By Tom Robinson, NEPASportsNation.com
CLARKS SUMMIT – Riverside’s Madeline DeFaber-Schumacher and Bella Aniska produced the consecutive wins over teams from unbeaten Wyoming Seminary that they needed to repeat as District 2 Class 2A doubles champions Oct. 27 at the Birchwood Tennis & Fitness Club.
“They’re both strong in their own right,” Riverside coach Robert Thomas said. “Bella is a little newer to the sport, but she has come a long way in a little time. Madeline’s experience and depth leads them on the court.
“Their chemistry is great. They are friends off the court as well, which certainly helps.”
DeFaber-Schumacher and Aniska needed that chemistry to work things out after a tough start in the final.
Three days before the Blue Knights won their Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association state championship, their top two singles players, Ilana Rosenthal and Ella Krypel, won the first set from DeFaber-Schumacher and Aniska in the district doubles final.
The turnaround from there was extreme with DeFaber-Schumacher and Aniska, last year’s state bronze medalists rolling through the last two sets, 6-0, 6-2.
“We definitely started hitting our ground strokes a little bit deeper and higher,” DeFaber-Schumacher said. “That way it was easier to get the shorter ball and put the volley away.”
Aniska said she felt like she was over-hitting while struggling through the first set.
“I hit more relaxed and I played smart,” she said.
The three-set win in the final came after beating Dominica Delayo-Margaret Michalick, 6-0, 6-0, in the semifinals.
Rosenthal-Krypel made the final with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Alyssa Wigley-Annie Johnson from Scranton Prep.
The doubles title allowed Riverside to qualify three players to play in the PIAA Championships Nov. 5-6 at the Hershey Indoor Racquet Club.
Karissa Ghigiarelli, the 2019 state champion, had already advanced in singles by winning the District 2 title.
“We’ve been down there for states before, but this is the first time we’ll be down there singles and doubles, all playing for a state title,” Thomas said.