It took a battle against nerves, but Severna Park sisters Abby Moghtader and Miriam Moghtader became tennis state champions on May 25.
Playing in the girls doubles 4A final at Wilde Lake Tennis Center in Columbia, the Moghtader sisters defeated Northwest’s Radha Patel and Janvee Patel 6-2, 7-6.
Abby Moghtader is a senior who has mostly occupied the Falcons’ No. 1 girls singles slot throughout her high school career, while Miriam Moghtader is now a rising senior in the Class of 2020.
In a roster shuffle, they teamed together late this season with the ambition of winning a doubles state title.
“I am so proud that I could win a state title my senior year with my sister and with my team,” said Abby Moghtader. “My team and my coaches are one of the most important reasons Miriam and I felt so comfortable out on the court because we knew they were there right beside us supporting us.”
The pair dropped only five total games in a couple of straight-set victories over opponents from Urbana and Whitman in order to reach the final.
Once in the final, the Moghtaders cruised to a 6-2 win in the first set and appeared to be in firm control of the second set before relinquishing a 4-1 lead and ultimately falling behind, 6-5. The Moghtaders rallied to retake a 7-6 lead, then won the sets tiebreaker to win the match.
Miriam Moghtader said she tried to suppress her nerves and keep it light on the court.
“When our opponents made their comeback, it was a little intimidating at first because we were up by a big lead and they really turned things around, but we knew that the only way we could win is if we stayed calm on the outside (even though we were both anxious on the inside) and supported each other,” she said. “On the court we’d joke with each other and make each other laugh to make the match less worrisome and a lot of fun overall.”
She said she was happy to send her sister off with a big win.
“I think I’m most proud to win a state title because it’s my sister’s senior year,” she said. “I think it’s so cool for her to finish off high school like this, and I’m really happy I got to be a part of it with her.”
Abby Moghtader said she took lessons away from the pressure she felt in the moment.
“From this accomplishment I’ve learned to trust my instincts and depend on my teammate in moments when things get tight or tricky,” she said. “I avoided letting doubt creep into my head during tense moments of the match. Having a teammate that gives me unwavering support and confidence when we get to the critical moments of a match (such as the tiebreak) is one of the most emotionally satisfying parts of playing doubles.”
In a largely individual or doubles sport like tennis, Abby Moghtader said she cherished the team aspect of playing at Severna Park.
“Playing high school tennis for four years has shown me how well a team can do if they all work together and support and trust each other,” she said. “From playing practice sets against them to hearing them yell on the sidelines, is something I will never forget. I could not have asked for a better high school tennis experience.”