Warwick girls showing signs of improvement

By on August 29, 2018
Warwick senior Lillian Marino keeps her eye on the ball as she makes a return volley in a match last week. Photo by Missi Mortimer

Warwick senior Lillian Marino keeps her eye on the ball as she makes a return volley in a match last week. Photo by Missi Mortimer

MC starts the season 3-1

The girls tennis season is still young, but Warwick coach Ron Wanner already notices a difference in his players from the opening day of workouts.

“They’re getting better,” he said. “You can tell at practice, you can tell watching the challenge matches. The kids are getting more consistent.”

Certainly, the Warwick girls gave Pequea Valley a battle on Monday in a non-league clash, particularly at first doubles where seniors Erin Fleurant and Selena Orta rallied from a first-game loss against Ryleigh Kurtz and Hope Fisher to force a super-tiebreaker before suffering a 6-3, 5-7, 10-5 loss.

“They played a nice doubles match, had a nice comeback and just fell a little short,” Wanner said.

In the end, the Lady Braves went on to earn a 5-0 shutout, as Kristin Huenink and Caroline Bragg defeated Warwick’s Chloe Long and Jania Weist 6-2, 6-1 at second doubles, then Sophia Weaver earned a 6-2, 6-0 decision against Lillian Marino at first singles, Naomi Feister claimed a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Heather Mitchell at two, and Adalie Clemmer won 6-3, 6-4 vs. Kaelan Miller at three.

“I thought the match was closer than a 5-0 match,” Wanner said. “We were close at first doubles with the super-tiebreaker. The girls played tough. Long games, long sets, and long matches.”

The loss dropped Warwick to 0-2 overall, including a 6-1 loss at back-yard rival Manheim Central last Friday in their season opener.

Orta got the Lady Warriors on the scoreboard at number four singles, defeating MC’s Janae Bright by a 6-3, 6-1 decision.

Elsewhere, the outcomes were up for grabs right down to the wire. In doubles, the Lady Barons’ Hannah Kowalski/Eliana Shenk team defeated Warwick’s Marino and Mitchell 8-5, Grace Roberts and Bright teamed up for an 8-6 nail-biter against the Lady Warriors’ Miller/Orta team, and Olivia Good and Courtney Weaver held on for a 9-7 win against Fleurant and Long.

“Doubles were all close,” Wanner said. “I was pleased with that. (Manheim Central) had a match or two in already and it was our first one — it could have made a difference, maybe not. But we played them tough.”

In singles play, Manheim Central’s Kowalski was a 7-5, 6-3 winner against Marino at one, Shenk came away with a 6-4, 6-1 decision over Mitchell in the number two match, and Roberts defeated Miller 6-0, 7-5 at three.

From last year’s team, the Lady Warriors graduated their number one player in Annie Rakos, in addition to Ashleigh Bell and Katelyn Jones, who also played in the top six.

Marino, who played at number two last year, has moved into the top spot for Warwick this fall, joining Mitchell as the team’s captains.

“She’s our best player at this point — nice serve and strong at the net,” Wanner said. “She’s kinda lanky and likes to go to the net and play up there. She’s improved all aspects of her game. She’s got to play the best girls on every team, but she’s doing a good job for us.”

Ditto for Mitchell, who has bumped up to number two after playing at four in 2017.

“Heather’s doing a good job, she’s improved her game,” Wanner said. “She’s more of a base line player. She’s not a real power player, but just steady. She’ll wear you down, that’s her style.”

Holding down the third and fourth spots on this year’s team are Miller and Orta.

“Kaelan’s working on her consistency,” Wanner said. “She’s a strong player and strikes the ball very well. She’s been in her matches. Selena is just a steady player who has improved as well.”

Fifth and sixth on the team are Fleurant and Long, who normally team up together in doubles.

“Erin has done a nice job for us so far this year.” Wanner said. “Chloe is a steady player. She does a good job from the base line.”

In all, the Warwick girls have a big turnout of players on the team, with 29 on the roster. Many of those are newcomers, but with Warwick losing eight seniors to graduation next fall, the experience they acquire this year will be helpful.

The Lady Warriors returned to the courts yesterday (Wednesday) for a non-league match at Cocalico, and they will host Garden Spot this Friday at 12 p.m. before meeting Ephrata next Tuesday, Sept. 4 in their Section One opener.

***

Manheim Central, meanwhile, improved to 3-1 overall on Monday, shutting out Penn Manor 7-0 in a non-league match in Millersville.

Kowalski (6-1, 6-0), Shenk (6-2, 6-2), Roberts (6-2, 6-0) and Bright (6-0, 6-1) won singles in straight sets. In doubles play, Kowalski and Shenk cruised 8-1, Roberts and Bright earned an 8-0 shutout, while Good and Weaver prevailed 8-1.

Last Wednesday, Aug. 22 at Ephrata, the MC girls swept doubles and then came away with a split in singles, leading them to a 5-2 non-league win.

Roberts (6-3, 7-5) and Bright (6-0, 6-0) clinched Central’s victory by posting singles wins. Earlier, the doubles pairings of Kowalski/Shenk (8-4), Bright/Roberts (8-2) and Good/Julia Myers gave the Lady Barons a commanding lead.

In their season opener on Monday, Aug. 20, the MC girls suffered a 5-0 loss to Cedar Crest.

Roberts (4-6, 6-2, 10-4) and Shenk (4-6, 7-5, 10-8) each went to a super-tiebreaker before dropping a hard-fought loss in three sets.

 

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