East Penn Press

Thursday, January 18, 2018
PRESS PHOTO BY CHUCK HIXSONEmmaus’ Mia Columbus won in three sets against her Northampton opponent. PRESS PHOTO BY CHUCK HIXSONEmmaus’ Mia Columbus won in three sets against her Northampton opponent.
PRESS PHOTO BY CHUCK HIXSON Emmaus singles player Sonya Boukengolts won in straight sets during a recent match against Northampton. PRESS PHOTO BY CHUCK HIXSON Emmaus singles player Sonya Boukengolts won in straight sets during a recent match against Northampton.

Girls tennis drops close match to Kids

Thursday, September 21, 2017 by CHUCK HIXSON Special to the Press in Sports

With a remaining schedule filled with tough matches, the Emmaus girls tennis team really needed a win against Northampton. Like Emmaus, the Konkrete Kids were in need of a win to keep their District 11 rankings in place. The two teams usually play each other tough and the latest meeting was no different, with Northampton escaping with a 4-3 win.

The loss dropped Emmaus to 6-4, while Northampton moves to 5-4 on the season.

Early on, it looked like Emmaus had the advantage. Northampton coach Kim Davis had to juggle his lineup a little and didn’t want to use number-two singles player Rose Sharga, who was battling an illness. After adjusting his singles lineup, Davis watched closely and it started to become apparent that he had to put Sharga in at number-one doubles with Liz Hozza to increase the odds of taking that match.

Emmaus was also without a key player, Krissy Heilenman, who plays at number-three doubles with Misa Hollinger. Heilenman is battling a knee injury. The loss of Heilenman combined with a schedule that saw Emmaus play on five straight days last week made things tough for Hornet head coach Dimitri Diamandopoulos.

“I think some of the younger players are having some issues,” said Diamandopoulos. “We sat out our number-three doubles girl today due to the fact that she had some knee issues, but for a lot of these kids, it’s tough to play these kinds of matches and it’s tough to do a lot of back-to-back matches.”

Neither coach was surprised that the match was so close and both termed it an important one for their team coming into play. Over the years, Emmaus and Northampton have had some good matches, but even Davis admits that the Hornets probably have the overall upper-hand in those battles.

“Dimitri and I have done a lot of 4-3 matches and usually, he’s on the top end of them,” he said. “We’ve done a lot of 4-3s and we usually don’t win here. Normally, that court [pointing to court three] is our jinx, but it wasn’t today.”

Court three saw Hollinger and Caroline Sampson of Emmaus fall to Regan Hobby and Kasey Zelienka 6-7, 6-2, 6-2. The last match of the day to finish was a tough battle between Northampton’s Liz Moore and Shannon Reinhard as they faced Sandhya Sriram and Ivory Gao. Emmaus took the first set, but Moore and Reinhard battled to take the next two. Xinyi He and Shannon Stewart won in straight sets at number-two doubles.

In singles, Tina Zhang fell in straight sets to Liz Hozza, but Mia Columbus won in three sets and Sonya Boukengolts won in straight sets for Emmaus.

The last week of the season is a daunting one for Emmaus as it battles for positioning in the district power rankings. Coming into the week, the Hornets are ranked ninth as they prepare to face Nazareth (9-2), Parkland (8-3), Easton (10-0) and Southern Lehigh (12-1). All four teams are ranked in the top five in District 11.

“We’re playing our hardest teams moving forward,” said Dimaondopoulos. “I think we played well today, but it was unfortunate that we couldn’t pull out the win. Northampton has a great team. They’re solid athletes and they play smart tennis. It’s a tough loss for us today.”