Tennis earns 4th tourney title in a row
Published 11:44 am Thursday, October 18, 2018
Laura Becker of Davie’s tennis team is 16-0 in singles as a senior and 85-7 in her four-year career. Her career singles/doubles record is 111-12.
It sounds like a typo, doesn’t it?
“You can’t hit a winner against her,” teammate Sierra Foster said. “And she doesn’t make mistakes, which makes it even harder. If you can’t hit winners and she doesn’t make mistakes, then it’s kind of a lose-lose situation. I’ve played with her since I was 10, so we’ve played a lot together. Nobody around here hits the ball like she does.”
It’s not a surprise that Becker won the Central Piedmont Conference singles championship for the third year in a row. The surprise would have been if any of her matches were close. They were not.
Becker and fellow seniors Foster and Amanda Ngo have formed the heart of Davie tennis since 2015, and they steered the War Eagles to their fourth straight CPC Tournament triumph, held Oct. 9 at Reagan. Davie scored 33 points to Reagan’s 17 and Reynolds’ 15. West Forsyth, East Forsyth and Glenn also competed. Before the Becker/Foster/Ngo core arrived in 2015, Davie won one CPC Tournament in 30 years (2007).
Becker demonstrated brilliance at Reagan even though she was very sick. She won her first two matches 10-0. In the singles final, she crushed Reagan’s Caroline Richter 10-3.
“Caroline is easily the second-best player in the conference,” Davie coach Collin Ferebee said. “She is really good – strong and solid all around.
“Laura was incredibly sick today and still got those scores. She was doubling over on the court. Remember Pete Sampras’ U.S. Open match (in 1996) when he was throwing up? That was basically Laura today except she wasn’t throwing up. She was that sick. I looked at her and said: ‘Laura, everybody here knows you’re the best player. If you would rather sit out because you’re sick, no one is going to think anything less of you.’ She was like: ‘No, I’m going to go play and win.’”
Becker’s resume is full of cartoonish numbers. In the 2016-18 CPC Tournaments, she outscored opponents 92-7. In singles as a senior, she’s snatched 176 of 185 games.
Becker is a superstar player – unlike anything we’ve ever seen in Davie girls tennis’ 44-year history – and a terrific teammate. She’s so humble she never seems comfortable talking about herself. She looks unflappable, always has a straight face. But apparently there’s a fire deep within.
Ngo said: “Other teams probably look at her and think she’s just a good tennis player. But honestly, she’s such a good person to have on your team. She doesn’t act like she’s good. I think that’s what makes her the best. I mean she acts like she’s just one of us and she’s so casual about it. She’s so humble and very supportive. She has a good poker face. You never get to her emotions. She just plays her game. She doesn’t think about who she’s playing. She just goes out there and kills it every time. By just watching her, you want to be better. You see her go for an ace and you’re like: ‘I’ve got to do that.’ You’ve got to act like you’re Laura Becker in every game.”
Foster said: “From experience when I play Laura, you feel like you can’t get the ball around her. Let’s say I hit an amazing shot. Well, she takes that shot and screams a winner. She can hit winners off of amazing shots that you thought for sure would be a winner. She’s everywhere.”
While Becker added to her greatest-of-all-time scrapbook, by no means did she hog the spotlight all to herself. Foster and Ngo basked in the glow of their second doubles championship in a row. It was the third such title for Ngo, who teamed up with her sister Jennifer as a freshman.
Not only did they go 3-0, they delivered 30-5 punishment against opponents from East Forsyth, Reagan and Reynolds. They romped 10-1, 10-1 and 10-3.
In the 2017 doubles final, Foster/Ngo won a 10-8 struggle over Reynolds’ Maggie Collins/Elizabeth Youseff. In this year’s final, it was anticlimactic as they grounded those same Demons into dust.
“Sierra and Amanda were like: ‘We’re not going to have a long match. We’re not going to give you a heart attack. We’re going to take care of business,’” Ferebee said. “And they only dropped five games all day – exactly like you draw it up.”
Foster/Ngo went 6-1 as partners last year and they’re 10-0 this year.
Foster: “Oh, (Amanda) is funny. We’re laughing the whole time, which is great because it’s relaxing. We’re really good friends and we’ve played together for six years. Her net play is by far the best.”
Ngo: “If Sierra does something wrong, she knows how to come back from it. If she messes up, she goes to the next one. She thinks about how to make the next one better. It helps having her out there with me because I’m a wreck every match and she keeps me grounded. I get pretty emotional and sometimes I don’t play my best when that happens. But she’s always there to say ‘calm down’ or ‘you got this.’”
Though sophomore Ava Montebello went 1-2 in singles, she made her conquerors work. After winning 10-0 over Glenn, she lost 10-4 to the No. 4 seed from Reynolds and 10-7 to the eventual fifth-place finisher from West Forsyth.
“She played very well (against Reynolds),” Ferebee said. “It was some of the best tennis I’ve seen her play all season. (Against West) she played excellent tennis throughout. From start to finish, she was not going to quit. She was fighting. She hit good shots all day long.”
Senior Emery Rosenbaum and junior Aisulu Ball paired up for the first time in their careers in a 10-3 loss to Reagan. There was no shame in that score.
“It was one of those where it was closer than the score sounded,” Ferebee said. “They just came up a little short. 10-6 would have been a fair score, but it ended up being 10-3.”