Good Wednesday to all my tennis followers!
The new season has started and, if time allows, I will post ON THE BLOG each Wednesday, unless there are matches scheduled for that day and in that case, I will post on Thursday. Honestly, time is short these days, but I digress.
A day after people were fascinated by the eclipse of the sun, its beaming light shined down on NEPA and the beginning of the season. However, threatening storms bearing down on this part of the state brought with them high and more than tricky winds ahead of their arrival.
That made for some interesting first serves in the match I attended between Scranton Prep and Western Wayne. But, the players adjusted and the matches moved forward.
I try to get out and take in a match in the early part of the season, and I will try to see a few more, again, if time allows. I chose to take in the Scranton Prep-Western Wayne match because the Classics are again considered one of the top teams in the Lackawanna League and District 2 Class 2A and Western Wayne is an up-and-coming program. Also, Scranton Prep has some new players in the lineup and it intrigued me to see new players on the first day of the new season.
Scranton Prep, like Abington Heights, will always have a steady flow of outstanding players with advanced skills. Western Wayne is a team that is really starting to play with confidence and skill. At first glance, the Scranton Prep 5-0 win looks lopsided, but a closer examination shows a tight three-set match at No. 1 doubles, and some very competitive sets in singles and doubles.
“The league has a lot of new, really good players.”
— Gabi Jakubek, Scranton Prep’s returning All-Region singles player
After an evaluation of the results from opening day, I couldn’t agree more. Yes, all six head-to-head matches in the team scores were one-sided. But looking up and down the lineups, I believe there are a lot of outstanding players, who when they battle during the season will provide the league with some really entertaining matches, while also giving District 2 tennis seeding master Mike Ognosky a lot to think about in October.
JOBY’S TOP 5 TEAMS
This is the second year for my Top 5 ranking. Again, we only have a small sample size but here is the first poll of the 2017 season.
1. Scranton Prep (1-0)
- Defeated Western Wayne, 5-0. Next: vs. Holy Cross, Sept. 28
2. Abington Heights (1-0)
- Defeated Holy Cross, 4-1. Next: vs. Delaware Valley, Thursday
3. Wallenpaupack (1-0)
- Defeated Mid Valley, 4-1. Next: at Valley View, Thursday
4. North Pocono (1-0)
- Defeated Scranton, 4-1. Next: vs. Montrose, Thursday
5. Valley View (1-0)
- Defeated West Scranton, 4-1. Next: vs. Wallenpaupack, Thursday
Teams to watch: Holy Cross (0-1), Western Wayne (0-1), Delaware Valley (1-0).
JOBY’S TOP 5 PLAYERS
Again, it’s early, but I pay very close attention to the singles players and their head-to-head matchups throughout the season. This is a starting point and things can change.
1. Gabi Jakubek, Scranton Prep (1-0)
She is battling an injury, but is the top returning All-Region player from 2016.
2. Lauren Carroll, Abington Heights (1-0)
Another returning All-Region player who held serve at No. 1 singles from last season.
3. Phoebe Cykosky, Wallenpaupack (1-0)
Also a returning All-Region player who has moved up from No. 2 to No. 1 singles.
4. Sarah Tofilska, North Pocono (1-0)
A four-year starter in the lineup for the Lady Trojans and has the ability to win big matches.
5. Clare Della Valle, Abington Heights (1-0)
Still has not lost in the regular season after going unbeaten at No. 3 last fall.
Players to watch: Sarah Sposito, North Pocono (1-0), Carly Habeeb, Scranton Prep (1-0), Isabel Hou, Scranton Prep (1-0), Kiana DeJesus, Valley View (1-0), Allison Mattern, Western Wayne (0-1), Heidi Washburn, Wallenpaupack (1-0), Taylor Moglia, Delaware Valley (1-0), Lauren Palmitier, Holy Cross (1-0), Hannah Vennie, Wallenpaupack (1-0).
NEWS AND NOTES
OK, I know the season is exactly 1 match old, but there are some very important dates to remember. Why? Because this season really goes by quickly, then we are into a very busy postseason schedule.
October 5-6 and 10
- DISTRICT 2 TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS: AA Semifinals begin at 11:00 AM; AAA Semifinals at 12:30 PM
The site for the Team Championship Semifinals & Finals will be at Kirby Park.
Thursday, October 5th & Friday, October 6th Quarterfinals will be at Higher Seed.
- DISTRICT 2 SEEDING MEETING: Singles & Doubles, 7 PM. at Dunmore High School
- DISTRICT 2 SINGLES CHAMPIONSHIPS: Oct. 12 (First three rounds) at Kirby Park and Wilkes University; Oct. 13 Semifinals and Finals 1 PM at Kirby Park, Wilkes-Barre.
- DISTRICT 2 DOUBLES CHAMPIONSHIPS: Oct. 17 (First three rounds) at Kirby Park and Wilkes University; Oct. 18, Semifinals and Finals, 1 PM at Kirby Park, Wilkes-Barre.
Here is a look at the schedule from now until the next Blog Post, which is scheduled for next Wednesday.
Montrose at North Pocono
Delaware Valley at Abington Heights
Scranton at Mid Valley
Western Wayne at Riverside
Wallenpaupack at Valley View
Holy Cross at Honesdale
West Scranton at Dunmore
MONDAY, AUGUST 28
Abington Heights at West Scranton
Mid Valley at Montrose
Holy Cross at Scranton Prep
Valley View at Scranton
Riverside at North Pocono
Dunmore at Wallenpaupack
Honesdale at Delaware Valley
TUESDAY, AUGUST 29
North Pocono at Mid Valley
Western Wayne at Holy Cross
Montrose at Valley View
Scranton Prep at Delaware Valley
Scranton at Dunmore
West Scranton at Honesdale
Wallenpaupack at Abington Heights: Rematch of District 2 Class 3A championship match from last season.
That’s it for today.
As you can see, there are some very good matches coming up in the early part of the season.