Brady, Callahan keep O’Hara’s record spotless

MARPLE — Cardinal O’Hara girls tennis coach Patty Fitzgerald insisted that revenge played a small role, if any, in her team’s 2014 success.

“We discuss a lot of things,’ she said of her Lions, the top seed in the Catholic League playoffs after bowing out in the finals a season ago. “Every practice, every game, the whole season leads up to today.’

Fitzgerald admitted that her girls were nervous prior to their semifinal match with Bonner-Prendergast. If they were, they hardly showed it. O’Hara took care of the fourth-seeded Pandas 5-0 at home Monday. The Lions didn’t lose a set over the five matches.

The win advances the Lions to the Catholic League final Thursday morning against Lansdale Catholic, which topped Archbishop Carroll, 3-2, Monday.

First doubles pair Laura Brady and Colleen Callahan, as they’ve done all season, set the tone. They defeated Sydney Lynch and Marie Petrik 6-1, 6-0 to push their unbeaten run in Catholic League play to 9-0.

“We’ve been friends for four years so we work well together,’ Callahan said. “We understand our strengths and weaknesses.’

Fitzgerald first noticed those strengths in the preseason in August. She felt the two seniors complimented each other well with their individual styles.

“Laura tends to be more aggressive at the net. She takes anything she can get,’ Fitzgerald said. “Colleen hits some nice strong shots from the baseline. I had them playing together this summer. I figured they’d be a good partnership.’

They’ve been better than good, and they were again on Monday.

“We were just ready to play,’ Brady said. “We’ve had a lot of matches that ended first. It was no different today.’

In the first singles match, Allison Salmon took on Jess Knapp. It was a clash of athletes with similar attributes. Both are rangy players that cover the entire court. They engaged in long rallies highlighted by spinning forehands and desperate returns.

Salmon got the better of Knapp. Her wide array of shots was too much for the Pandas’ senior to handle.

“I was pretty confident going in,’ Salmon said. “(Knapp) put up a good match, though.’

The wind made a difference on the breezy afternoon. Players on both teams struggled to judge the flight of the ball at times. Salmon, however, used it to her advantage. With the wind at her back she lofted high, lob shots that bounced well into her opponent’s back court.

“I tried to hit it lighter,’ Salmon said. “I use the lob as much as I can. I just want the point, and want to force the other girl into making mistakes.’

She won the match 6-1, 6-2.

“Allison has just had an amazing season,’ Fitzgerald said. “When you’re number one, you’re playing the toughest player from every team. She probably has the best tennis strokes of anyone on our team.’

Caitlyn Savage’s 6-2, 6-3 victory over Grace McDermott in the third singles clinched the O’Hara win. Gabriella Levy outlasted Simone Williams 6-3, 7-5 in second singles. Fitzgerald praised Levy, the last Lion off the court.

“Gabby gets more confident the more she plays,’ the coach said. Her team apparently does too. The duo of Cara Degnan and Melanie Anderson bested Rebecca Hayes and Francie Fleming 6-1, 6-1 to ensure O’Hara won all five matches.

The Lions (9-6, 9-0 Catholic League) will take on the winner of Archbishop Carroll and Lansdale Catholic Thursday at 9 o’clock at the Legcay Youth Tennis and Education center in Philadelphia.

“I have high expectations,’ Salmon said of her team’s outlook. “Hopefully we’ll do well. We just want to keep winning.’

Bonner-Prendergast ends its season at 8-4 overall, 5-4 in the Catholic League. Coach Charlie Wieners, though, was anything but disappointed after the match.

“We got to the playoffs. They earned it. We earned our way in, we didn’t back in,’ Wieners said. “I couldn’t be more proud of this team.’

In the other Catholic League semifinal:

Lansdale Catholic 3, Archbishop Carroll 2: The Crusaders sealed the win thanks to a marathon battle at third singles, with Nadia Schimony topping Jackie Finnegan, 2-6, 6-2, 6-2. The players were even in the third set at 2-all before Schimony pulled away.

The Patriots were on the right side of a three-setter in first doubles, with Cara Hagan and Sofia Schena pulling out a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 win. Carroll’s other win was a 6-0, 6-0 blanking by Tess Ginn at first singles.

In the District One Class AAA Tournament:

Both of Delco’s representatives in the District One Class AAA tournament bowed out Monday via sweeps.

Radnor, the No. 12 seed and the third team out of the Central League, lost 5-0 to No. 5 seed Abington. Del Val champion Academy Park, the No. 16 seed, was swept aside by top-seeded West Chester Henderson. Details weren’t reported from either match.

In the Central League:

Haverford 6, Ridley 1: The first doubles team of Jillian Bernstein and Kelsy Moran won a three-setter, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-1, over Rio Polo and Maddy Carlson to help swing the match in the Fords’ favor.

Haverford’s third doubles player Nellie O’Leary survived a tiebreaker to win 7-6 (6-1), 6-1.

Ridley’s lone win may have been the match of the day, with Brittany Brown and Melynda McKinney outlasting Emily McMillian and Sloane Longo, 5-7, 6-4, 10-7.

Delco Christian 4, Marple Newtown 3: The Knights won the battle of Newtown Square thanks to a sweep of doubles, the highlight coming in the third flight when the squad of Gia Park and Olivia Han won 6-1, 7-6 (8-6). Rylee Power, Emma Clancy and Devon DiCampli swept the singles for Marple.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply