BY ANDY ROWER | MIRROR SPORTS — Perrysburg’s girls tennis team edged Anthony Wayne out of first place at last week’s Northern Lakes League tournament, 38-33.
“Overall, we fell two wins short of the NLL title,” said AW coach Jim Sutto.
The second-seeded tandem of seniors Alex Buraszeski and Juliana Gulia led the Generals with a first-place finish at second doubles.
Buraszeski and Gulia started things off with a 6-0, 6-0 win over Napoleon’s Maggie Weller and Kellie Schreiber and advanced to the finals after a hard-fought 6-1, 6-7 (7-5), 6-4 victory over Springfield’s Libbie Brey-maier and Lizzie Welker.
Now playing for the championship, Buraszeski and Gulia topped Perrys-burg’s top-seeded team of Megan Smith and Natalie Ondrus, 6-4, 7-5.
“That was the first time in many years that we beat Perrysburg in a final match,” Sutto said.
Anthony Wayne followed with second-place finishes at first and second singles and first doubles.
Second-seeded senior Kailyn Szmania kicked things off with a 6-0, 6-2 first singles win over Northview’s Marissa Lechlak and advanced to the finals with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Springfield’s Kayla Helminiak.
Szmania then matched up against Perrysburg’s two-time district champion and No. 1 seed Emma Carter, who likely earned her second straight NLL Player of the Year title with a 6-1, 6-4 win.
“Kailyn is playing some of the best tennis of her life,” Sutto said. “Emma beat her 6-1, 6-4, but that score doesn’t tell how well Kailyn played. Many of the games went to deuce and at one point in the second set, Kailyn rallied for a 4-3 lead.
“It was fun to watch two great athletes battle it out.”
Second-seeded junior Elizabeth Seiple began the tournament with a 6-1, 5-7, 6-3 second singles victory over Southview’s Emma Allen and followed that close match with a 6-1, 7-4 win over Springfield’s Gianna Lamontagne.
A former state placer, Perrysburg’s top-seeded Sydney Onest won the ensuing championship match over Seiple, 6-0, 6-0.
The Generals’ second-seeded duo of junior Kassidy Pittman and sophomore Ashley Hartzell began their first doubles run with a 6-1, 6-0 victory over Napoleon’s Shayna Eberly and Addison Heitman, before advancing to the finals with a tough 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 win over Bowling Green’s Quinn Beeker and Faith Zhang.
Hartzell and Pittman went on to give Perrysburg’s twosome of Gemma Smith and Kyleigh Henthorn a run for their money, but ultimately suffered a 3-6, 2-6 loss to the top seed.
“Ashley and Kassidy at first doubles and Elizabeth at second singles had some great wins on their way to second-place finishes,” Sutto said.
Anthony Wayne’s final competitor, junior Grace Skilliter placed fourth at third singles.
After starting things off with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Maumee freshman Julia Becker, the second-seeded Skilliter suffered a 4-6, 0-6 upset loss to Napoleon’s third-seeded Ashley Rieger – who went on to place second.
Skilliter responded with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Southview’s Julia Malin-owski, but dropped her third-place match to North-view’s fourth-seeded Sophia Campbell, 5-7, 0-6.
Southview followed the Yellow Jackets and Generals by placing third with 24.5 points and Napoleon took fourth at 20.5.
“I’m very pleased with the direction the team is headed,” Sutto said. “The girls are peaking just in time for sectionals next week.
“It’s been a busy couple of weeks, but we will have the chance to fine tune a few things at practice next week as we look to make a run at sectionals and districts.”
Springfield (19), North-view (18), Bowling Green (eight) and Maumee (three) rounded out the team standings.
Becker earned the lone Panthers win of the tournament.
After losing to Skilliter, she bounced back to defeat Springfield’s Megan Royer, 7-5, 2-6, 7-5, before bowing out with a 3-6, 0-6 loss to Campbell.
Becker totaled 23 points in the tournament.
Senior Lindsay Krist managed three points at first singles and classmate Claire Waller managed two points at second singles.
At doubles, sophomore Allie Karrenbauer and junior Sophie Garber managed three points at the second position and juniors Kayla Harrigan and Makayla Gast were shut out in their matches against the Nos. 1 and 5 seeds.