Story by Kathleen Wilson
The Warwick Valley High School girls’ varsity tennis team clinched the OCIAA Division title on Wed., Oct. 3 in Cornwall, NY.
The challengers beat Warwick in their first two singles matches. Shirali Patel over Sammy Killin 6-2, 6-1, and Marina Blumenschein over Gabby Donohue 6-3, 6-0. Alexandra Krasinska, a seventh grader on Warwick’s varsity team, won her singles match 6-2, 6-4 over Paige Williamson of Cornwall.
While three doubles matches were being played Warwick, took the number two doubles match with Ashley Emanuel and Jacqueline defeating Cornwall’s number two team of Elisabeth Avesta and Mia Pagano, 6-0, 6-2. Warwick Valley’s number one doubles team of Ava Ghobadian and Stephanie Menoutis defeated Cornwall’s number one team of Anjali Patel and Arianna Curillo, 6-2, 6-2.
With three wins, Warwick needed one more victory to win the match and possibly the Division Title. The fourth singles match was still being played with Jessica Wu for Cornwall and Amelia Pizza for Warwick’s team. In their previous meet, Wu defeated Pizza. Both players battled for their respective team with Wu winning the first set 6-2.
Pizza and her Coach, Susie Filingeri, recalled that every game went to deuce and then “sudden death.” Coach Filingeri encouraged Pizza to be patient and to wait for just the right moment to “put her shot away.” Heeding her coach’s advice, Pizza won the second set 6-3. It was a long and grueling set with Match Play clocked at just under 1.5 hours.
Warwick’s third doubles team of Lexi Cleary and Nadia Fayed played Cornwall’s Lily Patterson and Kate Wright with Warwick losing the first set in a tiebreaker of 12-10 in the last minutes of daylight.
Pizza and Wu were still playing in their third set. Wu was winning, 5-2. Both coaches spoke with their players at the same time. Coach Filingeri told Amelia, “No pressure, just play smart.” And Amelia dug deep and suddenly the score was 3-5! Then 4-5! The next game went to Sudden Death with Amelia winning the game and tying the score 5-5! Pizza continued to come in from the baseline and put a net shot away and it was 6-5 Warwick.
The players forged ahead and suddenly the score was 7-5 Warwick. Pizza single-handedly won the Division 2 Title for Warwick in a three-set marathon. The scores were 2-6, 6-3, and 7-5. Pizza knew this was a big match for both Warwick and Cornwall and that thrill of victory was celebrated with all her teammates as she came off the court.
Warwick played their last match of the season against Valley Central at home defeating Valley Central 7-0. Warwick’s overall record is 12-2 and 7-1 league standing.
Congratulations go out to Warwick Valley High School Girls Varsity Tennis Team from everyone at the Warwick Valley Dispatch on winning the Division Title!