September 24, 2010
Trojans rally to nip CHS
Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Inna Yanchuk of Cortland High reaches for a shot during her straight set victory over Homer Central’s Hannah Teter Thursday, part of a singles sweep by the Purple Tigers.
In true Cortland High-Homer Central tradition, the annual tennis showdown between the two girls’ teams came right down to the third and fourth doubles matches.
In Thursday’s showdown, Cortland held a 3-2 lead thanks to a sweep of the singles matches only to see the Trojans rally behind wins at first and second doubles. With tight three-set victories at third and fourth doubles, Homer completed the comeback and posted a 4-3 OHSL Freedom Division victory on their home courts.
A third straight victory has Homer 3-2 in league play and overall play. Cortland falls to 2-4 in the division, 3-4 overall.
“This just wouldn’t be a Homer versus Cortland match unless it came right down to the wire and let me tell you these girls kept everyone on their toes,” Homer coach Nancy Cavellier said. “Congratulations to Cortland for a well-played match.
“Our first doubles of seniors Sarah Dart and Lizzy Kniffin were probably our smoothest match,” she continued. “They’ve been playing well together seeing the entire court and placing shots to the open spot. The rest of the matches were not easy, all were extremely tight. We played as a team with a lot of heart tonight and to take all four points at doubles is impressive.”
“This match was about as closely contested as you can get,” Cortland coach Bob Walrath said. “It was filled with drama and ups and downs. It is always too bad that someone has to lose one of these. Our girls fought gamely all night long. I couldn’t be any prouder of our efforts out there.
“If I had to single out one factor that made the difference,” he continued. “I would have to say that Homer was a little more aggressive and effective at the net in doubles play. Each match we’re gaining, but, we’re still too timid to win the close matches in doubles.”
Carly Dove and Danielle Howell from Homer spilt the first two sets with Brianna McAdams and Casey Rulison at third doubles before winning the third set 7-6, with a 7-4 tiebreaker to even the score at 3-3.
Emily Canaski and Samantha Peckham scored a 6-3 win over Cortland’s Emalee Burkhard and Kendahl Warren to open their fourth doubles match, but the Purple Tiger duo took the second set by the same count. Canaski-Peckham took the deciding third set and the team win by a 6-2 count.
Dart and Kniffin opened the night with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Daisy Bush and Maddie Dorward. Molly Gray and Katie Sinclair followed with a 4-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-1 victory over Kim Cornell and Svetiana Yarmolyuk at second doubles as Homer took a 2-0 lead.
“As it turned out second, third and fourth doubles all came down to three set wins for them,’ Walrath said. “Kim and Svetlana had opportunities at second doubles to win that one in straight sets. We lost our intensity and ended up losing the second set 7-5 in the tie-breaker. At that point I thought to myself this could come back to bite us.”
Cortland roared back with a sweep of the singles matches.
Inna Yanchuk won a 6-4, 6-4 first-singles match over Hannah Teter. Devon Tennant posted a tough 5-7, 6-3, 6-2 triumph over Michelle Spencer at second singles. Irena Priadoun completed the sweep with a 6-4, 7-6 (7-3 tiebreaker) win over Laura Dart at third singles.
The Purple Tigers were leading 3-2 with two matches to go.
“Inna got us off to a great start winning in straight sets,” Walrath said. “Really with us sweeping in all three singles it looked like we had our chances to pull the match out. Give Homer credit or hanging in there and stepping up at key times.
“Devon came back from a set down to take her match in three while Irena played through a mental block to finish strong in securing her win at third singles,” he added.
Cortland and Homer will both compete in the OHSL South Regional Tournament Saturday. The tournament will be hosted at Cortland High starting at 9 a.m.
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