New­com­ers step­ping up for lady cal­cons

The Advance of Bucks County - - SPORTS - By Steve Sher­man

Buck­sLo­calS­ports Ed­i­tor

Penns­bury sin­gles tennis play­ers Katie oeilly and Sona Hus­sian along with dou­bles player Ni­cole oaftery are back on the court this sea­son but make no mis­take, the Lady Fal­cons re­turn as a re­vamped unit from the one that earned a sec­ond-place fin­ish in the Subur­ban One League tour­na­ment a year ago.

Ev­ery­one else on the team is play­ing her first year on var­sity in­clud­ing se­nior Hai­ley oichard­son, who stepped up from JV to take the No. 3 sin­gles slot.

“It has been a chal­lenge hav­ing a lot of new play­ers from JV com­ing in and start­ing in the [var­sity] lineup,” said head coach Lind­sey de­beau. “Be­fore, we pieced girls to­gether here and there but now we’ve had to do an over­haul to the point where it’s an en­tire new team.”

“The girls are re­ally step- ping up to the plate rather nicely.”

Penns­bury has seven new dou­bles play­ers in­clud­ing ju­nior Emily wyg­munt who is team­ing up with oaftery in the No. 1 slot.

Though it’s still early, the duo has es­tab­lished a win­ning form, post­ing a split set tri­umph over main line ri­val oad­nor in what even­tu­ally turned into a 4-3 team vic­tory. oaftery and wyg­munt teamed up again in a straight set win over their Chel­tenham ri­vals.

In their first five matchups, the Fal­cons are 4-1 in­clud­ing Wed­nes­day’s 7-0 tri­umph over SOL Na­tional Con­fer­ence ri­val Wil­liam Ten­nent. Ev­ery­body won in the Sept. 5 duel at home vs. the Pan­thers in­clud­ing se­nior Leigh Schreiber and ju­nior Chloe Phillips at No. 2 dou­bles, ju­nior Shelby Hawk and sopho­more Ju­lia dambell at No. 3 dou­bles and ju­niors jarissa Purdy and Kelly Pen­nett at No. 4 dou­bles.

All six along with oichard­son and wyg­munt rep­re­sent the new blood that’s been in­fused at Penns­bury.

“I’m im­pressed how they’re tak­ing on chal­lenges at the var­sity level,” said de­beau. “We still have a lot of work to do but this is def­i­nitely a step in the right di­rec­tion.”

At oad­nor, the Fal­cons ac­tu­ally lost at No. 2 and No. 3 sin­gles so it was up to the dou­bles teams to come through. The girls did ex­actly just that with Penns­bury win­ning at No. 1, 2 and 3 dou­bles.

“At that dou­bles level, you have to work with your part­ner and make good things hap­pen,” said de­beau.

“That’s when ev­ery­body counts; ev­ery­body has to pull their weight in the matches, and work to­gether.”

While it also took oaftery and Syg­munt three sets to get the ‘ W’ (7-5, 4-6, 6-3), Schreiber and Phillips found them­selves in a real dog­fight in the No. 2 slot. Their first set went to over­time with the girls drop­ping the tiebreak­ing point by a 7-4 score.

No wor­ries. Leigh and Chloe put to­gether a pair of 6-4 wins in the next two sets in a match that took three hours and 40 min­utes to com­plete.

“That’s when you re­ally have to dig deep and you know the caliper of play­ers that you have be­cause they want it and they’re go­ing to fight for it,” said de­beau.

“It doesn’t mat­ter how long it takes, they will keep fight­ing un­til it’s done.”

In ad­di­tion to Ten­nent and oad­nor, the Fal­cons have wins over both CB East and CB West. The lone loss was to Chel­tenham. There, Hus­sian and oeilly eas­ily won their sin­gles matches

while oaftery and wyg­munt won hand­ily at No. 1 dou­bles (6-1, 6-3). Try as they might, Penns­bury could not get an­other win from their dou­bles teams though ju­nior Han­nah ju­jkovich and Purdy fought valiantly in the No. 3 slot, fall­ing 4-6, 6-4 and 7-3.

*** While the Fal­cons fell in the first round of the 2011 Dis­trict One team com­pe­ti­tion, Hus­sian and oeilly teamed up in post­sea­son dou­bles com­pe­ti­tion, tak­ing sec­ond at SOLs, first in dis­tricts and third in the state.

In the open­ing round of states, the duo de­feated Her­shey’s Alex Og­gero and Libby Nolan, 6-7 (4-7), 6-3, 6-4. In the quar­ter­fi­nals, they topped State Col­lege’s Cara oan­gaswamy and Ni­cole Ben­in­casa, 6-2, 6-2.

While the pair lost to jount Le­banon’s Cal­lie Frey and An­nie Baich, 6-1, 6-3 in the semi­fi­nals, they re­bounded by de­feat­ing Jackie Ciotti and Lauren Ban­ner, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, in a bat­tle for third place.

***

Photo by Steve Sher­man

Penns­bury ju­nior Sona Hus­sian an­chors the No. 1 sin­gles slot for the Lady Fal­cons who are off to a good start.

Photo by Steve Sher­man

Penns­bury se­nior Katie Reilly is back for her last year in a Fal­cons tennis uni­form.

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