WAXHAW — Coming off their first 4A dual team state title in the Fall, the Marvin Ridge High girls have solidified themselves as the most elite tennis team in Union County.

The Mavericks went undefeated with a 23-0 record, handling East Chapel Hill with a 5-0 sweep at Burlington Tennis Center to claim the program’s third state title in a span of seven years; they won back-to-back 3A titles in 2015 and 2016.

Individually, the Mavericks won 176 out of 181 matches in 2021 — a 97.24 winning percentage.

Four Mavericks made the HighSchoolOT.com all-state teams, the most of any school in the state.

Sisters Avery (19-0 record) and Reese Sager (19-1) made first team all-state, while sophomore Jeslyn Pratiknjo (20-0) and junior Merritt Wilson (21-0) made the third team. Reese — a five-star recruit — was named MVP of the 4A tournament as a freshman in 2021. Avery — a senior three-star recruit and UNC Asheville commit — also dominated straight sets in the No. 2 singles tournament.

The Sager sisters won the 4A individual state championship tournament in October, defeating Millbrook’s Jill Gruber and Addison Pope in straight sets (6-0, 6-1) in the double’s tournament.

Marvin Ridge head coach Julie Van Olden credits the longevity of success in her program to the feeder program at Marvin Ridge Middle School. Van Olden has five state titles as a coach when including back-to-back 3A titles with the boys’ team in 2015 and 2016.

“I feel my strength as a coach is making sure we have a solid playing schedule, are well-organized, and incorporating fun and team-bonding throughout the season,” Van Olden said. “The players also work very well together. The (Fall 2021) team was led by great captains and they contributed greatly by setting a tone for a winning season.”

One of the most formidable opponents that the Mavericks went up against — both the regular season and postseason — was Myers Park (18-2 record in Fall 2021). The Mustangs won the 4A dual-team title in 2016 and finished as runner-up in 2017 and 2018 under current head coach Ed Flynn. Marvin Ridge benefitted from singles victories from all four all-state players against Myers Park (5-1 final score) in the postseason match.

“Our greater Charlotte area boasts many of the top teams in the state (including us),” Van Olden said. “It was very gratifying to have the opportunity to compete in the state’s top division this year and highlight our players’ collective strength.”

The Sager sisters were determined to help the Mavericks keep their winning formula intact.

“Avery helped me out a lot along the way,” Reese said. “I didn’t really know anyone (on the team), so she helped me get comfortable with the team for me to help lead the team.”

Van Olden is proud of the girls team for winning the program’s first 4A state title.

“We knew we had the talent and opportunity to take the state title,” Van Olden said.

Trending Videos