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  • Andrew Kilchenstein hit a forehand during a match against Northeast on April 19. The Falcons have won 150 consecutive county head-to-head matches through April 30 and are seeking county and region championships for the sixth straight season.
    Photo by Colin Murphy
    Andrew Kilchenstein hit a forehand during a match against Northeast on April 19. The Falcons have won 150 consecutive county head-to-head matches through April 30 and are seeking county and region championships for the sixth straight season.

Whole Lotta Love: Severna Park Tennis Dominates County

Colin Murphy
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May 3, 2018

The Severna Park tennis team faced a stiff test in keeping its incomparable win streak alive when it squared off with Broadneck on April 13.

Like they have been every time out on the court over the past 12 years, the Falcons were ready for the challenge.

Severna Park defeated Broadneck 5-4 behind victories by Abby Moghtader (girls No. 1 singles), Olivia Altman (girls No. 2 singles), Andrew Province and Matthew Kilchenstein (boys No. 2 doubles), Emma Brindley and Maddie Altman (girls No. 1 doubles) and Laura Breitinger and Grace Appel (girls No. 2 doubles) to run their win streak to 145 consecutive head-to-head matches, a streak that stretches back to the 2007 season.

Subsequent victories over Chesapeake, Northeast, Meade and North County — all by perfect 9-0 margins — have the Falcons sitting on 149 consecutive team victories through April 27, with a season record of 10-0 and an overall match record of 85-6.

“Beating Broadneck was huge,” said seventh-year Severna Park head coach Jessica Goodman prior to the Falcons’ matchup against Northeast on April 19. “They have a really talented team this year. I was confident in my players, but I also knew Broadneck could be really dangerous for us this year, especially the way our teams stack up against each other and how the lineups look. There were a lot of scenarios where Broadneck could come out ahead. We trained for the right scenarios. And our kids want to win.”

PHOTO GALLERY: Severna Park tennis vs. Northeast, 4.19.18

The desire to win has transcended normal bounds and definitions of success for a program that hasn’t known head-to-head defeat in over a decade and which is currently defending 12 consecutive regular-season county championships, five consecutive county tournament championships and five consecutive regional tournament championships. 2012 was the last time Severna Park didn’t win all three of those titles; they fell in the county tournament to Broadneck that year, and the region was won by Leonardtown.

Since then, it’s been all Severna Park, and this spring has brought more of the same, powered by a deep and talented crop of Falcons.

Moghtader has led the charge on the girls side, playing in the No. 1 singles slot. A junior, Moghtader is a two-time defending county and region champion who didn’t drop a set all last season until the state tournament and who is an astounding 10-0 in matches with a 120-2 record in games so far this year. Olivia Altman is 6-0 as a singles player and has also earned two wins playing mixed doubles with Alex Kulvivat. Brindley and Maddie Altman are 8-0 as a doubles team, and Breitinger and Appel are 7-0 playing together; last season, both of Severna Park’s girls doubles teams were county and region finalists, with Brindley/Maddie Altman defeating Breitinger/Appel for the county title and Breitinger/Appel defeating Brindley/Maddie Altman for the region crown. Sophomore Miriam Moghtader has also played girls singles matches, going 4-0, and Morgan Gonyeau, and Sydney Mudd have contributed to girls doubles wins for the Falcons.

The Severna Park girls haven’t lost a match in singles or doubles all year and are a combined 41-0.

Brindley said the Severna Park girls, like the entire team, focus on collective success in order to achieve at a high level.

“I think the biggest thing is, we try to be a team instead of just individuals competing,” said Brindley, a senior. “Tennis is a little bit of an individual sport, but in order to win as a team, we have to come together and put ourselves in the best position to win. A lot of other teams think about the individual positions.”

On the boys side, Jake Larson and Kyler Norton are both 5-1 playing singles, while Matthew Kilchenstein is 4-0, Andrew Province is 2-0 and Andrew Kilchenstein is 1-0.

Province and Andrew Kilchenstein have been flawless as a doubles team, going 5-0, and Province also has a doubles win with playing with Matthew Kilchenstein. Kulvivat and Jacob Herman have gone 4-0 as a doubles team, and Herman has doubles wins playing with Norton, Andrew Bubnis and Bennett Jefferds. Ryan Hickman, Jake Shirey and Luke Mudd have all had a hand in doubles victories for the Falcons.

Mixed doubles teams have gone 7-2 on the year with Kulvivat, Appel, Miriam Moghtader, Olivia Altman, Jefferds and Matthew Kilchenstein all taking turns filling mixed doubles slots.

Deep with plenty of lineup options, the Falcons have the ability to match up and game plan, which they hope will give them a good chance to send many competitors through the region and into the state tournament.

“We get a good mix of everything here,” said senior Matthew Kilchenstein, a two-year captain who won a mixed doubles county crown last year. “The talent that comes in obviously, sure, talent’s huge, but we have great coaching, and obviously the culture here, it’s always great teamwork, everyone works together, and we work hard every week. Success comes from that. … Everyone’s going to rally behind our postseason lineup. We want to have as many people go as deep in the postseason as possible and do as best as we can.”

Players and coaches alike cited the Falcons’ concentration on fitness and endurance as central to the program’s success, noting intense conditioning work that occurs throughout the season and ranges from weight training to endurance runs to speed and agility drills. Goodman also pointed out the program’s perennially high team GPA and overall record for high academic achievement as a parallel strength to the athletes’ success on the court.

With Broadneck looming as a credible threat, this year’s Falcons hope to keep their streak of county and region tournament championships going while also matching or exceeding last year’s total number of state-tournament entrants.

“The goals for us are to get a lot of teams to counties, regionals and states — we had 10 kids get to states last year — so we want to make it back to states and do well,” said Brindley, “and just keep going in the county with our record and win streak.”

PHOTO GALLERY: Severna Park tennis vs. Northeast, 4.19.18


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