Pleasant Vy. players out
nancy scholz/times news Pleasant Valley's Sara Elmontacir prepares to hit a forehand during the opening round of the District 11 Classs AAA Tennis Tournament on Thursday. Elmontacir lost in straight sets to Northampton's Darby McCall.
ALLENTOWN - Pleasant Valley didn't produce any winners during the opening round of the District 11 Class AAA Singles Tennis Tournament on Thursday at West End Racquet and Fitness Center.
But according to veteran Bear coach Mark Allison and his players, there weren't any losers either.
Pleasant Valley's Lauren Heckelman faced the tournament's No. 1 seed Marielle McIntyre of Freedom and dropped a 6-2, 6-1 decision. The Bears' Sara Elmontacir also lost in straight sets, falling to Darby McCall of Northampton, 6-1, 6-1.
"We had a couple of unlucky draws," said Allison. "Both of our girls faced very good Lehigh Valley Conference players.
"But they both played hard and made their opponents work for their points. I'm proud of how they competed today and thrilled with how they played this entire season."
Heckelman, who has an 8-5 record playing No. 1 singles for the Bears this season, had the unfortunate draw of McIntyre for her opening match. The District only seeds the top eight players for the tournament with the rest of the bracketing for the 32-player tournament randomly assigned.
But Heckelman wasn't feeling sorry for herself.
"I'm an extremely competitive person," she said. "I was going to go out there and give 110 percent no matter who I was playing.
"She was a great player and I tip my hat to her. But I'm happy with how I battled her."
Elmontacir, who has a 7-6 record at No. 2 singles for the Bears this season, won the first game in both sets, but wasn't able to build on the momentum.
"This was my first year at Districts," said Elmontacir. "Even though I lost it was a wonderful opportunity and a wonderful experience.
"Darby (McCall) played a great match. I wasn't able to win, but I love playing tennis and I always enjoy my time on the court."
Allison praised his two seniors for their records this season, for the fact that they both placed in the Mountain Valley Conference Tournament, and for giving Pleasant Valley two D-11 qualifiers for the first time in four or five years.
But he said they weren't there most important contributions to the Bear program.
"Lauren and Sara were great leaders this season," said Allison. "They were voted the captain and co-captain by their teammates and they really took those roles to heart.
"We have a lot of younger girls on the team and they set a tremendous example for those girls to follow. They are two great kids."
Elmontacir said being leaders on and off the court was something that her and Heckelman prided themselves on this season.
"We wanted to transform this year's team from a bunch of individuals playing tennis to a tennis team and I felt like we accomplished that."
Heckelman added, "I loved our team this season. There wasn't one day all year that I didn't look forward to practicing or playing a match. It was so much fun. I hate to see the season end."
The opening day of the district tournament ended with six of the eight seeded players advancing.
McIntyre (1), Parkland Jenna Pang (2), East Stroudsburg South's freshmen twin sisters Brittany Poje (3) and Kaitlyn Poje (4), Northampton's Brittany Hodge (5) and Freedom's Julie Boylan (7) all won two matches.
Parkland's Tuquen Pham produced the first upset when she beat No. 6 seed Jelena Bajic of Allen in the opening round. Pham then beat Darby McCall in the second round, 6-3, 6-2.
The other upset came when Parkland's Coleen Wylie beat No. 8 seed Jess Wain of Bangor in the second round. Wylie beat Madison McCall of Northampton in her opening round match.