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Lady Patriots, Lady Warriors rarin’ to go

Both PA and WA ready to take next step

The Pittston Area 2011 Girls’ Tennis team is pictured, from left to right, first row, Danielle Corcoran, and Ali Quinn; back row, Coach Kim Collins, Haleigh Zurek, Claudia Shandra, Tatiana Supinski, Anna Podrasky, Miranda Warunek, and Alicia Chopyak. Absent from photo, Caitlynn Cadwalder, Rosemary Ritsick, and Mikhaela Moher

The Wyoming Area 2011 Girls’ Tennis team is pictured, from left to right, kneeling, Julia Gober, Britney Benkoski, Julia Banas, and Maddy Ambruso; standing, Alexandria Romano, Nikole Doughterty, Emily Lukasavage, Brina Platt, and Lisa Chihorek. Absent from photo, Morgan Bilbow, Alicia Pizano, and Valerie Bott.

The 2011 high school tennis campaign is 24-hours away from getting underway – and both Pittston Area and Wyoming Area are rarin’ to go.

Pittston Area coach, Kim Collins, in her seventh-year as head coach, and Wyoming Area coach, Tony Callaio are optimistic for this year’s season. Both teams are looking to improve upon last year’s records.

The Lady Patriots open up with GAR at home tomorrow, and Wyoming Area will begin their season against Crestwood, also at home.

Pittston Area’s squad consists of 11 players headed by four seniors. Those seniors are, Anna Podrasky, Ali Quinn, Caitlynn Cadwalder, and an injured Danielle Corcoran.

Podrasky will be used in the No.1 slot as she was last year, and juniors Miranda Warunek and Alicia Chopyak will play second and third singles, respectively.

The rest of the team consists of sophomores Haleigh Zurek, Tatianna Supinski, and Rosie Ritsick, and freshmen Mikhaela Moher and Claudia Shandra.

Ali Quinn and Haleigh Zurek will start in the No.1 doubles spot, but according to Coach Collins, No.2 doubles is up for grabs.

“We lost three girls to graduation but all are returning with the exception of the two new freshmen,” said Collins. Not only is Coach Collins looking to better last season’s record, she’s in a great position to build upon the team for next year.

Collins lists Wyoming Seminary, Dallas and Wyoming Valley West as the top teams they will face this year.

Fourth-year head coach Tony Callaio is a bit more optimistic going into this year’s schedule after fielding a team without a senior last year. That means going into 2011, he will have six-seniors on the team making up half the roster.

“I’m hoping the seniors can get their game together and make a dent in the schedule,” said Callaio. “Most of the veterans have at least three years of tennis under their belt, so it’s up to them if they want to have a successful year or not.”

Those six-seniors are Brina Platt, Nikole Dougherty, Alex Romano, Alecia Pizano, Emily Lukasavage, and Morgan Bilbow.

Valerie Bott has been playing in the No.1 spot for the last two-seasons and will be looking to regain that spot for this season. However she sustained a knee injury this past spring and is doing her best to bounce back.

Joining Bott will be Platt, Lukasavage, and junior Lisa Chihorek vying for singles positions.

“All three singles position are up for grabs,” noted Callaio. “All four girls are pretty much level with each other at this point.”

Doubles specialists Alex Romano and Alicia Pizano will be back for their third-year while Morgan Bilbow, Nikole Dougherty and sophomore Julia Gober will battle for a spot playing doubles.

Sophomore Britney Benkoski, and freshmen Julia Banas and Madeleine Ambruso are first-year players and novices that are showing improvement every day.

“The sport is difficult as it is, so it’s great to see these young ladies making an effort daily to learn the game and improve,” added Callaio.

The schools will face each other on Friday, September 16 at Mattei Middle School Courts in Hughestown.

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