GIRLS TENNIS: Dragons drop home match to GM

The Lady Dragons tennis team dropped a tough 3-2 region decision to General McLane on Tuesday, the second straight day Warren hosted a region opponent at Betts Park.

“GM only has six girls,” said Warren coach Jeff Bartsch. “A team needs a minimum of seven girls to field a squad to cover the five events. Since they did not have the seven, GM forfeited the 2nd Doubles event with Warren up 1-0 before the first ball was struck.”

Top Dragon Cassie Johnson squared off with Logan Welch in another marathon match. Long rallies exceeding 25 struck balls per point was not uncommon, according to Bartsch. On defense, he said Johnson tracked down point after point and made her opponent work overtime.

“There was one point in which Welch hit three overhead smashes, only to see Cassie return all of them and then finally hit the pass to win the point,” said Warren assistant coach John Parroccini. “It was really impressive.”

Welch prevailed 6-4, 7-5 in a two-hour match.

Senior Corie Eckman played some inspired tennis with Lindsay Sipple, said Bartsch, but the Lancer won the match 6-2, 6-1.

“There were some great rallies in this match,” said Bartsch. “This was definitely ‘big-girl tennis.’ As soon as Corie knocks down her number of errors, she will start winning.”

In third singles, Maggi Hansen dropped a tough decision to Kayla Eeg, of GM, 2-6, 1-6. With long rallies for every point, “Maggi is presently playing from behind,” said Bartsch. “She needs to take charge, get the lead, and put the pressure on the opponent.”

Senior Shoshanna Ochocki and Alexis Vavala improved to 3-2 on the season with an impressive 6-4, 6-1 win over Erin Sipple and Allie Stowicki.

“During the match, the girls reported that they had built a game plan in order to win the match,” said Bartsch. “And they did that by out-thinking their opponents, finding a weakness, and exploiting that weakness. I couldn’t be more proud of them.”

That was the Dragons lone point in match play. Added with the forfeited second-doubles match, the Dragons scored two points to GM’s three points for the team win.

“GM has four really solid players. They excel in singles and they gave us a good battle today,” said Bartsch. “We will see them again in Edinboro in a few weeks.”

In exhibition play, Dragon Phoebe Nelson picked up another exhibition singles win 6-1 over Meredith Blaney.

“That is her fourth singles win. She may get called to action at some point in the near future.”

Maria Miller and Megan Waterfield defeated Sydney Ewing and Morgan Lemmon in an exhibition doubles match.

The Dragons are now 2-3 on the season, and 1-3 in league play. They will travel to nearby St. Marys at 3 p.m. Wednesday afternoon at Benzinger Courts to take on the Crusaders of Elk County Catholic.