WILKES-BARRE – The Holy Redeemer girls tennis players jumped up and down in celebration, cheering “We got medals! We got medals!”
Sure, it was only the semifinals and the Royals still needed to play a championship match against powerful Scranton Prep, but that did not stop the team from extolling.
Holy Redeemer finished as District 2 Class 2A girls tennis runner-up for the first time since 2014. The Royals defeated rival Wyoming Seminary 3-1 before falling to district champion Scranton Prep in the championship. The Classics won their sixth consecutive district championship.
“We beat them during the season but it was a much more improved Seminary team today,” Holy Redeemer coach Joe Suchoski said. “All of our girls did a great job. It means a lot to our girls. We’re pretty young. It’s a good thing for confidence.”
Meanwhile, in Class 3A, Williamsport won the District 2-4 subregional by a 3-1 score over Abington Heights. The Comets and Wallenpaupack will contend for the district title Monday evening at North Pocono.
Charlotte Maria came from behind in both sets to secure the Royals’ win over perennial tennis powerhouse Wyoming Seminary. At No. 2 singles, Maria trailed 5-3 in the first set and won the next four games to prevail by a 7-5 score. In the second set, she trailed 4-3 and took the next three games for a 6-4 win.
“I realized the team needed me,” Maria said. “I could tell second doubles was getting in a little trouble a couple of courts down. I stepped up and tried to do my part.”
Maria locked down the win with an overhead shot that forced an Abbey Capin return that came short of the net.
Camryn Cassetori won the first singles 6-3, 6-0 over Sem’s Nicole Joanlanne. At No. 1 doubles, Emily Evans and Lauren LaMarca were victorious by a 6-4, 6-1 score over their competition.
The Royals held their ground in No. 2 doubles, despite playing without one of their regular players. Wyoming Seminary protested the lineup because Holy Redeemer’s regular did not play in the first round due to an injury suffered in the regular season finale. PIAA rules state she can only come back into the lineup for the tournament to fill in for another injured player. In her place, Julia Randazzo aided partner Soval Garg to a 6-3, 1-6, 2-1 halt.
Holy Redeemer did not win a set against mighty Scranton Prep. In two halted matches, Cassetori led Prep’s Gabi Jakubek 5-1 in the second set in the top flight. Alex Kester also led her opponent 3-1 in the second set at No. 3 singles.
Hazleton Area came up short to Abington Heights in the Class 3A semifinal. The Cougars were dominant in the top two singles flights. Stephanie Mazurek won No. 1 by a 6-1, 6-1 score, and Lily Novak cruised through the second by a 6-3, 6-0 mark.
Abington Heights’ No. 3 doubles team of Isabelle Wilusz and Sophia Sebo outlasted the Cougars’ Macy Marturano and Julia Paulson-Houser for a 6-3, 6-4 victory to ensure its place in the regional final.
“We played as a team (in the semifinal),” Abington Heights coach Kelly Arp said. “Hazleton has some really strong players at the top. The doubles played really well.”
In the championship match, the Millionaires were too much for the Comets. Abington Heights had its lone win at No. 1 doubles. Savannah Blaum and Lauren Koczwara were among the first finishers with a 6-2, 6-4 win against the Millionaires’ Madison Heller and Taylor Shipman.
“Well, we lost a lot of strong players last year so we did not think we would have as much of a chance to do well in districts,” Arp said. “We have so many freshmen playing. But they are coming through and playing strong.”
The match came to a close in a tightly contested No. 3 singles match. The Comets’ Clare Della Valle had Williamsport’s Alisha Chen on the ropes, pushing a third set that could’ve decided the title. Luck worked in Chen’s favor on two similar fortuitous shots in the same final game. Twice, Chen’s shot hit the front side of net and trickled over the line for a Williamsport point (including match point) to give her a 6-4, 7-5 win.
It was Della Valle’s first loss of the season.
“She doesn’t necessarily have a lot of power,” Arp said. “She’s really steady and dependable. She puts the ball back in play.”
Class 2A Semifinals
Scranton Prep 3, Holy Cross 0
Singles — 1. Gabi Jakuek (SP) d. Kelly Pacifico 6-1, 6-1; 2. Tatiana Klacko (SP) d. Lauren Palmiter 6-0, 6-0; 3. Gabrielle Serratore (SP) vs. Theresa Dutt er 7-6 (0), 0-1 Halt.
Doubles — 1. Gaba Horchos/Amelia Desiderio (SP) d. Rose Martilotti/Angelina Huffman 6-0, 6-4; 2. Julia Horchos/Isabel Hou (SP) vs. Cassie Groncki/Haley Bestryicki 6-4, 1-5 Halt
Holy Redeemer 3, Wyoming Seminary 1
Singles — 1. Camryn Cassetori (HR) d. Nicole Joanlanne 6-3, 6-0; 2. Charlotte Maria (HR) d. Abbey Capin 7-5, 6-4; 3. Sharon Zhou (SEM) d. Alex Kester 6-1, 6-2
Doubles — 1. Emily Evans/Lauren LaMarca (HR) d. Becca Hammerman/Emily Laurore 6-4, 6-1; 2. Julia Randazzo/Soval Garg (HR) vs. Emily Urbanski/Emilia Lautz 6-3, 1-6, 2-1 Halt
Class 2A Finals
Scranton Prep 3, Holy Redeemer 0
Singles — 1. Jakubek (SP) vs. Cassetori 6-4, 1-5 Halt; 2. Klacko (SP) d. Maria 6-1, 6-4; 3. Serratore (SP) vs. Kester 6-4, 1-3 Halt
Doubles — 1. GHorchos/Desiderio (SP) d. Evans/LaMarca 6-4, 6-1; 2. JHorchos/Hou (SP) d. Randazzo/Garg 6-2, 6-1;
District 2-4 Subregional
Class 3A Semis
Williamsport 3, Wallenpaupack 2
Singles — 1. Amanda Southard (WPT) d. Zoe Cykosky 7-6 (2), 6-2; 2. Phoebe Cykosky (WAL) d. Kate Meale 6-2, 6-1; 3. Alisha Chen (WPT) d. Heidi Washburn 6-0, 6-2
Doubles — 1. Kristen Denniston/Gina Nolan (WAL) d. Madison Heller/Taylor Shipman 6-1, 6-2; 2. Mia Shuler/Christine McFadden (WPT) d. Briella Brice/Julia Spanton 6-2, 6-0
Abington Heights 3, Hazleton Area 2
Singles — 1. Stephanie Mazurek (HAZ) d. Lauren Carroll 6-1, 6-1; 2. Lily Novak (HAZ) d. Catherine Pusateri 6-3, 6-0; 3. Clare Della Valle (AH) d. Sofia Losen 6-0, 6-1
Doubles — 1. Savannah Blaum/Lauren Koczwara (AH) d. Kim Delregno/Adrianna Bohman 6-1, 6-1; 2. Macy Marturano/Julia Paulson-Houser 6-3, 6-4
Class 3A Finals
Williamsport 3, Abington Heights 1
Singles — 1. Southard (WPT) d. Carroll 6-4, 6-3; 2. Pusateri (AH) vs. Meale 6-4, 6-5 Halt; 3. Chen (WPT) d. Della Valle 6-4, 7-5
Doubles — 1. Blaum/Koczwara d. Heller/Shipman 6-2, 6-4; 2. Shuler/McFadden (WPT) d. Marturano/Paulson-Houser 6-0, 6-0