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Conestoga edges Unionville to win 2nd consecutive PIAA 3A girls tennis team title

Conestoga defeated Unionville, 3-2, in the PIAA 3A girls tennis team state championship final Saturday evening at Hershey Racquet Club, getting victories from second singles, third singles and second doubles.

It was the second consecutive PIAA 3A girls tennis team championship for the Pioneers, who captured the state team title last year with a 4-1 win against the Longhorns in the championship final.

All of the matches in Saturday’s final lasted two sets, except for the deciding second doubles match, which went three. Conestoga’s second doubles team of senior Michelle Han and sophomore Sowmya Krishna prevailed, 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 against the Longhorn tandem of senior Jaclyn Santaguida and junior Milana Amoss.

“That second doubles match was the most incredible match,” said Conestoga head coach Britt Aimone. “Michelle and Sowmya were leading in the third set 5-2, then Unionville tied it up 5-5, and finally we won 7-5. You couldn’t ask for a better final.”

Conestoga has only lost one match in two years, and that was the PIAA District 1 3A team final earlier this fall, which the Pioneers lost to the Longhorns, 3-2.

The two singles victories for the Pioneers came when junior Kate Emmanuel at second singles defeated sophomore Sophie Zhang, 7-5, 6-2; and junior Jennifer He at third singles defeated Longhorn senior Catherine Stone, 7-5, 6-3.

“Going into the second set, Kate had a mindset that the match was going to be hers,” said Aimone. “Her play in the second set – the way she moved the ball around and her shot selection – was perfect,” said Aimone. “Both Kate and Jennifer were really high energy in the second set.”

Aimone pointed out that this year’s PIAA 3A state team champions had a different lineup than last year’s state champs. Last year, Kate Emmanuel played third singles and He was at second doubles. The Pioneers’ first singles player this fall, Isabelle Emmanuel, is a freshman.

Unionville’s two wins in the state final came when junior Grace Li at first singles defeated Isabelle Emmanuel, 6-1, 6-3; and the first doubles pair of juniors Alexa and Emma Stanislawcyzk defeated the tandem of senior Bella Chen and junior Melissa Fan, 6-3, 7-5.

“Grace Li is an amazing player, and Isabelle played really well against her today,” noted Aimone.

On Saturday afternoon, in the semifinals, Conestoga defeated District 7 champion Mount Lebanon, 3-1. The Pioneers prevailed at first and second singles, and first doubles. Isabelle Emmanuel defeated Sophia Cunningham at first singles, 6-3, 6-0; Kate Emmanuel defeated Jessie Yang at second singles, 6-3, 7-5; and the Conestoga first doubles tandem of Chen and Fan earned a 6-1, 6-2 win.

“Bella and Melissa really were a presence, made their presence felt, on the court today,” said Aimone.

In the other state semifinal, Unionville squeezed out a 3-2 win against Spring-Ford, the District 1 fourth-place finisher. All five matches were decided in straight sets, with the Longhorns winning at first singles and sweeping the doubles matches. At first singles, Li defeated Mia Matriccino, 6-1, 6-1; at first doubles, Alexa and Emma Stanislawcyzk won, 6-3, 6-3; and at second doubles Santaguida and Amoss prevailed, 6-0, 6-2.


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