Girls' tennis on to D-9 team semis

Staff Writer

PUNXSUTAWNEY — The Punxsy girls’ tennis team opened its team playoff season on Wednesday, playing host to the Elk County Catholic Lady Crusaders, and in the best-of-five (three singles, two doubles) format, the Lady Chucks made it interesting, but they managed to win four of five to earn a spot in next Monday’s D-9 team championship match against St. Marys.

Punxsy managed to sweep the doubles and win two of the three singles matches en route to the victory.

The day started with four of the five matches taking place on the courts at the Punxsutawney Area High School complex, and the first to conclude was the No. 2 singles match, where Punxsy saw senior Alex Campbell land the first team point with a 6-1, 6-0 victory over Maggie Challingsworth.

Meanwhile, at the courts below the Punxsutawney Area Elementary School, in the third singles match, ECC got its team point when Victoria Glatt bested Punxsy’s Allie Doverspike 6-0, 6-1.

As the final match, the second doubles, was beginning its match at the PAHS courts, things were getting interesting in the other two matches that started from the get-go.

In the first singles, two familiar foes were going back-and-forth, with Abby Gigliotti squaring off with ECC’s Emma Coppolo. The two had met in the D-9 singles tournament last Monday, where Gigliotti won a close match, and Wednesday’s duel was more of the same.

Coppolo was able to build an early lead against Gigliotti in the latest contest, winning the first set 6-1, then charging ahead to a 5-1 lead in the second set. Gigliotti showed no signs of quit while backed into the corner, though, and fought back to win five of the next six games, tying the set 6-6 and forcing a tie-breaker, which she won 7-3. In the third set, Gigliotti kept rolling to win 6-2 and give Punxsy its second team point.

At the same time, Punxsy’s first doubles team consisting of Taegan Ludwig and Camden Emhoff was playing an equally exciting match against ECC’s Marley Sorg and Grace Keyes. Emhoff and Ludwig won convincingly in the first set, 6-1, but Sorg and Keyes fought back to win the second 6-4 and force a deciding third set. Not long after Gigliotti wrapped up her singles win, Emhoff and Ludwig sealed the team victory by winning that third set 6-3.

With the match still very much up in the air when they took the court, Punxsy’s second doubles duo of Jaydn McMahan and Liz Stello knew when they took the court that their result could be a factor in deciding the match. And though it didn’t prove to be essential, the duo had built a one-set lead by the time that became official, winning the first over Sophie Neubert and Audrey Dornisch 6-3. In the second, the Lady Chucks cruised to a 6-1 win, giving Punxsy its fourth team point and a convincing win.

“All of the teams played really well today, and I’m happy that all of their hard work this season has really paid off,” Punxsy coach Mike Emhoff said.