BETHLEHEM - Entering the District 11 girls team tennis tournament, Tamaqua had a bittersweet feeling.
On a positive note, the Blue Raiders made the tournament which is an accomplishment in itself. However, on the negative side, their opponent was top-seeded Moravian Academy.
The Lady Lions have a storied history of success and this year proved to be no different, as they won the Colonial League and entered the postseason with a 17-0 record. Tamaqua, meanwhile, went 8-8 during the regular season.
By the end of the Class AA match, Moravian prevailed 5-0 over Jennel Yelito's roster and advanced to the tournament's semifinals.
The final scores of the individual matches do not yield how close the games and points actually were. The Blue Raiders, despite falling in each match in straight sets, challenged their opponent on every point played.
"I think we did fairly well," Yelito said. "The girls had plenty of good points and they stayed in points and hung tough. They wanted to go in and challenge them and I think they accomplished that."
Moravian Academy head coach Tom Schoeninger agreed.
"They played some strong tennis today and that's what I was hoping for in the first round. I thought their best effort came at number one doubles. There were a lot of good points and my girls had to work hard to get the win."
At number one doubles, Tamaqua's Taylor Urban and Vicky Krouse were defeated 6-3, 6-2 and showed their mettle by challenging plenty of those games, taking their opponents, Tasha Deb and Saira Agarwala, to plenty of deuce games.
Moravian Academy is poised to make another run at a district title and even has their sight set on a run at states. The Lions feature plenty of parody, with even play from Nos 1-7 on their roster. That's part of the problem of facing them day in and day out. In fact, in the last four years, they have only lost one regular season match.
"I tell the girls that the magic number is seven," Schoeninger said. "They need seven wins for a state championship. No matter what, the season does end and they can determine whether to end the season with a win, that would mean a state championship, or a loss along the way. I want to see how far they can go."
Tamaqua's season, meanwhile, comes to an end with plenty of positives to build on for next year.
"I definitely think we're proud of our season," Yelito said. "We're proud that we made the team tournament because there are plenty of teams that don't do that. We had a good record and that shows just how hard the girls worked. We lost five seniors from last year's squad, so it shows how much they wanted to improve."
Moravian Academy 7,
Taylor Kiel (MA) d. Nicki Mateyak 6-1, 6-0; Mia Chyung (MA) d. Carly Fenstermacher 6-1, 6-2; Kara Chyung (MA) d. Sarah Zoba 6-1, 6-0.
Tasha Deb/Saira Agarwala (MA) d. Vicky Krouse/Taylor Urban 6-3, 6-2; Katie Burke/Ani Acopian (MA) d. Laine Confer/Emily Hansler 6-0, 6-0.