GIRLS TENNIS: Lady Dragons notch first win

ERIE-After squaring off against two of District 10’s top teams in Mercyhurst Prep and McDowell earlier in the week, the Warren girls tennis team picked up its first win of the season Friday, four matches to one over Central at Erie’s Frontier Park.

The Lady Dragons jumped ahead early by sweeping both doubles matches over the Falcons. The number two pair of Kim Parroccini and Karly Taylor defeated Central’s Paluchak and Babitski 6-3, 6-2. In the top doubles match, Shoshanna Ochocki and Alexis Vavala downed Stafford and Eller by scores of 6-3, 6-0.

“Both of our doubles teams started out slowly,” said Warren coach Jeff Bartsch. “But after they got their bearings, they controlled the matches with good basics of serving, groundstrokes, volleying and overheads.”

With a 2-0 lead following the doubles events, the Lady Dragons needed just one of the three singles matches to secure the team win.

Senior Corie Eckman was in a tough baseline battle with a persistent Molly Adams, but Eckman was able to prevail in the first set, 7-5, and 6-3 in set number two to lock up the team victory.

“This was a solid win for Corie. It was really nice to witness,” added Bartsch.

In the first singles match, senior Cassie Johnson squared off with Elena Prenovitz, a very strong player with outstanding groundstrokes. Johnson battled back and forced errors out of her opponent to take a 6-4 victory in set one after an hour of play.

Set number two took just as long, and once again Johnson worked her way to a win, this time by a score of 7-5.

“This is a great win for Cassie,” said Bartsch. “Her footspeed and racket control frustrated her opponent. Her opponent would hit, what she thought was a winner, only to see it returned again and again.”

The Dragons’ lone loss came in the third singles match as Maggi Hansen dropped a three-set decision to Maryana Omelchenko 6-1, 5-7, and 6-2. In a match exceeding the two and a half hour mark, Hansen regrouped after losing the first set and stormed back to take the second set before dropping the third.

“Maggi enjoys the battle and this will pay dividends down the road,” added Bartsch.

Sydney Ewing and freshman Morgan Lemmon picked up a nice exhibition doubles win for Warren, while Sarah Casey and Rachel Cecco dropped a close 6-8 decision. Phoebe Nelson and Karly Taylor scored an 8-0 win as did Maria Miller and partner Megan Waterfield.

Five members of the Lady Dragons (1-2) will travel to Sharon on Saturday morning to participate in a tournament at Buhl Park. On Monday, Warren hosts Franklin at Betts Park for a 4 p.m. start.