DuBOIS – The Elk County Catholic Lady Crusader doubles duo of Laira Reuscher and Sophie Herzing, both seniors, defeated their cross-town rivals of Aubrey Wiesner and Chelsea Agosti from St. Marys Area 6-2, 6-1 to claim the District 9 Class AA doubles title on Tuesday afternoon at DuBois Area High School.
"It was a great match," said ECC coach Pete Meier. "We've got great seniors-- Laira and Sophie are two of the nicest kids you'll ever meet. They've been playing together for four years. All of our seniors-- Maria (Gismondi), who won singles, and Laira and Sophie-- are just great kids. It was a great match. They played good tennis. They're getting better every time they play. It's going to be fun in Hershey. We're just happy to be here and I'm proud of all these kids."
En route to the final, Reuscher and Herzing defeated the Johnsonburg duo of Cheyenne Johnson and Paige Secco 6-2 in the opening round while Wiesner and Agosti took a 10-1 win over Brockway's Taryn Licatovich and Alicia McConnell. In the other first-round games, St. Marys Area's Danielle McCoy and Amy Orr won 10-8 over Brockway's Anna Brinkley and Taylor Hepler, and ECC's Kristin Dippold and Abby Wittman won 11-10 (7-3) against Johnsonburg's Riley Fannin and Paige Martonik.
The semifinals were an all ECC-SMA affair. ECC's Reuscher and Herzing took on SMA's McCoy and Orr, coming away with a 6-3, 6-3 win. In the other half of the bracket, SMA's Wiesner and Agosti played a tough match against ECC's Dippold and Wittman, taking the 3-6, 6-1, 6-3 win.
"I thought they (Wiesner and Agosti) played great to come back in their semifinals to beat them (Dippold and Wittman). I'm pleased with the way they performed," said St. Marys Area coach Sue Lepovetsky.
In the final, Reuscher and Herzing took a 2-0 lead at the beginning of the first set. Wiesner and Agosti rallied back, claiming the next two points to tie the set at 2-2. After a tough fight, the Lady Crusaders were able to go up 3-2, and then came away with the next three points as well to take the 6-4 first-set win.
Herzing and Reuscher looked to have the second set well in hand, going up 5-0 before Wiesner and Agosti were able to momentarily quash their momentum and take their first point of the set to make the score 5-1. Elk Catholic came right back and scored the next point though, winning the second set 6-1, and claiming the District 9 Class AA doubles title.
Meier remarked that there was never a point during the match where he was completely comfortable with his players' lead.
"I'll tell you, we and St. Marys match up so well. Both teams are good. You don't stop playing until the last point is won," Meier said. "They kept at it. They stayed aggressive, and just played good tennis."
In AAA, the duo of Kristina Torretti and Alisha Torretti, twin sisters who are seniors at DuBois Area, claimed the title with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Punxsutawney's Lauren Wolfe and Amber Ward.
Both teams had a bye in the opening round. In the top half of the bracket, Punxsy's Kylie Krise and Jaelene Burkett came away with a 1-3 win over Bradford's Nicole Henderson and Ashley Stoltz to set up a semifinal match between the Torrettis. The Torrettis came out ahead in that match by scores of 6-1, 6-1 to advance to the final.
In the bottom half of the bracket, DuBois' Alaina Anand and Michelle Wenerd defeated Bradford's Hannah Burgoon and Montgomery Burgoon 10-3 in the opening around, advancing to face Wolfe and Ward in the semifinals. In that match-up, Wolfe and Ward came away with the 6-1, 7-6 (7-4) win to face the Torrettis in the final.
As the District 9 Class AA champions, Reuscher and Herzing will advance to the State Doubles Tournament at the Hershey Racquet Club on Nov. 2-3.