As the leaders in the OHSL Freedom division when the last week of September began, the Chittenango girls tennis team needed every bit of its talent and resolve to stay in front -- especially when playing four matches in five days.
But the Bears won them all, displaying again its ability to meet challenges when the pressure rose -- and earning a piece of the league title, too.
In last Monday's match against Mexico, the Bears beat off one challenger, topping the Tigers 5-2.
This time around, Chittenango's singles players had free rein. Chelsea Cox routed Kim Norton 6-2, 6-0, while Ashley Trode whipped Joelle Dimon 6-1, 6-0, and Jessica Antelmi got past Samantha Race 6-1, 6-2.
Samantha Marji and Lauren Markley combined in doubles for a 7-5, 6-3 win over Tanya Pryor and Samantha Race. In three sets, Jacey Pudney and Samantha Ranieri beat Melissa Ouderkirk and Hannah Akley 6-1, 3-6, 6-4. Lindsay Clifford and Samantha Tripoli lost in three sets to Mallory Yardsley and Tiarra Voce 6-1, 0-6, 6-3.
One day later, the Bears beat off another major challenge, toppling the Jamesville-DeWitt Red Rams 6-1.
Despite a few different combinations, Chittenango earned a doubles sweep. The teams of Clifford-Tripoli, Julia Cross-Lauren Whipple and Pudney-Ashley Trode all won in straight sets, while Theresa Myers and Lauren Markley teamed up for a 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 victory over Nidhi Simlote and Sophia Min.
Up in singles, Alex Kraus lost in two sets, but Antelmi sailed past Joanna Wu 6-2, 6-1, and Cox got through three sets and beat Rebecca Wu 6-2, 3-6, 6-1.
With no time to rest, the Bears hosted Fulton on Wednesday and got on top again, beating the Red Raiders 5-2 to clinch a tie for the Freedom division championship.
Cox got things going with a 6-0, 6-1 drubbing of Megan Andolina. Antelmi kept it up by beating Amanda Hawley 6-4, 6-0. Trode went through a long third set before falling to Kayleigh Drake 6-4, 6-7 (7-4), 13-11.