Whitehall-Coplay Press

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Tennis team rebounds

Thursday, August 29, 2019 by Steve andres Special to the Press in Sports

The Whitehall girls tennis team quickly rebounded from last week’s loss at the hands of Bethlehem Catholic when they took to the court Monday against Pocono Mountain West to begin a busy week.

After suffering a 7-0 defeat to the Golden Hawks who may eventually lay claim as the top team in the league, the Zephyrs responded with a 5-2 victory over the visiting Panthers on the first day of school.

Head coach Alex Green understands that some matches may tilt heavily toward their competition in the talented Eastern Pennsylvania Conference, and the Golden Hawks are one of those programs who’ve produced a state champ. They also have a roster that’s chock full of premium players. Still, he applauded their competitiveness.

“I was pretty pleased with how we played,” said Green.

Green said that after the match, he talked with the players and reinforced the objective every time they take the court, asking them if they got better that day.

“They seemed to genuinely say, ‘Yeah, we feel like we did get better against Bethlehem Catholic,’” said Green.

Green said that became the most important takeaway from that match.

In that match, Natalia Pedraza gave Golden Hawk Shannon Stewart a battle, losing a tough tiebreaker in the first set 7-6 (6). Stewart, who played at Emmaus last year as their No. 1 singles player, rode that win to complete the straight set victory, taking the next set 6-2.

Green said Pedraza was in her match throughout the day, sending notice that she could play with the best the EPC had to offer.

Noel Yacoub had the task of facing freshman Cara Magliochetti at No. 2 singles. Yacoub was able to take a game from Magliochetti whose sister Brenna won a state championship for Bethlehem Catholic in 2017.

Yacoub’s steadiness on the court is something that may take her a long way when the postseason rolls around, and it’s possible a rematch with Magliochetti could be on the horizon.

Green said that the team beings a busy week with four matches scheduled in five days, beginning with PMW. The rest of the matches will see the Zephyrs hit the road as they travel north to face East Stroudsburg South and Pleasant Valley. Sandwiched in between those two contests is an away match versus Allen.

They began that stretch with that 5-2 win over the Panthers. It was their second win of the season, evening their record at 2-2.

In the win, Pedraza defeated Andriana Carrion in straight sets, 6-0, 6-0.

At No. 2 singles, Yacoub blanked Jen Celi 6-0, 6-0, while No. 3 singles Nicole Asmar downed Kativa Hernandez 6-0, 6-0.

All three singles players didn’t surrender a game.

At No. 2 doubles, Heylee Chan and Emily Tran defeated Barb Madejczyk & Sincere Gibson 6-0, 6-0, while at No. 3 doubles, Marina Fayez and Delana Spencer topped Aaliyah Perry and Smyrna Carrion 6-1, 6-1.

Green said that it was good to get right back into the win column after that loss to the Golden Hawks. They did the same thing after losing to Liberty in the opener, coming back the next day to defeat Bangor.

“That was really great to see,” he said.

He said this week’s crucial because of what lies ahead. Those four road matches will represent an opportunity to climb the standings and put them among the best teams in the EPC.

Green feels that the league is wide open this year and sees the Zephyrs competing at a high level.

“If we just focus on ourselves, and try to get better pretty much every day at practice, we can be one of the better teams in the conference,” Green said. “But we have to work hard to get there.”