Hazleton Area’s Mazurek, Nowak advance to District 2-4 Class AAA singles semifinals
WILKES-BARRE — One match.
That’s all that separates Hazleton Area’s Stephanie Mazurek and Lily Nowak from the chance to face one another and eventually become the first District 2-4 Class AAA singles tennis champion in the Lady Cougars’ 25-year history.
Both players advanced to the subregional semifinals Thursday, breezing through their first two matches of the tournament at the Kingston Racquet Club and Kirby Park, the former until the latter’s outdoor courts dried following Wednesday’s rain.
Mazurek, the top seed, blanked Pittston Area’s Charity McLeod 6-0, 6-0 in her first-round match, then overwhelmed Williamsport’s Mia Shuler 6-0, 6-1.
“I was very happy with my play,’’ said Mazurek, who hasn’t lost a high school singles match since falling to Williamsport’s Amanda Southard 3-6, 6-6, 6-3 in last year’s subregional final. “I tried not to focus on who I was playing or who I might be playing, but rather I focused on playing my game.’’
Mazurek admitted that the loss to Southard remains stuck in her craw.
“It’ s motivated me a lot ,’’ Mazurek, a senior, said. “I could have performed a lot better here last year. Hopefully, I can keep playing at the level I’ve been play- ing at. ... This is what I’ve been working toward and training for to get this (subregional championship).’’
Mazurek will face Wallenpaupack’s Phoebe Cykosky in the semifinals. Cykosky beat North Pocono’s Sarah Tofliska 6-2, 6-4 in her quarterfinal match.
Meanwhile, Nowak recovered nicely from surviving her threeplus hour marathon against North Pocono’s Sarah Sposito in Tuesday’ s subregional team competition. The Hazlet on Area junior had her way with Delaware Valley’s Katie Cooney 6-0, 6-1 indoors, then duplicated her in a 6-1, 6-0 rout of Wallenpaupack’s Heidi Washburn in the quarters at Kirby Park.
“I did not step one foot on a tennis court all day Wednesday,’’ Nowak said. “I was rested and ready to go and I actually played really well.’’
Compared to Tuesday, when Mazurek, Nowak and the Lady Cougars defeated North Pocono on a sunny, summer-like day, conditions Tuesday were overcast and damp — more to Nowak’s liking.
“I didn’t drop a bead of sweat,’’ she laughed.
Of course, Nowak did not face the same kind of pressure that she overcame on Tuesday either.
That will change today starting with her semifinal match against Abington Heights’ Lauren Carroll, the tournament’s No. 3 seed. Carroll needed three sets to eliminate Spositio 6-4, 3-6, 6-4.
“I’ ve never played her before,’’ Nowak said, “but I’m thinking it will be a tough match.’’
Should both Nowak and Mazurek win, they will meet in a rematch of last year’s District 2 final won by Mazurek 7-5, 6-3. Only this time, the winner would be crowned subregional champion and become the first Hazleton Area singles tennis player — girl or boy — to advance to the PIAA tournament. Together, they won the District 2-4 doubles title last year.
First things first, their semi final matches today beginning at 1 p.m. The title match will follow.
Crestwood’s Abby Bielecki and Rachel McFarland lost their first matches on Thursday. Bielecki fell to McLeod 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 and Pittston Area’s Abby Connors eliminated McFarland 6-0, 6-0.
In Class 2A, MMI Prep’s Katharine Pinto and Jackie Braunstein each won her opening-round match before being ousted.
Pinto outlasted Riverside’s Samantha Labrosky 7-6 (7-3, 6-2 ahead of a 6-2, 6-0 loss to No. 4-seeded Nicole Joanlanne of Wyoming Seminary.
Braunstein was a 6-4, 6-3 winner over Hones dale’ s Leigha Walsh in the preliminary round, before she lost to Dallas’ Hannah Bonk 6-2, 6-2.
Hazleton Area’s Stephanie Mazurek hits a backhand to Charity McLeod of Pittston Area during the District 2-4 Class AAA Singles Tennis Championships on Thursday at the Kingston Racquet Club. Mazurek defeated McLeod and Williamspor t’s Mia Shuler on her way to a ber th in today’s semifinals.
LILY NOWAK Advances to District 2-4 tennis semifinals
Hazleton Area’s Stephanie Mazurek returns a shot to Pittston Area’s Charity McLeod during the first round of the District 2-4 Class 3A Singles Tennis Championships on Thursday at the Kingston Racquet Club.