As a freshman, Isabel Zhou had far from a poor debut for the Andover High girls tennis team. She even earned an Eagle-Tribune honorable mention nod.
However, as a sophomore, she turned it up a notch.
Andover’s second doubles player last year, Zhou won a preseason challenge match against fellow sophomore and last year’s No. 1 Corina Muntean. That meant the first singles spot belonged to Zhou, and she took it and ran with it.
Zhou went unbeaten (10-0) in MVC play and finished 13-4 overall, taking MVC Player of the Year honors first, and now, she’s the 2019 Eagle-Tribune girls tennis MVP.
“It doesn’t matter if you are first or second singles, it’s all about the team,” Andover coach Alan Hibino said in early June. “Isabel has gotten so much better individually and has kept her focus on helping the team.”
When she’s not on the court winning matches, Zhou is in an a capella group and amnesty international at Andover. This summer, she’ll volunteer as an intern at Camp Invention.
The sophomore will certainly come back hungry next year, having led Andover to an 18-2 record in a season that ended in heartbreak, as the top-seeded Warriors fell to Acton-Boxboro in the Division 1 North semifinals. Next season, whether at first or second singles, Zhou will do what she can to push her team even further.
Annette kim-Caroline Yang
Andover, Jr./Jr., Doubles
Last year’s Eagle-Tribune MVPs after going 18-3 and making a trip to the North Open finals. First doubles team went 7-0 in team matches. All-MVC. Won matchup with eventual Division 1 team state champion Acton-Boxboro’s first doubles team in the North semifinals. Kim teaches tennis to youths, won Andover’s underclass excellence in graphic design award and is in National Honor Society. Yang volunteers at Lawrence General Hospital, leads the Red Cross Club and is also in National Honor Society.
Anna Higgins-Grace Lyons
Andover, Sr./Sr., Doubles
Second doubles team not far off from Andover’s first doubles duo, going 7-0 in team matches as well. First year playing as partners. All-MVC. Higgins is in National Honor Society and will play tennis at Bentley, where she’ll study economics and finance. Lyons is a member of Endorsement of Global Engagement and social media manager of the UNICEF club. Also a student ambassador. Will be going to Fairfield University for nursing.
Brooks, Sr., Singles
Two-time Eagle-Tribune All-Star. All-ISL. From North Andover. Went 10-1 at first singles. Led Brooks to five team wins this year under first-year head coach Elena Mandzhukova. Also played first doubles with Sabrina Gribbel, also going 10-1 there. Plays squash at Brooks in the winter, a sport she only picked up as a freshman. Helps out working at tennis camps at Cedardale. When not suiting up for Brooks, she plays at the Thoreau Tennis Club in Concord.
Lizzie Lynch-Chiara Trafton
North Andover, Sr./Soph., Doubles
Duo went 13-1 overall and 9-1 in MVC play at first doubles. Second team All-MVC. Coach Carrie LaPierre said the Knights always counted on wins from the “stalwarts.” Lynch was a captain, four-year varsity doubles player and is also on the ski team. She will attend San Diego State in the fall. Trafton competed on the varsity team as a freshman. She also plays field hockey.
Pentucket, Soph., Singles
First season playing for Pentucket after playing in the USTA tournament circuit. Merrimac resident. First singles player. All-CAL. Finished 14-2 and won in straight sets in 12 of those victories. Helped lead Pentucket to the Division 3 North semifinals, beating Lynnfield, 6-3, 6-3, as the Sachems won a tight 3-2 match. Then, beat Bishop Fenwick, 6-1, 6-0, in the next round. Father, Dave Colby, is the director of tennis at the Manchester Athletic Club.
Pentucket, Sr., Singles
Team co-captain. Six-year varsity player. Back to full strength after playing through cancer treatments during junior season. Went 9-6 to help lead Pentucket on Cinderella postseason run. Beat Lynnfield 6-3, 6-3 to help Sachems upset CAL rivals in state tournament, and then swept Bishop Fenwick 6-2, 6-1 to help send Pentucket through to Division 3 North semifinals. Also runs cross country and received Frank Kelley Adversity Award from the Mass State Track Coaches Association.
Pinkerton, Jr., Singles
Co-captain for second straight year. Went 10-4 in singles and 9-4 in doubles. Two wins over players who made the state individual tournament. Used to swim for Pinkerton but didn’t this year to focus on tennis. Also an equestrian. Coach Gerry Rosado highlighted her leadership as vital for the team, but also said she has incredible athleticism. Rosado said in his 19 years of coaching at Pinkerton, “Chloe is bar none the most gifted athlete” he’s ever coached.
Andover — Sidney Conway, Jr.; Corina Muntean, Soph.
Brooks — Sabrina Gribbel, Sr., Andover; Anya Sanchorawala, Soph., No. Andover
Central Catholic — Fiona Watters, Sr.
Greater Lawrence — Alisson Calderon, Jr.
Haverhill — Jillian Vaillancourt, Jr., Elena Albano, Soph.
Methuen — Alexa Gaton, Jr., Katelyn Wojtowicz, Soph.; Abby Poulin, Soph.
North Andover — Nicole Ficsher, Soph.
Pentucket — Parker Greason, Soph.
Pinkerton — Madison Allen, sr.; Katie Allen, Sr.
Salem — Kristen Carney, Jr.,
Windham — Jess Thibodeau, Jr.
GIRLS TENNIS MVPs
2018: Annette Kim/Caroline Yang, Andover; 2017: Katherine Hu, Phillips/Andover; 2016: Sam Barros, Pinkerton; 2015: Laurie-Maude Chenard/Paige Webster, Andover; 2013-14: Cassie Burbine; 2011-12: Jackie Carroll, Central; 2010: Kelli Murphy, Londonderry; 2009: Lauren Wilmarth, Phillips/Andover; 2008: Kelli Murphy, Londonderry; 2007: Kristina Black-Rikki Sartor, Andover; 2006: Beth Huard, Londonderry; 2005: Katherine Burke, Salem; 2003-04: Marsha Mogilevich, Andover; 2001-02: Jill Harrison, Salem; 1999-00: Jill Oppenheim, Andover; 1998: Kate Harrison, Salem; 1995-97: Heather Young, Andover; 1992-94: Alison Georgian, Andover; 1990-91: Jolie Stadelman, Lawrence; also 1981: Darcy Jones, Masconomet