By Tom Robinson, NEPASportsNation.com
WILKES-BARRE – Wyoming Seminary needed to beat two entirely different types of opponents in Riverside and Scranton Prep Thursday in order to remain undefeated and claim the District 2 Class 2A girls tennis team championship.
Third singles player Victoria Martinez was at the forefront of facing those challenges.
Martinez came through, joining the first doubles team of Margaret Mihalick and Dominica Delayo in winning in both matches as the Wyoming Valley Conference champion Blue Knights added the district title that eluded them a year ago.
Defending champion Scranton Prep presented a deeper, more balanced opponent in the final that Wyoming Seminary won, 3-0, but first the Blue Knights had to get past Riverside, the team that knocked them off a year ago in the same matchup.
The fourth-seeded Lady Vikes brought back the same singles lineup that had swept in a 3-2 semifinal upset of top-seeded Wyoming Seminary a year ago when Riverside entered that match as just the fifth seed. This time, it was the Blue Knights who produced the 3-2 win.
“You look at these teams, Riverside and Prep, and it was funny, it was two totally different matchups,” Wyoming Seminary coach Raphael Cooper said. “When you’re going against the Riverside team, you’ve got a state champion you’re going against at number one. You know it’s going to be really tough.”
With 2019 state Class 2A singles champion Karissa Ghigiarelli and Madeline DeFaber-Schumacher, quite possibly the district’s second-best player, at the top of the lineup, the Lady Vikes were almost certain of two of the three points needed to repeat last season’s success.
Martinez, an international student from Spain less than two months into her time in the United States to study at Wyoming Seminary, is new to the concept of team tennis, but her teammates let her know the significance of her semifinal match.
“The first two singles is really hard with (Riverside) and the doubles, we knew we would do really well because we’re a good doubles team,” Martinez said. “So, it was like on me to do the best I could and keep this team going forward.”
Martinez produced, gaining momentum as the match progressed and defeating Bella Aniska, 6-3, 6-0.
“The power of Victoria, at three especially, you can’t match it,” Cooper said. “It was on display today.”
With the doubles teams, including the combination of Maria Nolte and Victoria Smulowitz, losing just one game each, it was up to Martinez to provide the deciding point.
“I can’t wrap my head around it,” she said. “This is really big. I always wanted an opportunity like this to have a team like I do right now.
“So, I’m really grateful and I want to put all my effort into the next match.”
Once in the final, Wyoming Seminary won all three matches that were completed and was ahead in the other two when play was halted with the outcome decided.
Second singles player Ella Krypel, who was in the first spot a year ago when the Blue Knights were upset in the semifinals, added the third point against Scranton Prep.
“I knew that a lot of our team is leaving this year so I want to leave on a good note,” Krypel said.
Krypel, Martinez and the senior doubles team of Mihalick-Delayo all opened the final with 6-0 wins in the first set. Martinez added another 6-0 in the second set while the others closed out their matches to send Wyoming Seminary into the Oct. 26 first round of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association state tournament. The Blue Knights will play District 11 champion Moravian Academy at an indoor site.
Scranton Prep defeated Dallas, 3-0, in a meeting of one-loss, second-place teams in the semifinals. Scranton Prep had lost only to District 2 Class 3A champion Abington Heights in Lackawanna League play while Dallas had not lost since the WVC season opener against Wyoming Seminary.
Freshman Alyssa Wigley won, 6-0, 6-0, at first singles for Scranton Prep, which also got wins from third singles player Leelah Farrell and the second doubles team of Sarah Aubrey-Grace Devine.
Wyoming Seminary 3, Riverside 2
First singles – Karissa Ghigiarelli, Riverside, over Ilana Rosenthal, 6-1, 6-1.
Second singles – Madeline DeFaber-Schumacher, Riverside, over Ella Krypel, 6-0, 6-0.
Third singles – Victoria Martinez, Wyoming Seminary, over Bella Aniska, 6-3, 6-0.
First doubles – Margaret Mihalick-Dominica Delayo, Wyoming Seminary, over Leah Pfeiffer-Elisabeth O’Hora, 6-0, 6-1.
Second doubles – Maria Nolte-Victoria Smulowitz, Wyoming Seminary, over Paige Olanovich-Madelyn Perfilio, 6-1, 6-0.
Scranton Prep 3, Dallas 0
First singles – Alyssa Wigley, Scranton Prep, over Caroline Stallard, 6-0, 6-0.
Second singles – Wally Flynn, Dallas, led Annie Johnson, 6-2, 3-5, when match was halted.
Third singles – Leelah Farrell, Scranton Prep, over Audrey DelGaudio, 6-0, 6-1.
First doubles – Ella Cohen/Sofia Flores-Weidner, Scranton Prep, led Dani Konnick-Janet Federici, 6-2, 3-1, when match was halted.
Second doubles – Sarah Aubrey-Grace Devine, Scranton Prep, over Danielle Blessner-Chloe Dudick, 6-1, 6-1.
Wyoming Seminary 3, Scranton Prep 0
First singles – Ilana Rosenthal, Wyoming Seminary, led Alyssa Wigley, 6-1, 3-1, when match was halted.
Second singles – Ella Krypel, Wyoming Seminary over Annie Johnson, 6-0, 6-4.
Third singles – Victoria Martinez, Wyoming Seminary over Leah Farrell, 6-0, 6-0.
First doubles – Margaret Mihalick-Dominica Delayo, Wyoming Seminary over Ella Cohen/Sofia Flores-Weidner, 6-0, 6-2.
Second doubles – Maria Nolte-Victoria Smulowitz, Wyoming Seminary, led Sarah Aubrey-Grace Devine, 7-5, 1-1, when match was halted.