Playing an opponent three times throughout the course of a season and defeating that opponent the first two times, always sets up the challenge of winning, that third time.
The Stroudsburg and Pleasant Valley girls' tennis teams met for that third and final time Tuesday as the No. 2 and 7 seeds in the District 11 AAA team tennis tournament. The Mounties pulled off close wins in the first two meetings, but Stroudsburg head coach Adele Gardner knew that the challenge was going to be a tough one and that the third time wasn't necessarily going to be the charm.
However, the Mounties proved to have more of the goods in this one, as they pulled out the 3-2 win over the Lady Bears to advance on to the semifinals.
"Pleasant Valley is a strong team ... a very strong team," Gardner said. "They compete well. I knew this one was going to be a toss-up. With them being the seventh seed, I knew that the seeds meant nothing."
Stroudsburg defeated the Bears, 4-3 and 5-2 earlier this year, and this one proved to be even closer, coming down to the number two doubles match to decide the overall outcome. When Mariah Bostwick and Macy Kendrick won the final point of their 6-4, 6-3 decision, the Mounties squad breathed a collective sigh of relief, seeing their team continue on with their outstanding season.
In the two previous meetings, the Lady Bears won that particular match-up. Not only did they beat Mounties, but tandem of Andrea Nale and Emily Borger had an undefeated season going.
"Mentally and emotionally, Bostwick and Kendrick have been through some tough matches, and they've learned a lot," Gardner said. "But they went out there today with a ton of poise."
Pleasant Valley head coach Mark Allison knew that the match could go either way, saying, "I expected the match to be a close one. The other two times we played them, it was close too. But you have to give Stroudsburg a lot of credit because they played really well today."
Pleasant Valley represented well on the day as Emily Thek won in straight sets over Sophie Rostock, 7-5, 6-4 at No. 2 singles, while the No. 1 doubles team of Sarina Tufano and Paolo Mieles dropped their first set, but battled back, 4-6, 6-2, 6-4.
Madison Olexson had a tough task at No. 1 singles, playing Yasmine Hasan, but didn't give her opponent an easy win. At No. 3 singles, the Bears' Mackie Caffrey was down 6-0, 5-2, before battling back to 5-all in the second set before eventually falling.
With the loss, the Bears (12-5) see their record-setting season come to a close and Allison had nothing but praise for his collection of athletes.
"Without a doubt, looking back on the season, it's been a fantastic year for us at PV," Allison said. "We broke a lot of school records ... for team wins, in singles, in doubles, everything. It's been a great season."
Stroudsburg 3, Pleasant Vy. 2
Yasmine Hasan (S) def. Madison Olexson 6-4, 6-3; Emily Thek (PV) def. Sophie Rostock 7-5, 6-4; Stephi Luna (S) def. Mackie Caffrey 6-0, 7-5.
Sarina Tufano/Paolo Mieles (PV) def. Faith Thaler/Emily Geiger 4-6, 6-2, 6-4; Mariah Bostwick/Maci Kendrick (S) def. Andrea Nale/Emily Borger 6-4, 6-3.