Another high school girls tennis season opened Monday in the Wyoming Valley Conference. And one of the biggest questions was if anyone could end the winning streak of three-time champ Hazleton Area.
Wyoming Seminary quickly provided an answer.
The host Blue Knights knocked off the Cougars 4-1 as Emily Urbanski and Shailee winning in singles play and the teams of Dominica Delayo/Christina Cikowski and Paige Parsons/Becca Hammerman won in doubles.
Katie Pavlick’s Cougars squad has been the dominant force in the conference for a while now, as last year’s 14-0 campaign was the team’s second straight undefeated season.
The Cougars racked up plenty of accomplishments to go along with another conference championship. Departing senior standout Stephanie Mazurek won a District 2/4 singles title for the first time in the program’s history on top of helping earn the team District 2/4 title for the first time in school history and reaching the state playoffs.
This year’s Hazleton Area squad will return a number of key players, such as Lily Nowak, Alyssa Mazurek, Sophia Sebo and Sydney Shoemaker. Nowak won her match at No. 1 singles on Monday.
“We graduated five seniors, three of which were our top athletes, but thankfully we still have experienced players to rely on this season,” said Pavlick, who is in her third season leading the team. “We are looking to build our team up for the future with a fair amount of sophomores and juniors joining us. I have high expectations for all my players. I am looking forward to a great 2018 season.”
As for Wyoming Seminary, coach Allison Joanlanne’s team went 11-2 record a year ago, advancing to the semifinals of the district playoffs.
Although the program lost two key upperclassmen in Meghna Melkote and Abby Capin, many of their top players are coming back this season with the likes of Nicole Joanlanne, Urbanski and Desai being joined on the court by key newcomer Delayo.
“Our goal is always to win team districts. Our tough teams to beat are Holy Redeemer and Hazleton,” Allison Joanlanne said.
Another top contender is Joe Suchocki’s Holy Redeemer Royals. The Royals are coming off of a stellar 12-1 playoff campaign and have key starters in singles play returning in Cameron Cassetori, Tea Amerise and Cassie Benderavich, to go along with Sonal Garg’s valuable experience in doubles play.
The Wyoming Valley Conference will see lots of solid teams vying to make waves during the new season, as teams such as Wyoming Area, Dallas, Berwick, Pittston Area and Tunkhannock are all winning teams from a year ago who look to contend and move up in the standings this year.
Wyoming Area has a standout junior to lookout for in 2018 in Brianna Pizzano, who will look to win her second straight district title in singles play.
Holy Redeemer 4,
Wyoming Area 1
Brianna Pizzano won the top singles match to post the only win for the Warriors, but the Royals won all the others.
Tea Amerise at No. 2 singles and Cassie Benderavich at No. 3 combined to give up just one game in their victories.
MMI Prep 1
Jenna Laughinghouse took a victory at No. 2 singles, Megan Keiser won at No. 3 and the Tigers swept doubles play while storming to victory.
MMI Prep’s Katharine Pints won the top singles match.
Dallas 5, Crestwood 0
Sarah Stallard took a 6-0, 6-1 victory in the top singles match and the Mountaineers swept to victory.
Caroline Stallard and Reese Lewandowski combined for a 6-1, 6-0 win in the top doubles match.
Wyoming Valley West 3, GAR 2
Anabel Gifoli won the first singles match, Claire Capin took the No. 2 match when her opponent couldn’t go on and the Spartans pulled out a tight victory at Hamilton Park.
Coughlin 5, Hanover Area 0
Coughlin juniors Rachel Bath and Chabee Patel picked up their first career singles victories for the Crusaders.
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