by Tom Utescher
In a lengthy league tennis match last Wednesday, the second doubles duo from host Mount St. Joseph Academy remained undefeated while helping their team improve to 4-0 on the season.
In the last match on the court, seniors Kaitlyn Meister and Serena Romanelli pulled off a straight-sets victory to clinch a 3-2 Catholic Academies victory over the visiting Hurricanes of Villa Maria.
Earlier in the day, the Magic had trailed 1-2, but senior Emily Christine prevailed at third singles to tie the team tally and set up the rubber match on an adjacent court.
In addition to Villa (0-3 league), Mount St. Joe has defeated Merion Mercy, Nazareth, and Villa Joseph Marie so far.
However, the Magic have yet to face Gwynedd Mercy, a team that includes some junior tournament players and is heavily favored to win the AACA title.
The Magic also have a racquetwoman familiar with the junior tournament circuit in senior Morgan Weiss. Unfortunately, Weiss had been plagued by injuries for most of her MSJ career, and she will not play for the Magic this fall.
Although this takes the most talented player out of the equation for the Mount, the team still has a good deal of experience. Last Wednesday, seven other seniors formed the Magic’s entire starting line-up against Villa Maria. The team tri-captains are Christine and fellow 12th-graders Belin Mirabile and Nicolette Sommar. Mirabile and Betsy Napolitano play singles, along with Christine, while Sommar is paired with Colleen Burns at first doubles.
These last two Mounties improved their record to 3-1 on the season as they gave the host team its first win in last Wednesday’s match. They recorded two 6-2 sets against Villa’s Kaylee Ouimet and Jacquelyn Shanley, but the Hurricanes soon held a 2-1 advantage overall thanks to victories at first and second singles.
When the Mount’s Mirabile and Villa’s Danielle Rufus were each positioned at second singles in 2013, Mirabile won the meeting at the Mount between the two players. Last week Rufus avenged that loss, giving the Hurricanes a 6-3, 6-1 victory. At second singles, visitor Reagan Hatcher overcame Napolitano, 6-4, 6-0.
Although each of the five bouts last Tuesday were decided in straight sets, the third singles match was an extended battle producing the closest scores. Christine eventually prevailed, 6-4, 6-4, tying the team score at 2-2 and keeping alive the home fans’ hopes for a team victory.
At first, it looked like the Magic had the second doubles contest in the bag, as Meister and Romanelli took the first four games and were playing for the first set at 5-1.
However, Villa’s Allie Monaco and Jill Ballard dug in and pulled out the next three games. The MSJ pair eventually closed out the set at 6-4, and then looked more poised as they captured the second set, 6-2, to help Mount St. Joe carry the day.