Raiders keep poise to beat JT
bob ford/times news Jim Thorpe's Gabbie Binder attempts to put away a point at the net.
The Tamaqua girls' tennis team showed poise and composure in turning back a number of Jim Thorpe comeback attempts en route to a 4-1 win on Thursday.
Even though the Lady Raiders (3-3) took the first set in four of their five matches, Jim Thorpe (2-3) did its best to fight back in the contest.
Tamaqua's Sarah Zoba and Carly Fenstermacher held on for wins in straight sets in singles action while the Lady Raiders swept doubles play.
The resolve of the Tamaqua squad is something that coach Jenell Yelito feels has come from the experience of playing in close matches over the years.
"I think the mentality of staying in every point really helped a lot of the singles girls," Yelito said. "The two singles girls that won are seniors now and I really think they're showing that 'all-or-nothing' mentality they've learned over the years of playing.
"You can't show all that emotion; you have to play hard for every point and really earn it because it's not going to just happen. I think they're really showing that in their play."
That resolve and determination will be key for Tamaqua as the season moves forward, with matches only increasing in significance.
"You need that mental toughness in this game, and it shows," Yelito said. "I can tell they're playing a lot differently from last year, a lot more mature in the way they're carrying themselves and a little more seriously, which helps lead the team."
Bryanna Kehrli led Lady Olympians, picking up a come-from-behind win in three sets in singles action.
Jim Thorpe coach Norb Lienhard likes the fight in his team, but knows they'll have to improve their play earlier in matches to be successful.
"There was no give up in any of them, they all went right down to the wire," Lienhard said of his girls. "But we have to start quicker so they don't have to worry about fighting back.
"But at least they want to fight back because that's a big thing. If you don't have that, you're going to go out there and lose 6-0, 6-0."
Tamaqua also took advantage of an aggressive Jim Thorpe group, which got the Lady Olympians off balance and out of sync early. Adapting to the constantly evolving style of play throughout the match is something Lienhard has been working on with his girls.
"This was the first team that we've seen that's come up to the net so much," Lienhard said. "And then when we came up to the net, they could lob it over us. This was really the first team that could do that to us. Usually when we play at the net, our girls can put the ball away. But Tamaqua didn't give us that chance.
"It's all about small adjustments throughout the course of the match and that's something I want them to learn on their own. But we're not there yet."
Tamaqua 4, Jim Thorpe 1
Sarah Zoba (T) def. Gabbie Binder (JT) 6-1, 6-4; Bryanna Kehrli (JT) def. Maddie Dolinsky (T) 1-6, 6-4, 6-0; Carly Fenstermacher (T) def. Haley Cope (JT) 6-2, 7-6 (7-4).
Ally Pedersen/Beth Kistler (T) def. Maria Donati/Minke Pheiffer (JT) 4-6, 6-3, 6-4; Maddie Davis/Emma Osenbach (T) def. Hope Damian/ Rudy Jackson (JT) 6-2, 6-3.