Pleasant Vy. edges Olympians
Pleasant Valley’s Riley Wagner hits a backhand during Tuesday’s match against Jim Thorpe. Wagner posted a 6-2, 6-1 victory at No. 1 singles. BOB FORD/TIMES NEWS
With the outcome of the match resting on their third set Tuesday, Pleasant Valley’s top doubles tandem of Julia Polak and Kara Thorout knew what they had to do.
Actually doing it, however, wasn’t easy.
Jim Thorpe and PV had split the other four matches, and it came down to their result. After splitting the first two sets with Jim Thorpe’s Evelyn Flores and Chloe Getz, everything boiled down to the third and decisive set.
The teams traded 6-4 victories in the first two sets, and the Bears were on the verge of victory after jumping ahead 5-2 and seemingly having things in hand. However, Flores and Getz battled back to even it at 5-5.
Thorout and Polak regained the momentum, however, and pulled out the match, clinching a 7-5 final set victory.
“They came up big for us today,” Pleasant Valley head coach Mark Allison said. “They have great chemistry and they play so well together, and that showed today.”
“It feels great to get the win as a team, and to be a big part of that,” Polak said.
“It was a lot of pressure on us to come out with the win, and especially because we started out losing the first set,” Thorout added. “And then, in the second set, we came back and we were working hard the whole time.”
The outcome marked the third win of the year for the Bears, who have suffered several close losses.
“We knew it was going to be a tough match with them being 9-1, coming into it. Plus, Norb always has his girls ready,” Allison said. “I’m really proud of the girls and the way they played.”
Adversity showed up early in the season for Allison’s squad, as several key players departed the lineup, leaving gaps and holes to fill. However, the group is coming along nicely and has improved as the season has progressed.
“We would love to make it to team districts,” both Thorout and Polak said.
“It’s a big goal for us, and we just have to keep working hard and playing our best.”
Meanwhile, the Olympians will look to bounce back from the tough loss as they also aim for postseason play. With a mark of 9-2, coach Norb Lienhard figures to his team in the thick of things near the end of the regular season.
Wins from senior Kaitlyn O’Neil (No. 2 singles) and the undefeated No. 2 doubles team of sophomore Gabby Nunez and junior Sophia Samoleski were the highlights for Jim Thorpe.
“I had no idea we would be at this point at this time of the season,” Lienhard said. “After losing (Times News Player of the Year) Leanne Van Essendelft), and one of our No. 1 doubles players (Angelica Uzar), we had two really big spots to fill.”
But, the Olympians have come together and worked hard to overcome the losses and put together another outstanding regular season.
“One thing I can say about all of the players is that they all battle and never give up,” Lienhard said. “The only bad thing is our slow starts at times, which has costs us some matches.”
DOWN THE ROAD ... Jim Thorpe returns to action with matches on Thursday and Saturday.
PATRIOT GAMES ... With the Jim Thorpe girls’ soccer game starting midway through the tennis match on the nearby football field, and the national anthem playing beforehand, all players on all courts stopped to pay their respects on the eve of 9/11.
Pleasant Valley 3, Jim Thorpe 2
Riley Wagner (PV) def. Christy McLean 6-2, 6-1; Kaitlyn O’Neil (JT) def. Hope Hoppe 6-0, 6-4; Rebecca Makrides (PV) def. Trista Gehris 6-2, 7-5.
Julia Polak/Kara Thourot (PV) def. Evelyn Flores/Chloe Getz 6-4, 4-6, 7-5; Gabby Nunez/Sophia Samoleski (JT) def. Julia DeYoung/Ehrin Frable 6-1, 6-2.