A generous plate of Olive Garden pasta awaited Fairview’s Trinity Fox after Saturday’s opening rounds of the District 10 women’s singles tennis tournament.
The reigning Class 3A champion experienced that kind of hunger pang after serving and struggling her way to her final for years in a row.
Fox felt hungry even though she encountered little resistance on the way to that Championship game at the Westwood Racquet Club. It was there on Saturday that the favorite junior lost just three games, all to McDowell’s Maria Minichelli in the semifinals.
Fox’s 6-2, 6-1 victory meant she will return to the Zuck Road club for Monday’s 2 p.m. final against another Trojan, second-seed Nabiah Bhatti.
The Tigers’ top player admitted that the expectations she would successfully defend weighed on her emotionally throughout the afternoon.
“I really had to fight with my mind to put it all aside,” Fox said. “I just had to try to go out and play (Saturday) like it’s any other game. The coach (Rick Sertz) told me to go out there and be a hunter instead of playing so I don’t lose.
Monday’s Class 2A final, also scheduled for 2, will take place on a pitch adjacent to the Fox-Bhatti match. Second-year students Anna Poranski from Villa Maria and Macy Matson from Grove City are seeking the crown of small schools in the district.
This final also includes the first two seeds of group 2A.
No revenge 3A
Fox swept McDowell’s Samantha Becker 6-4, 6-3 in last season’s 3A final. A combination of COVID-19 issues, weather and darkness not only forced him to stand outside, but in two separate tennis facilities.
Fox and Becker started at the unlit Salata tennis complex in Villa and ended under the lights of the Chris Batchelor Memorial courts in Fairview.
The possibility of a district rematch existed because Becker returned as a senior for the 2021 Trojans.
However, that became moot when Becker pulled out ahead of Saturday’s action. McDowell’s coach Richard Beck said she suffered from an injury to her right knee.
Becker’s status for the district’s 3A doubles tournament, scheduled for Thursday in Westwood, is undetermined, according to Beck.
“I’m really sad that Sam can’t play (Saturday) because it’s his last year,” Bhatti said.
Bhatti can accomplish what Becker won’t. The junior recorded two pro set wins before her 6-1, 6-2 semi-final loss to Enisa Siljkovic of Erie High.
Bhatti, having faced Fox before, knows that an all-time performance will be needed to beat her on Monday.
“’You have nothing to lose. There is no pressure. That’s what the coach (Beck) told me,” said Bhatti. “I will go into (the game) with this mentality. “
New winner for Villa
Saturday marked the first time since 2015 that Villa failed to make it to a district tournament with Sarah DeMarco or Tara Thomas as participants.
DeMarco, who plays tennis for the University of Dayton (Ohio), and Thomas, a golf rookie from Bucknell University, made PIAA history by becoming the first duo to win three of their tournaments. double. They were 2A titlists from 2017-19.
Thomas, who graduated this year, also reached the state’s small school singles final in 2020.
Such legacies added to the pressure Poranski was put on upon learning that she was at the top of Saturday’s 2A singles group.
“I didn’t want to lose in the first round being the first seed,” she said. “But I felt like I managed well (Saturday). I just tried to stay calm and not to panic.
Matson in the final
Matson rose to prominence in the Erie County tennis community with the last of his three wins on Saturday. The second seed Eagle defeated Anne Marie Prichard of Villa 6-2, 6-3 in their semi-final.
Prichard was the 2019 District 2A Singles Champion and 2020 Doubles Gold Medalist. Matson said they encountered a scrum before this season.
“I remember it was a close game,” she said. “I knew I had to keep hitting him bullets and not give him loops (easy shot attempts).”
If Matson beat Poranski, she would be the Grove City District’s first winner since Emily Gordon became a rare titlist four times between 2014-17. Gordon, who was the PIAA 2A gold medalist five years ago, is listed as a junior redshirt for the 2021-2022 Mercyhurst University women’s tennis team.
“It’s amazing if I win (districts) once,” Matson said. “That would say everything.”
The opponents of the PIAA
Monday’s champions will automatically qualify for the PIAA Women’s Singles Tournament, scheduled for November 5-6 at the Hershey Racquet Club.
The District 3A titlist will open against the second seed of District 1. The District 2A rep makes his debut against the winner of District 5.
Contact Mike Copper at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @ETNcopper.
Results of the District 10 Girls’ Singles Tennis Tournament at the Westwood Racquet Club. The championship matches will take place there at 2 p.m. on Monday:
Teams: Erie High (EH), Fairview (Fv), McDowell (Mc), DuBois (D)
No. 1 Trinity Fox (Fv) def. Sydney Edwards (EH) 8-0; Emma Heinlein (Mc) defeated. Cassie Lanzoni (R) 8-0; Grace Askey (R) defeated. Hannah Nichols (Fv) 8-1; Maria Minichelli (Mc) defeated. Mackenzie Bruce (EH) 8-1; Tia Jain (Mc) beat. Laken Lashinsky (D) 8-1; Enisa Siljkovic (EH) beats. Allie Mahoney (Fv) 8-1; Lydia Soltis (Fv) defeated. Jessica Hnat (D) NA; Number 2 Nabiah Bhatti (Mc) defeated. Riley Gloystein (EH) 8-2
No. 1 Fox def. Heinlein 8-0; Minichelli def. Askey 8-0; Siljkovic beat. Jain 8-0; N ° 2 Bhatti won. Soltis 8-3
No. 1 Fox def. Minichelli 6-2, 6-2; N ° 2 Bhatti won. Siljkovic 6-1, 6-2
No. 1 Trinity Fox (Fv) vs. No. 2 Nabiah Bhatti (Mc)
Teams: Hickory (H), Mercyhurst Prep (MP), Franklin (Fr), Oil City (OC), Wilmington (Wil), Grove City (GC), Greenville (Gv), Villa Maria (VM), Warren (War)
Nicolette Léonard (H) defeated. Emily Williams (GC) 9-7; Lauren Richmond (MP) beat. Lilly Ochs (Wil) 8-0; Alyssa Rial (Fr) beat. Mackenzie Lester (War) 8-0; Sophia Glance (VM) def. Payton Burk (OC) 8-2; Iris Kiehl (War) defeated. Megan Blasko (Wil) 8-5; Rilee Uber (Gv) beat. Gracia Riddle (Fr) 8-1; Mary Matyasovsky (Wil) defeated. Katie Feng (GC) 8-3; Makenna Philson (Gv) defeated. Alex Nardozzi (Fr) 8-2; Sydney Govoni (War) defeated. Cassidy Sutley (OC) 8-2; Angela Chardeen (MP) defeated. Abbie Bender (H) 8-3; Emily Russell (OC) defeated. Hollie Addison (Gv) 8-0
No. 1 Anna Poranski (VM) defeated. Williams 8-0; Richmond def. Lester 8-0; Alie DiNicola (MP) defeated. Glance 8-6; Isabelle Frangakis (H) beat. Kiehl 8-2; Matyasovsky def. Uber 8-5; Anne Marie Prichard (VM) def. Philson 8-2; Chardeen def. Govoni 8-4; Number 2 Macy Matson (GC) defeated. Russel 8-1
No. 1 Poranski def. Richmond 8-0; DiNicola def. Frangakis 8-2; Prichard def. Matyasovski 8-2; No. 2 Matson beat. Chardean 8-2
No. 1 Poranski def. DiNicola 6-1, 6-0; No. 2 Matson beat. Prichard 6-2, 6-3
No.1 Anna Poranski (VM) vs. No.2 Macy Matson (GC)