ALLENTOWN - It might be hard to find bright spots in the outcome of three separate doubles tennis teams from THE TIMES NEWS area Friday, as all three of them amassed five total games and made first round exits at West End Racquet & Fitness Club in Orefield. However, talking to the coaches of the pairs, it wasn't that difficult at all.
In the first round, two teams from Tamaqua and one team from Jim Thorpe were ousted in straight sets and put an end to their hopes of some doubles success. Anne Schu and Hannah Heckman of Blue Mountain defeated Jim Thorpe's Gabby Kline and Carly Marzen, 6-0, 6-2. Meanwhile, Carly Fenstermacher and Nicki Mateyak dropped a 6-1 6-2 decision at the hands of Julia Atiyeh and Taylor Treadwell of Bethlehem Catholic and the duo of Vicki Krouse and Taylor Urban were downed, 6-0, 6-0 by Kayla Bohnhorst and Courtnee Lambert of Saucon Valley, who also happened to be the tournament's number three seed overall.
Despite the severity of the losses, Tamaqua's head coach Jennel Yelito prided her way through the post-match interview with plenty of optimism and hope for future scholastic tennis endeavors.
"Our girls are so young, so this is a really good learning experience for them," Yelito admits. "One of the teams is our number one doubles team throughout the regular season and the other is our number one and number two singles players, so this is realistically one of the first times they've played together on court."
Jim Thorpe head coach Norb Lienhard also had some positive commentary about his team's entries to the draw.
"Both of the girls that played in the tournament for us today were our team's only two seniors this year," Lienhard mentioned. "They were our number one doubles team all year long and had a great season. They finished 8-3 in the regular season, so I told them before the match to go out and have fun. This match and this tournament was just the 'icing on the cake,' so they did do exactly that. They enjoyed themselves."
Despite the outcome of the match, Marzen and Kline faced a tough opponent in the Blue Mountain team. The talent on the other side of the net showed, too.
"They (The Blue Mountain team) were definitely strong players. I don't know if it was because it was indoors or just that they were that strong, but they hit the ball very hard and at times, our girls were having trouble returning shots. Even though they got off to a rough start, we started to play better near the end of the match and they finally caught on to the pace."
However, it proved to be too little to late for the pair of Lady Olympians, as they closed their season.
For Tamaqua, both of the Raiders' entries into the draw had tough luck, as Krouse and Urban were pitted against the tournament's number three seed in the Saucon Valley tandem. Twelve games later, the match was decided.
For Yelito's other pair, Mateyak and Fenstermacher, they dropped the first set swiftly, and faced a 1-0 deficit in the second. However, they stepped up and broke back, eventually taking a 2-1 lead. However, the Lady Panthers showed their worth, reeling off the next five games to win outright.
"It's really good for the girls to get tournament experience and there were some really good points by both teams," Yelito related. "Anytime you get the chance to play them, it's really good for the athletes to play against the better, higher-caliber teams. We're really happy to represent our team with two doubles teams."
With two teams accepted into the draw, the Blue Raiders must be doing something right.