MOV team wins Ohio Valley Cup

Members of the Mid-Ohio Valley Tennis Association’s Ohio Valley Cup team celebrate after winning the small city division of the event Sunday at Parkersburg’s City Park. Pictured in the front row from left to right: Lucy Holland, Alli Barber, Katie Athey, Ashley Casto, Bairavi Sundaram; in the back row (L to R): Eric Carney, Ethan Weaver, Shayan Ghodsi, Nash Morris, and Andrew Gnegy. Photo by Joe Albright.

PARKERSBURG — A highly successful youth tennis season in the Mid-Ohio Valley added another notch to the belt after play concluded at the Ohio Valley Cup Sunday afternoon at City Park.

A team consisting of local players and coached by Parkersburg South assistant coach Lucy Holland captured the trophy in the small city division after two straight third place finishes in the event the previous years.

Parkersburg High’s Andrew Gnegy, Eric Carney, Ethan Weaver, Bairavi Sundaram and Ashley Casto, along with Parkersburg South’s Alli Barber and Katie Athey, Parkersburg Catholic’s Nash Morris, and Mercerburg Academy attendant and Vienna native Shayan Ghodsi joined forces against three other squads for the win.

“We are very happy,” said Holland after the victory. “The kids deserve it and have been playing really hard.”

The group lost the cup on a coin flip after tying for first place in 2010 and 2012, the closest times they had come to winning the event in the past 10 years.

Competition included Charleston high school players as well as teenagers from South Central Ohio schools and the Springfield, Ohio area.

“I always enjoy this,” said Morris who has participated in the event for three straight years. “It is a lot of fun facing off against kids you don’t see throughout the year. I didn’t really know what the competition was going to be like going into this but it was still fun.”

Match types were similar to a regular prep season meeting, but included the added twist of mixed doubles. All teams faced off against each other in 10-match rounds featuring two boys and girls singles and doubles contests, along with a pair of mixed doubles.

Overall team scores were based on the amount of games won in a match, not the winner of the actual match.

Eight-game sets with a tiebreaker at 8-all was the format for all the matches.

Mid-Ohio Valley Tennis Association (MOVTA) team’s opening round featured a few familiar faces from several Charleston schools.

In particular, fans in attendance were treated to a Class AAA state semifinal rematch in Hurricane’s Rebecca Osborne and PHS’ Casto. The Redskin captured one of just four wins for her team after a hard-fought 8-6 win.

MOVTA took a 68-56 points lead after the first round.

Following a short break, the local squad clamped down on the competitors from South Central Ohio. MOVTA players captured eight of the ten contests to expand a lead widened by the Springfield team’s success against Charleston’s B team shortly before they (MOVTA) took the court for the second round.

When the points were tallied at the end of the first day, it was determined MOVTA needed four match victories Sunday to secure a team win.

Spurred on by the thought of raising the cup high, MOVTA players impressively secured those first four matches early Sunday morning.

Doubles team’s of Ghodsi/Morris, Carney/Weaver, Casto/Sundaram, and Barber/Athey each captured 8-0 set wins against their Springfield opponents for an emphatic exclamation point. Just for good measure, the players won four of the remaining six matches.

“I am just ecstatic,” said Casto on the win. “This is like another family, its another team. We hang out all the time. We play. We call each other and go hit and do clinics together. It means a lot we can do this – especially since it is my last year.”