Abington Heights, Prep successful in tennis districts

First Posted: 10/15/2014

WILKES-BARRE – Abington Heights and Scranton Prep continued a season full of girls tennis success in the District 2 tournaments.

The Lady Comets and Classics swept the district singles, doubles and team championships in tournaments held at Kirby Park the past two weeks.

Abington Heights, the overall and Class AAA champion of the Lackawanna League, got a District 2-4 AAA singles title from Tyra Abdalla and a District 2 AAA doubles championship from Rachel Smertz and Caroline Mattise before capturing the District 2-4 AAA team title Wednesday at Kirby Park.

Scranton Prep, the Lackawanna League Class AA champion, swept the District 2 Class AA championships with Emily Jonsson winning in singles, Emilia Jakubek and Tatiana Klacko winning in doubles and the team also winning Tuesday.

Abdalla won the biggest individual title available locally, taking the combined District 2 and 4 title among the big schools. Abdalla is regarded as the three-time District 2 Class AAA singles champion, but lost the Subregional final last year to Maggie Manchester from Williamsport in District 4 in a three-set match after dropping the first set on a tiebreaker.

In this year’s rematch, Abdalla handled Manchester, 6-2, 6-1. Abdalla had already won an earlier, more immediate rematch, when Abdalla beat Manchester at number-one singles in last year’s District 2-4 team final. The latest win earns Abdalla her second chance to play in the state singles tournament at the Hershey Indoor Racquet Club October 31 and November 1.

“Regaining that opportunity certainly was a goal of her’s and something that she and I are incredibly proud of her being able to do,” Abington Heights coach Tom Lavelle said.

Abdalla rolled into the final with three straight 6-0, 6-0 wins.

“She has certainly shown a lot of across-the-board improvement,” Lavelle said while pointing out that Abdalla was already playing well enough to go unbeaten in league play and help the team in district and state tournament play last season. “This particular season, she has gotten the opportunity to develop and really hone in on her weapons.

“I think she’s playing more aggressively and more offensively this season. In previous seasons, she relied on her consistency and her ability to play really long, grueling points. This season, in addition to that, she’s been able to show a lot of success by playing much more offensive and aggressive.”

Mattise advanced to the subregional singles tournament semifinal where she took Manchester, the defending champion and top seed, to three sets.

All but the tournament’s singles champion are eligible for doubles play where Mattise combined with Smertz to be the last team standing from District 2.

Smertz-Mattise lost to Manchester-Isabel Bauer from Williamsport, 6-1, 6-4 in the subregional final. When the two finalists knocked out Wallenpaupack teams in the semifinals, it left Smertz-Mattise as the top team from District 2, earning that title.

“They had a really great tournament,” Lavelle said. “Rachel Smertz, in her senior year, brings a lot of talent into the doubles aspect of the game. Her two years prior to this year were spent playing one doubles for us before playing three singles this year.

“She brought a lot of that doubles experience to the district doubles tournament. And, of course – having the opportunity to be partnered with Caroline Mattise, who has been doing great work for us throughout the season and had a quality singles tournament – they were a formidable team.”

Scranton Prep destroyed the competition in the Class AA field where both the singles and doubles tournaments featured all-Prep finals.

Jonsson won five consecutive straight set matches, including 6-2, 6-2 over Emilia Jakubek in the final.

Emilia Jakubek-Klacko lost just seven games in 10 sets on the way to the doubles title with the help of a 6-2, 6-1 win over Gabriela Jakubek-Maansi Malholtra.

Abington Heights and Scranton Prep each advanced to the PIAA team tournament where they will need to win a match Tuesday, October 21 in order to be one of the eight teams in their classification to advance to Hershey for the quarterfinals through finals October 24-25. Both teams captured their district titles without losing a team point in singles or doubles in either round.

Abington Heights downed Coughlin, 4-0, in the semifinals and Williamsport, 3-0, in the final. Once the team victory was decided, the other matches were not played to conclusion.

Abdalla won at number-one singles both times, dropping just one game in four sets. The doubles teams of Catherine Pusateri-Jessica Rickwood and Sondra Lionetti-Ajna Prahalad also won twice each.

The Lady Comets will play locally against the District 3 runnerup to begin the state tournament.

Scranton Prep, which will head out of the area to face the District 4 champion, defeated Wyoming Seminary, 3-0, before knocking off unbeaten, top-seed Holy Redeemer, 4-0, in the final.

Emilia Jakubek, at second singles, and Klacko-Gabriela Jakubeck, at first doubles, each had victories in both team matches.

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