GIRLS TENNIS: Lady Dragons even tennis record

The Warren girls tennis team defeated Olean (N.Y.), 7-3, on Saturday at Betts Courts.

Utilizing all 15 girls into the starting line-up, the scoring began with senior Corie Eckman having a good day with a well played 8-4 singles win over Ally Rakus to improve to 5-5 on the season.

“Corie stepped up today and was playing good offense,” said Warren coach Jeff Bartsch. “A lot of top-spin drives to the corners and her approaches to the net were well timed and executed.”

Playing in the No. 4 singles slot, Maggi Hansen had a big 7-2 lead, and finished the match off with an 8-5 victory over Brianna Dempsey.

“Maggi took the lead today,” said Bartsch. “Now she has to learn to close the match down when she has that lead.”

Junior Alexis Vavala made her debut performance into the singles line-up and scored an 8-2 win over Mary Pezzimenti. “Alexis has a nice all-court game and may be able to help us in singles as the second half of the season begins next week,” said Warren assistant coach John Parroccini.

Junior Kim Parroccini, playing in the No. 3 singles slot, dropped a 5-8 decision to Morgan Smith.

“Kim was down big, but fought back to get a bit closer,” said Bartsch. “She was responsive to the coaches suggestions and she performed better later in the match.”

Top singles Dragon Cassie Johnson squared off with a persistent Mallory Bliss. Long rallies saw the Dragon holding on to a slim 7-6 lead in the pro-set match only to have the opponent tie it up and force a tiebreak at 7-all.

“There were some really great points in the match,” said Bartsch. Cassie dropped the tiebreak, 5-7, to give Olean a much needed singles point.

The top doubles pair of Megan Waterfield and Maria Miller had an early lead, but the Huskies fought back and forced a tiebreak at 7-all. With a couple of missed volleys, the Olean pair of Carlson and Sokala took control of the tiebreak and ran out a 7-5 victory.

Doubles specialists Shoshanna Ochocki and Karly Taylor teamed-up to win second doubles 8-0. “We liked the look of this pairing. We may see this one again in the near future,” said Bartsch.

Freshman Rachel Cecco and senior Sydney Ewing played third doubles and scored an 8-1 victory. “This pair played nicely with one another,” said coach Parroccini.

Phoebe Nelson and Sarah Casey scored an 8-1 win for Warrens’ third doubles win, ensuring the team win with six points.

First-year player Madalyn Harding with freshman Morgan Lemmon scored their first ever varsity win with an 8-1 victory.

In exhibition doubles play, Eckman and Johnson knocked off Olean’s top two players, Bliss and Rakus by a 6-4 score. Seniors Phoebe Nelson and Sarah Casey picked up a neat 6-0 win. Also winning were the pair of Madalyn Harding and Morgan Lemmon with a 6-2 win. And, Maggi Hansen and Karly Taylor picked up a well played 6-0 doubles win as well.

“Karly stepped-up, hit some great volleys and a few big overheads to finish off the match,” said Bartsch.

The Dragons are 4-4 on the season and will start the second-half rotation with the region teams next week. The Dragons will host defending state champion Mercyhurst Prep at 4 p.m. Tuesday at Betts Courts.