SYRACUSE A memorable fall for the Baldwinsville girls tennis team will end where they intended to be all along – at the New York State Public High School Athletic Association championship tournament.
Three players – Natalie Kot and Amari Pollard in doubles, plus Kahlei Reisinger in singles – are on their way to Latham’s Tri-City Tennis Center for the big show, thanks to their successful work in the Section III state qualifier.
When the opening rounds were complete on Oct. 20 at Syracuse University, Kot and Pollard, the top seed in doubles, were in top form, as was Reisinger, the no. 3 seed in singles.
This led to Wednesday’s final rounds, played indoors at Drumlins Country Club, where Kot and Pollard kept on rolling – and Reisinger got, by far, the most satisfying win of her career.
During the doubles semifinal, Kot and Pollard defeated the Fayetteville-Manlius team of Laurin Goldberg and Jessie Guarino 6-3, 6-3, which clinched a state tournament bid.
Then, in the finals against West Genesee’s Samantha Heyn and Marisa Joyce, Kot and Pollard lost the first set 6-3, but dominated the second set 6-0 and, in the third set, beat Heyn and Joyce 6-3 to claim the title. Both teams will advance, as does Goldberg and Guarino, who beat Abigail Cornell and Amanda Peters (Beaver River) in the consolation match for the third and final spot.
For Reisinger, the singles semifinal against F-M’s Sienna Susko brought a chance for redemption. Twice this season, Reisinger met Susko, and lost both times, including the Sept. 7 showdown where Reisinger had two match points but still could not finish Susko off.
Reisinger lost again to Susko Oct. 8 in the sectional Division I semifinals, again in three sets – but in this third encounter, it all turned around.
Playing two exquisite sets, Reisinger swept past Susko, 6-3, 6-3, sealing her trip to the state tournament, even though in the final Auburn’s Claire Minnoe would stop her 6-0, 6-0 to hold on to her tournament crown.
So Reisinger, Minnoe and Susko (who beat Jamesville-DeWitt’s Kyrin Pollock in the third-place match) join Kot, Pollard, Heyn, Joyce, Goldberg and Guarino on the state team. Play in Latham begins Nov. 3, running through the championship round on Nov. 5.