When the Fayetteville-Manlius girls tennis doubles team of Katerina Atallah and Maggie Bonomo made it all the way to the championship match of last year’s state tournament in Latham, it was fairly special.
Bonomo has graduated –but Atallah, as a singles player, is heading back to Tri-City Fitness in the Albany suburbs after a memorable victory in last week’s Section III state qualifying tournament at Drumlins.
Atallah entered the tournament as a no. 2 seed, with Christian Brothers Academy’s Gieselle Vlassis as the top seed. Both would earn their state tournament berths without dropping a set in any of the first three rounds.
All that served as a prelude to the final, where Vlassis claimed the opening set 6-3, and in the second set closed in on victory. But Atallah forced it to a tie-breaker, won that set 7-6, and then blanked Vlassis 6-0 in the third set to win.
Vlassis did not drop a game in the first two rounds against Alexis Cruz (Indian River) and Alex Galle (Cazenovia) before confronting Atallah’s F-M teammate, Anna Manta, in Thursday’s semifinals.
Just to get to the semifinals, Manta had to beat Jamesville-DeWitt’s Tara Pollock, doing so 6-2, 6-3 in the quarterfinals after Pollock had handled Chittenango’s Brooke DiFlorio 6-2, 6-1 in the first round.
Meanwhile, Atallah, the no. 2 seed, won equal 6-1, 6-0 matches in the first two rounds, including one over Manlius-Pebble Hill’s Parmees Fazeli, who had beaten Watertown IHC’s Ameet Aujila in the opening round.
Now, in the semifinals, Atallah met Utica-Notre Dame’s Ellen Lyga, having already beaten Lyga’s sister, Emily, in the first round, and having seen Ellen beat Atallah’s teammate, Phoebe Wang, 6-3, 6-1 in the opening round.
Going for the family sweep, Atallah dominated Lyga, taking the first set 6-2 and the second set 6-0. Her state tournament berth secure, Atallah watched as Manta, could not keep up with Vlassis, who prevailed 6-2, 6-2.
So it was Manta against Lyga in the consolation match for the third and final state tournament spot. Having lost the first set 6-2, Manta nearly made it all the way back, winning the second 7-6, and getting within reach in the final set before Lyga prevailed 7-5.
Meanwhile, in doubles, CBA’s Grace Coyne and Grace DelPino would face F-M’s Rachel Liu and Keara Polovick in the decisive consolation bracket final after both lost in the semifinals.
Neither set proved too close, with Coyne and DelPino taking charge and winning 6-2, 6-2, making it three CBA players on their way to Latham.
. Coyne and Delpino had started the tournament with a 6-0, 6-1 opening-round win over MPH’s Ava Benedict and Halle Erwin. Then they defeated J-D’s Olivia DeHoog and Inika Gajra 6-3, 6-1 in the quarterfinals.
In the semifinal, Coyne and DelPino, were up against Oneida’s Sydney Lusher and Lauren Skibitski, who had handled F-M’s Alexis Ahn and Martha Welker 6-2, 6-0 in the first round and then blanked CBA’s Mary Kilmartin and Isabella Mead 6-0, 6-0 a round later.
Not stopping there, Lusher and Skibitski prevailed 6-1, 7-5, over Coyne and DelPino, earning for Skibitski a second state tournament berth as she paired in doubles with Brianna Lauretti in 2017.
Back on Tuesday, Liu and Polovick had survived a 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 quarterfinal with Skaneateles’ Ella Danforth and Emma Miller after sweeping Whitesboro’s Kylie Cleary and Karlie Cubino 7-5, 6-1 in the first round.
Now Liu and Polovick tried to avenge their sectional Division I final loss to West Genesee’s Mikayla Mannara and Katie Viau in the semifinals.
Having won their quarterfinal 6-2, 6-2 over F-M’s Maddy Drapeau and Cassie Wojtasiewicz, Mannara and Viau completed the sweep of the Hornets’ sides, beating Liu and Polovick 6-2, 6-3, and going on to top Lusher and Skibitski in the finals.