by Tom Utescher
Co-champion in the Athletic Association of Catholic Academies last fall and the outright winner of the title in 2011, Mount St. Joseph should once again be in the forefront of the league tennis scene this year. Still, the rebuilding process has presented some twists and turns for the perennial AACA power.
Among the four seniors who graduated from the 2012 line-up was Mary Gorman, a four-year fixture in varsity singles, and the projected number one for the 2013 squad, junior Morgan Weiss, has undergone ankle surgery and will not be able to play this fall.
After playing an opening scrimmage against Springfield High School last Monday, the Magic were scheduled to open their league campaign against visiting Merion Mercy on Thursday afternoon, but a downpour that began around lunchtime put the kibosh on those plans.
The following morning the Mounties were able to see action in a road scrimmage against Wissahickon High School. The MSJ singles players didn’t have an easy time of it against their counterparts from Wissahickon, the defending PIAA District 1 champion, but the doubles players enjoyed more success, and they’ll provide depth for the team when AACA competition actually begins.
For the start of his ninth season at the helm of the Mount program, head coach Ron Mutchnik has Betsy Napolitano playing in the first singles position, with fellow juniors Belin Mirabile and Emily Christine holding down the second and third spots, respectively.
Last year’s All-League first doubles duo of Morgan Devine and Allison Murray is no more, since both players have graduated, and stepping up to form the Mount’s premier pair this fall are junior Colleen Burns and senior Krista Goebel.
Goebel and the three other 12th-graders, Máiread Glowacki, Katie Moses, and Nikki Williamson, are the captains for the 2013 Mount St. Joe franchise. Moses is playing second doubles along with junior Nicolette Sommar, while Glowacki is teamed up with sophomore Maria Thomas in the number three tandem. Williamson plays fourth singles, with junior Serena Romanelli as her partner.
That would constitute a full line-up for a regulation PIAA match (three singles, four doubles), but within the Catholic Academies League, the old three singles, two doubles format is still employed.
Thomas, a converted soccer player who is showing promise with a tennis racquet, is one of just two sophomores, along with Sophia Gardell. Kaitlyn Meister is a returning player who is a member of the strong junior class, but she had a conflicting engagement last Saturday. Five freshmen were on hand for the Wissahickon scrimmage, all seeing action in doubles play.
Going forward, the Mount’s opponents will all be league teams with one exception; the Magic will host Archbishop Carroll a week after Labor Day.