Emmaus girls tennis caps regular season
The 2018 Emmaus girls tennis team served and volleyed with modest improvement during the recently completed 2018 regular season and the Hornets’ coach, Brian Bleam, thinks his team’s best days could be ahead.
“I think we did pretty good,” said the first-year coach in assessing his team’s 7-8 record, an improvement from last year’s 6-9 mark. “I was hoping for a .500 season and we were very close to that. This past season was a bit of a learning process.”
Emmaus nearly pulled off a winning record, but dropped its second-to-last contest of the season to Allentown Central Catholic 4-3.
The Hornets’ youth-laden improved during the year thanks to hard work during the offseason and throughout the season. During summer practices and throughout the season, Bleam was determined to improve his team’s speed and agility to provide better court coverage.
Number one singles player sophomore Shannon Stewart finished with a winning record (9-8) and continues to improve her game.
“Shannon has a good attitude and she keeps on working hard and is hungry,” the coach says in assessing her performance. “She really has come a long way.”
Stewart had dominant performances throughout the year, such as a 6-0,6-1 victory over Northampton’s Liz Hozza and a 6-0,6-0 masterpiece over Andriana Carrion of Pocono Mountain West.
She competed in Monday’s District 11 singles tournament as the No. 7 seed. After a first-round win over Krystal Francis of Pocono Mountain West (6-0, 6-0), Stewart fell in the second round to Parkland’s Joanna Wu (7-5, 6-0)
The Green Hornets’ number two and three singles slots - Mia Columbus and Jocelyn Chow - are both freshmen and both have unique attributes.
Although Columbus finished with a 7-9 mark this season, Bleam says she is the “team captain” and sets a positive example for her teammates with “a good attitude and good leadership skills.” Chow had a remarkable 11-5 record and according to Bleam “was the MVP of the team.”
“Her nickname is ‘cruise control’’” the coach said, adding that she almost “doesn’t need any coaching.”
The doubles team of Misa Hollinger and Abirami Chinnakaruppan had a superlative season and was undefeated until the final match of their season against Parkland. The duo of Sonya Boukengolts and Riley Stuckey also had a solid season for the Green Hornets.
As the No. 8 team in the District 11 Class 3A rankings, Emmaus will likely be part of the field for next week’s team tournament. The Hornets would take on top seeded Freedom (13-1) in the first round, Monday, Oct. 8.
Emmaus will also send players to the district doubles tournament in two weeks.