Tamaqua gets third straight win
The Tamaqua girls' tennis team certainly knows about streaks.
Last week, the Lady Raiders opened their season with a streak of four matches in four days.
Yesterday afternoon, they found themselves in the midst of a three-match winning streak, courtesy of a 3-2 victory over Jim Thorpe.
After beginning their season with two shutout losses to Hamburg and Pocono Mountain East, the Raiders have turned things around with wins over Pottsville, Freeland MMI and the Olympians.
"At first, I think the girls were a little nervous and apprehensive with match play, but now I think they're starting to settle in and get the hang of things," stated Tamaqua first-year head coach Jennel Yelito. "I think four straight matches last week was a little hard on them, but they're starting to learn how to read their opponents and gain confidence on the court."
In singles play, Kristina Zwolenik and Lauren Androkitis paced Tamaqua with straight-set wins. Zwolenik, Tamaqua's top singles player, defeated Ellyn Tomko 6-0, 6-1, while Androkitis took down Marissa Farra 6-2, 6-2.
For both players, it marked their third straight victory.
"They're both physically ready for singles competition and mentally they're learning how to tough out matches," added Yelito. "You have to play to win (rather than sit back and hope your opponent makes mistakes) and I think they're understanding that well and it's showing in their matches."
The pivotal (and game-deciding) match took place at number one doubles, where Jordan Nowacki and Vanessa Wagner defeated Alex Mostellar and Katherine Jones 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (7-5) in a nearly two-and-a-half hour marathon that featured two tiebreakers.
In both sets, Mostellar and Jones found themselves trailing 4-1 but rallied to force the tiebreaker.
"We were down in both sets, but the girls never gave up," noted Jim Thorpe head coach Norb Leinhard. "We certainly had the chances to win those tiebreakers but the Tamaqua girls stepped up and took it from us."
"Jordan and Vanessa work really well together," added Yelito. "They communicate with each other on the court and they've definitely improved as a team from the first match of the season."
For Jim Thorpe (0-4), the transition of replacing their top three singles players from a season ago continues to be a work in progress. However, after being shutout by Blue Mountain, Southern Lehigh and Palisades in their first three matches, the Olympians finally broke through with their first singles and doubles points of the season.
At number two doubles, Anna Domingo defeated Cassie Martin in straight-sets, 6-3, 6-2, while the doubles tandem of Laura Kohutka and Victoria Schaeder came away with a 6-3, 6-3 victory.
"Even though we didn't get the win out there today, I thought there were a lot of good things that happened, " stated Leinhard. "It was nice to finally get on the scoreboard in singles play and I thought Anna did a nice job of hitting the ball hard and moving it around."
With the win, the Raiders improve to 3-2 on the season and will look to extend their winning streak to four when they host William Allen this Saturday at 10:00 a.m.
Tamaqua 3, Jim Thorpe 2
Kristina Zwolenik (T) def. Ellyn Tomko 6-0, 6-1; Anna Domingo (JT) def. Cassie Martin 6-3, 6-2; Lauren Androkitis (T) def. Marissa Farra 6-2, 6-2.
Jordan Nowacki/Vanessa Wagner (T) def. Katherine Jones/Alex Mostellar 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (7-5); Laura Kohutka/Victoria Schaeder (JT) def. Brittany Clouser/Alexandra Kurek 6-3, 6-3.