WILKES-BARRE — The Abington Heights girls tennis team is in a familiar spot: playing for a championship. The Lady Comets have claimed six consecutive District 2 team titles.
Abington Heights outlasted Hazleton Area, 3-2, in the semifinals of the District 2-4 Class 3A girls team tennis subregional championship Oct. 11 at Kirby Park, but fell to Williamsport, 3-1, in the title match.
Despite the loss, Abington Heights will have the opportunity to win District 2 gold when it plays Wallenpaupack at 4 p.m. Oct. 20 at North Pocono.
Abington Heights defeated Wallenpaupack, 3-2, in a Lackawanna League match Aug. 31.
Hazleton Area was victorious in the top two singles flights. Stephanie Mazurek defeated Lauren Carroll at No. 1 by a 6-1, 6-1 score, and Lily Nowak topped Catherine Pusateri at No. 2 by a 6-3, 6-0 mark. Abington Heights freshman Clare DellaValle ousted Sofia Losen, 6-0, 6-1, in the number 3 spot.
Abington Heights claimed both doubles matches.
The Lady Comets No. 1 team of Savannah Blaum and Lauren Koczwara defeated the Cougars’ Kim Delregno and Adrianna Bohman, 6-1, 6-1.
Abington Heights’ No. 2 doubles team of Macy Marturano and Julia Poulson-Houser outlasted the Cougars’ Isabelle Wilusz and Sophia Sebo for a 6-3, 6-4 victory to ensure its place in the subregional final.
“We played as a team (in the semifinal),” Abington Heights head coach Kelly Arp said. “Hazleton has some really strong players at the top. The doubles played really well.”
In the championship match, the Lady Millionaires were too much for the Lady Comets. Abington Heights had its lone win at No. 1 doubles. Blaum and Koczwara were among the first finishers with a 6-2, 6-4 win against Williamsport’s Madison Heller and Taylor Shipman.
At No. 2 doubles, Abington Heights’ Marturano and Poulson-Houser fell to Mia Shuler and Christine McFadden, 6-0, 6-0,
Williamsport’s Amanda Southard held off Abington Heights’ Lauren Carroll, 6-4, 6-3 in the No. 1 singles match. At No. 2 singles, Catherine Pusateri, of Abington Heights, was leading Katie Meale, 6-4, 6-5, when the match was halted due to Williamsport’s having clinched the title.
“We lost a lot of strong players last year so we did not think we would have as much of a chance to do well in districts,” Arp said. “We have so many freshmen playing. But they are coming through and playing strong.”
The match came to a close in a tightly contested No. 3 singles match. Abington Heights’ Clare DellaValle had Williamsport’s Alisha Chen on the ropes, pushing a third set that could’ve decided the title. Luck worked in Chen’s favor on two similar, fortuitous shots in the second game. Twice, Chen’s shot hit the front side of net and trickled over the line for a Williamsport point (including match point) to give her a 6-4, 7-5 win.
It was DellaValle’s first loss of the season.
“She doesn’t necessarily have a lot of power,” Arp said, “but she’s really steady and dependable, and she puts the ball back in play.”