “We’re still continuing to grow as a team and I’m excited to see what hard work can do for us.”

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