Area tennis players fall
nancy scholz/special to the times news Jim Thorpe's Ellyn Tomko returns a ball during the District 11 Class AA Singles Tournament on Thursday. Tomko dropped her opening match to Paige Gurski of Bethlehem Catholic.
SOUTH WHITEHALL TOWNSHIP Six arae players competed in the District 11 Class AA singles tennis tournament Thursday at West End Racquet and Fitness Club.
None advanced past the first round of action.
Tamaqua's Lauren Androkitis, Vanessa Wagner and Jordan Nowacki; Jim Thorpe's Ellyn Tomko and Anna Domingo; and Palmerton's Kayla Strohl all suffered setbacks in the first round of tournament play.
"A lot of it had to due with their nerves because they see this as some big tournamen. And it is," said Tamaqua head coach Jennel Yelito said. "But they're still playing tennis and it's all the same game. I think it was the mental part of it that really got to them today.
"I think it was a good experience for them to play here. There's different levels. Obviously, there's a lot of good players here and they're from the Valley. What we need to do is pick up our own level of play."
Nowacki, who faced last year's runner-up in Moravian Academy's Tara Jain, was one of four area players to suffer 6-0, 6-0 setbacks. Domingo, who drew the tournament's No. 1 seed in Southern Lehigh's Robyn Ferraro, as well as Wagner and Strohl also fell 6-0, 6-0.
Androkitis, who is the Blue Raiders' No. 1 singles' player, won one game against Notre Dame of Green Pond's Heather Hidalgo, falling 6-0, 6-1.
Tomko, the Olympians' No. 1 singles' player, was the last area player standing the district competition as she went two long sets against Bethlehem Catholic's Paige Gurski.
Tomko played in districts last year, falling 6-2, 6-0 to this year's tournament sixth seed, Notre Dame of East Stroudsburg's Gabrielle LeGendre.
Against Gurski on Thursday, Tomko took an early lead before the Lady Golden Hawk turned the tide and won 6-4, 6-2.
"(Ellyn) started out real great," Lienhard said. "She was up at 4-love in the first set and then she started making some mistakes. But give (Gurski) credit. She tightened her game up because at first she was the one making a lot of mistakes. She tightened her game up and then was getting her ball in play and making Ellyn play.
"Ellyn came back and had some nice points in the second set."
Tamaqua seniors Wagner and Nowacki, along with Tomko and Domingo, will be returning next week to take part in the District 11 Class 2A doubles' tournament.
"Hopefully they come back and they're used to being in a different place with a lot of talented players," said Yelito. "It's a little intimidating. Hopefully when they come back, they can get over that and go out and play well together in doubles."