From left to right, Clarkston Everest Collegiate tennis players Madelyn Vitu, Moorea McNalley and Sarah Schmidt pose with the trophy May 11 after winning the Division 2 Catholic High School League meet at Dearborn High. All three girls attend Rochester Hills Lutheran Northwest and won their respective flights.

From left to right, Clarkston Everest Collegiate tennis players Madelyn Vitu, Moorea McNalley and Sarah Schmidt pose with the trophy May 11 after winning the Division 2 Catholic High School League meet at Dearborn High. All three girls attend Rochester Hills Lutheran Northwest and won their respective flights.

Photo provided by Julie McNalley


Tennis players dominate at CHSL tournament

By: Jacob Herbert | Rochester Post | Published May 22, 2019

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CLARKSTON — The winning ways of the Clarkston Everest Collegiate girls tennis team continued May 11 at Dearborn High. The Mountaineers won the Division 2 championship at the Catholic High School League tournament.

The Everest tennis team also consists of members from Rochester Hills Lutheran Northwest. In fact, a trio of Crusaders dominated on their way to titles.

In singles, No. 1 Moorea McNalley, No. 2 Sarah Schmidt and No. 3 Madelyn Vitu all took first place.

McNalley only dropped one game the entire day.

Everest tennis coach Lee Keating compared McNalley to former Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander. Now with the Houston Astros, Verlander is known for being a pitcher to get things done when called upon. Keating said the same thing about McNalley. When the freshman is on the court, she is going to take care of business.

“She’s sweet, she’s open and willing to learn new things,” Keating said about McNalley.

Also only dropping one game on the day was Vitu. The junior, who won No. 2 singles in the Catholic League last year, repeated this year at No. 3 singles.

“I was happy and relieved to be done with it,” Vitu said. “It was a long day. It felt good to see my team get a medal and win overall.”

Also winning her second straight championship was Schmidt. She took the title at No. 3 singles last season before winning at No. 2 this time around.

Schmidt said her success, and her patience in dealing with a long day, was due in part to assistant coach Kevin McNalley.

Coaching has been a big part of the girls’ success all season long. All three agreed that Keating has a unique way of coaching that proves most useful when they start to approach the postseason.

“Since it’s almost the end of the season, I kind of know what he’s going to say,” McNalley said. “When he comes up to the fence, it helps me to refocus and figure out what I’m doing wrong. Same with all the coaches we have — they’re all really good coaches.”

Vitu mirrored that statement.

“(Keating) has these specific techniques that he has special names for,” she said. “He says the same stuff to me all season, so when I make a mistake I know what he’s thinking. I’ve had him for three years and his coaching on the side definitely helps.”

The success that came with winning the Catholic High School League continued May 17 at a Division 4 regional tournament hosted by Bloomfield Hills Academy of the Sacred Heart.  

The Mountaineers had their best finish to date in a regional tournament, finishing in second place and qualifying for the state tournament with 24 points. McNalley finished as the runner-up in the No. 1 singles portion.

The freshman battled Sacred Heart’s Elizabeth Etterbeek for three and a half hours in the semifinal, which she won 7-6(4), 1-6, 6-4, before falling in the final to Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett’s Melanie Zampardo.

Schmidt and Vitu both won the No. 2 and No. 3 singles flights, respectively. Schmidt beat Liggett’s Olivia Valente 6-0, 6-0, and Vitu beat Sacred Heart’s Sofia Eddy 2-6, 6-4, 6-2.

With regionals in the rearview mirror, McNalley, Vitu and Schmidt now turn their attention to the D-4 state meet, which will be held May 31 and June 1 at Kalamazoo College.

The coaching staff has been confident in their ability to win all season long, and they don’t plan on losing that confidence anytime soon.

“It’s nice having the Lutheran Northwest girls,” Keating said. “They are definitely the heavy hitters for the singles. They really just take care of business.”

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