FREMONT — Sydney and Mason Deal have excelled at athletics their whole lives and on Saturday morning the two showed their tennis talents in an unusual situation – against each other.
How they got to this point is a great question and an even better story.
Sydney, a freshman at Perrysburg, had a spectacular fall golf season, winning NLL Player of the Year and making it to the Division I State Tournament.
Her brother Mason made headlines as well last summer, setting a Toledo Junior Golf Association record by shooting a 63 to win the boys 16-18 division of the Glass City Open at Belmont in June.
On Saturday, both made the news again – this time together on the tennis court.
They played each other after making it through a Division I Sectional Tournament Singles Bracket to meet each other in the Sectional Final. It isn’t common that two players from the same school face each other, but it has happened before. It is near impossible to see a brother and sister facing off.
“It was pretty different. I was a little bit nervous because obviously I didn’t want to lose to my sister, but yeah it was different, but it was still fun. We are still brother and sister so we can still laugh about it,” Mason Deal said.
Sydney has played with the boys all season due to a seasonal conflict with golf. She was named to the third-team All-NLL team this year. Mason was the player of the year in the NLL.
“I was nervous a little bit, but it was just fun. We were excited that we got to play each other,” Sydney said. “It’s kind of easier to just play him than just another person because I know him and I play him all the time.”
The match ended in a 6-0, 6-1 victory for Mason, but Sydney didn’t go down without a fight.
“Sydney elevated her game in the match. That is the best that I’ve seen her play so it was pretty cool,” Mason said.
The two have played matches against each other for their entire lives, so for them it wasn’t all that different.
“We have kind of just been joking around with each other. I mean it wasn’t really that big of a deal to us I guess,” Sydney said.
For mom, Jody, watching the two compete created a conflict of emotions.
“Mason has everything to lose, Sydney has nothing to lose. You want them both to play as well as they can,” she said.
Their father Curt felt a little bit differently.
“It is probably not as much for me, understanding their levels, but you always want to see Syd and Mason try hard, as hard as they can, every time they play,” he said. “I’m talking more strategy with Syd, trying to help her understand Mason’s weakness.”
Both Sydney and Mason ran through the sectional tournament with each defeating their three opponents leading into the match a combined 36-2. Both will move on to play in the District Tournament.
It is quite a feat for both, but especially for Sydney, and Mason has enjoyed watching her play all season.
“It has been really cool to see her beat up on all the guys. I think the guys don’t realize, — they see a girl and they are like ‘OK, it won’t be too bad of a match’ and then they start hitting and then it goes downhill from there for them,” Mason said.
Throughout the season, all the boys that have played against Sydney have treated her just like they would any other player, and that all that Sydney wants.
“Every opponent has been very respectful. They treat her like they would any opponent. They don’t refrain from yelling if they would have yelled, they acted like they would have acted I think to any other boy. We appreciate that and she loves that. She just wants to be treated equal,” Jodi said.
So as both move on to the District Tournament together, they’ll both continue to do what they love and compete at a high level – and this time they’ll do it together.
“We just talk about the matches and we try to help each other through. Try to see what each other did wrong. We kind of help each other in that way too. All around it is great for her to be playing tennis with me,” Mason said.