Sydney Herrington of Bishop Brady: Girls’ Tennis Player of the Season

  • Bishop Brady junior Sydney Herrington won her second state singles title in a row this season. ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff

  • Bishop Brady's Sydney Herrington returns a hit in her singles semifinal match at The Derryfield School in Manchester on Thursday, June 9, 2016. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz

Monitor staff
Published: 6/16/2017 10:17:09 AM

While most of the sports world was focused on the NBA Finals trilogy between Golden State and Cleveland this spring, another three-part saga was unfolding in high school girls’ tennis.

Bishop Brady’s Sydney Herrington made a surprising run to the singles final as a freshman in 2015 before losing to Manchester Central sophomore Julia Chappell, 6-3, 6-2. The two met again last year and Herrington pulled out a 6-7, 6-0, 10-5 win (a 10-point tiebreaker is used in place of a third set).

They were the top two seeds in this year’s tournament, and sure enough No. 1 Herrington met No. 2 Chappell in the final once again, and the Bishop Brady junior took the rubber match, 2-6, 6-3, 10-6.

Clearly, Chappell pushed Herrington in all three of their meetings, but Herrington said winning the title a second time was even more challenging than claiming her first crown.

“Defending it (was harder),” Herrington said. “You know you’ve won it, you know you can do it, but then it’s like all the pressure is on you to win it again and you’re like, ‘I don’t know if I can do that.’ But then you just have to completely focus and convince yourself you can do it.”

Herrington has an amazing ability to completely focus, a mental toughness that is a huge asset on the tennis court. It was remarkable to watch her poise as a freshman, and still pretty impressive to see it again this year as a junior, like when she brushed off an error-filled first set against Chappell in the final.

“I just had to flush the first set completely,” Herrington said. “I just needed to focus and not make the mistakes.”

She did just that, playing the kind of consistent tennis that has also been one of her staples for the last three years. But Herrington is much more than just a steady player. She also has a great net game, showing a volley touch that’s unusual for younger players of this generation, something that helped her reach the doubles final with Ravalika Damerla, where she lost to Chappell and her partner, Krysten Walker.

Herrington also got to face a higher level of competition as the Green Giants moved up from Division II to D-I. The team finished 4-10 this spring in D-I, but no one was really complaining about the move.

“It was definitely a new experience and my opponents were definitely better,” Herrington said. “It was a rough season, I guess, because our record wasn’t good, but everybody had fun.”

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