by Becky Kimbrell-Norris
RALEIGH — Wakefield sophomore Susanne Boyden has figured out the secret to winning on the tennis court.
On Monday, she continued her hot streak at Millbrook High School by claiming the Cap 8 conference No. 1 singles title.
Boyden remains undefeated after completing a dominant run through the tournament and capped it off by defeating Broughton’s top-ranked Maggie Kane 6-4, 6-4 in the finals.
“This year I have worked really hard and trained almost every day, which has contributed to my success,” Boyden said.
“It feels great to win the Cap 8,” Boyden added. “But I have to continue to work hard because Maggie is a great player and there are also really great players, who will be playing in the state tournament.”
Boyden will play tomorrow (Friday) in Cary in the 4A state regionals and the top four players in singles and doubles will advance to the 4A North Carolina state tournament.
The victory over Kane marks the second time this season that Boyden has beaten the defending state champion and she is the only player to do so in Kane’s four-year career.
“I played really well against Maggie and I won the key points and I think that was the difference in the match,” Boyden said.
Boyden also becomes the second Wakefield girl to win a Cap 8 singles title.
“Susanne is so steady and mentally tough,” said Wakefield coach Ken Stewart. “She would argue that maybe she didn’t have her best stuff the other day but that’s part of her progression.”
“Learning to beat good players when you are struggling a little is the mark of a champion,” Stewart added.
Boyden defeated Maddie Pontrelli of Wake Forest 6-0, 6-0 in the tournament’s first round.
From there, she shut out Elizabeth Sigardo of Enloe 6-0, 6-0 and in the semi-finals, she was a 6-0, 6-3 against Broughton’s Olivia King.
Boyden said she is looking forward to playing in the Regionals but also knows that anything can happen.
“I’m excited but there are a lot of great players who will be there,” she said. “I do feel confident that I can do well and hopefully I can pull out some wins.”
Boyden will be relying on her strength, which she admits is being more aggressive on the court.
“I have continually been working hard on my fitness so I am able to grind out long points,” she added.
Wakefield’s doubles team of freshman Alexandra McNamara and Savannah Ivey, a senior, played for the last qualifying Regionals doubles spot but lost to Maryann Yamadi and Emily Jerome, 3-6, 4-6.
“They played very well and one or two points could have made the difference,” Stewart said. “They played some inspired tennis, well enough to advance but nothing went their way.”
McNamara and Ivey defeated their Heritage High opponents 6-1, 6-2 in the first round and then lost to Marissa and Sophie Anthony of Sanderson 2-6, 5-7.
Lauren Sheppard and Claudia Damiano also played doubles for the Wolverines and were defeated by their Sanderson opponent 1-6, 2-6.
Leandra Lee of Wakefield was defeated 6-0, 6-2 by Millbrook’s. Isdahl.