Bears fall in second round
nancy scholz/special to the times news Pleasant Valley's Madison Olexson returns the ball during Thursday's District 11 Class AAA Doubles Tournament.
ALLENTOWN - For the second straight week, Pleasant Valley turned in a solid showing at the District 11 Class AAA Girls Tennis Tournament.
The district's best doubles teams were on display Thursday at the Westend Racquet Swim & Fitness Club and the Bears showed they belonged.
Last week, Pleasant Valley's singles players accomplished a first in school history. Yesterday, the doubles teams did that one better by establishing a pair of school firsts.
For the first time in school history, three Pleasant Valley teams were selected for the 32-team field. Once on the court, the Bears did something else that had never happened in school history - they advanced two teams to the second round.
Pleasant Valley's No.1 doubles team of Madison Olexson and Emily Thek breezed to a 6-2, 6-2 victory in their opener and the Bears' No. 3 doubles team of Andrea Nale and Emily Borger posted a 6-2, 3-6, 10-3 win in their first round match.
While Nale and Borger advanced by winning a 10-point third-set tiebreaker, a loss in a third-set tiebreaker was all that prevented Pleasant Valley from sending all three of its teams into the next round. The Bears' No. 2 doubles team of Sarina Tufano and Paola Mieles couldn't hold on after a strong start and dropped a 1-6, 6-4, 10-5 decision in the opening round.
"I thought all our girls did a nice job today," said veteran Pleasant Valley coach Mark Allison. "I'm happy with the talent and depth we are building in our program.
"Last week, we had two players advance to the second round of the singles tournament for the first time ever and today was the first time we had two doubles teams advance to the second round of the tournament."
Olexson and Thek, who both won a match in the singles tournament last week, teamed up yesterday and swept to a straight set victory over the Nazareth duo of Julianna Mitchell and Amber Achenbach in the opening round.
Olexson and Thek were eliminated by Flannery Johnston and Kaleigh DiNoto of Freedom, 6-4, 6-2, in the second round.
"Madison and Emily were very competitive against the a Freedom team that was the No. 2 seed in the tourney," said Allison. "There were a lot of close games in the match. A few points here or there, especially in that first set, and the outcome could have been different.
"There was a lot of good tennis. Nice rallies, competitive points … I'm proud of how our girls battled."
Allison was also pleased with what he saw from his other two teams.
"Both our No. 2 and No. 3 teams played really tough opening matches," Allison said. "It shows the depth we are developing in our program.
"The girls are now able to push each more at practice and that makes everyone better."
After beating Freedom's Elizabeth McCarthy and Marissa Mele in the opening round,
Nale and Borger were eventually knocked out of the tournament by the seventh-seeded Liberty duo of Samantha Peterson and Madelyn Conrad, 6-0, 6-2.
"It's not very often that a No. 3 doubles team makes it to the round of 16 - unless your talking about Parkland or someone like that," said Allison. "So it was a great accomplishment for our girls.
"Even in the match they lost to Liberty, they did some really nice things. The score is a little deceptive because a number of the games were close."
The Bears will try to add another chapter to their successful season on Tuesday when they travel to Stroudsburg for the quarterfinal round of the District 11 team tennis tournament.