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Smith places third at league tourney Qualifies for Districts
By: TODD RUTH Review Sports Editor email@example.com, Staff Writer
Ephrata’s Brittany Smith made an impressive statement that she isn’t quite ready to close out her senior season just yet.
Tuesday afternoon in the Flight One singles third-place match held at Conestoga Valley, Ephrata’s top tennis player capped an impressive L-L League Tournament.
Smith, who was seeded fifth at the start of the tourney, earned her second big victory of the year over McCaskey sophomore Ruth Anne Millen when she pulled out a 4-6, 6-1, 6-3 decision to capture the bronze medal.
"To place third in Flight One singles is just a tremendous honor," Ephrata Coach Mike Garman said Tuesday night. She just played so well. It was great to see her win and I’m just so proud of her."
In addition to placing third, Smith became the first player since Garman has been coach to qualify for the District Tournament, which is set to begin Saturday at 1 p.m. at Hershey Racquet Club.
Also, Smith was named a Section One all-Star and received Honorable Mention All-League.
"She’s just worked at it," Garman said when asked about the keys to Smith’s success this season. "She’s taken lessons, which is very important in girls tennis. But what she’s done is she’s worked at it on her own. And she’s also matured as a person. She’s become much more competitive with her play, and she’s become smarter on the court. She’s really battled."
"You could see she started to do much better and toward the end of the year she just was playing as well as I’ve ever seen her play," he continued. "She was just so composed and so confident. It was almost effortless, and that’s the way you need to play tennis. You need to be relaxed, keep the ball in play and let your opponent make a mistake. And that’s what she started to do."
Smith opened play last Thursday at CV with a solid 6-0, 7-5 victory over Manheim Central’s Grace Kensinger. She then followed that up with a convincing 6-4, 6-0 win over fourth-seeded Sarah Sambrick of L-S to advance to the semifinals.
In the semifinals, Smith finally was defeated as top-seeded Emily Mann of Manheim Township captured a 6-1, 6-2 victory to send Smith to the third-place match.
Looking ahead, Garman said his biggest hope for his senior is for her to be on her game heading into Districts.
"I just want her to go there and play well and have fun," he said. "Hopefully, she’ll be able to win a match. I’d just be happy to go up there and see her play real well and compete."
In addition to Brittany Smith, Cocalico’s Alli Witmer also competed in Flight One singles. Unfortunately, Witmer squared off against Penn Manor’s Katina Jones, the second seed, who captured a 6-0, 6-0 first-round victory over Witmer.
In Flight Two, Ephrata’s Cassandra Enck and Natalie Sukanick of Cocalico both had impressive tournaments as each advanced to the semifinals before bowing out.
Enck, a second seed who drew a first-round bye, knocked off Rachel Fazzini of Lancaster Catholic, 10-6 in Round Two played at Lampeter-Strasburg. She then advanced to the semifinals where she lost in straight sets (6-4, 6-2) to Lampeter-Strasburg’s Savannah Burton, the third seed.
Sukanick, meanwhile, opened with a 10-6 victory over Lancaster Mennonite’s Carolyn Krasley. Then in Round Two, Sukanick knocked off Madeleine Overholt of Cedar Crest by a 10-3 decision to advance to the semifinals. Unfortunately, in the semis, she fell to defeat as Manheim Township’s top seeded Meredith Meyer earned a 6-2, 6-4 win.
In Flight Three at Warwick last Thursday, Ephrata’s Abby Smith posted a 10-6 opening round victory over Monica Mede of McCaskey. Smith then met top-seeded Emily Murphy of Manheim Township in Round Two where Murphy captured a 10-1 victory.
Cocalico’s Courtney Murphy also competed in Flight Three but came up just short against second seeded Tori Schultz of L-S in the opening round. In a tight match, Schultz prevailed by a 10-8 decision.
In Flight Four singles at Manheim Central, Cocalico’s Ali Stafford captured a 10-3 opening round victory over Elle Cubbison of Lancaster Catholic. However, Stafford was eliminated in Round Two by Helaine Mazaheri of L-S in a 10-4 match.
In Flight One doubles action at CV, Brittany Smith and Enck earned a first-round bye before falling 6-2, 6-1 to the Penn Manor team of Jones and Meghan McMurtie in the second round. Cocalico’s Witmer and Sukanick went out in Round One, losing to Burton and Sarah Sambrick of L-S by a 6-3, 3-6 (10-7) decision.
In Flight Two, Stafford and Murphy lost 8-7 (7-3) in Round One to Manheim township’s Murphy and Mann, while Abby Smith and Laura Kramer came up short against Donegal’s Erin Zern and Amanda Pelton in Round One, 8-5.
Finally, in flight Three, Cocalico’s Courtney Cooper and Jill Eiding fell to Penn Manor’s Elizabeth Revelt and Cheng by an 8-3 decision. More SMITH, page B-5