Abington junior Molly Bair at No. 1 singles for the Ghosts.
Abington junior Molly Bair at No. 1 singles for the Ghosts. (Steve Sherman)

Ghosts vanquish Indians, set stage for SOL National showdown

Abington defeated defending Suburban One League (SOL) National Conference champion Council Rock North yesterday (Sept. 25) on its home court, setting the stage for Friday's showdown with Pennsbury.

Both Abington and Pennsbury are unbeaten at 6-0 and are tied 3-all in a match that began Sept. 20. On Friday, the SOL National Conference crown comes down to who wins a third set tiebreaker at No. 1 doubles.

On Tuesday, Sept. 24, the Falcons took care of business, defeating Bensalem 7-0 on their home court. Today on theirs, the Ghosts disposed of the lady Indians by a 5-2 score.

Abington was led by junior Molly Bair, who outpaced CR North sophomore Isabella Cozzarin, in straight sets, 6-1, 6-2.

CR North sophomore Isabella Cozzarin jumped from No. 3 to No. 1 singles this season.
CR North sophomore Isabella Cozzarin jumped from No. 3 to No. 1 singles this season. (Steve Sherman)

"I was really dictating the play instead of just sitting back and defending,' said Bair, afterward. "I was really trying to work the point out, always thinking what I was going to do next, moving her around instead of sitting back and defending.'

"I've been trying to play more aggressively and this was a good match to put that into practice.'

Abington also won at second and third singles with Amirah Salina-Bey winning 6-0, 6-1 and Maura Waldner 6-2, 7-5.

Abington also took first and second doubles with Jeannie Van Buren and Ashley Lyons outpacing senior Hannah Rogers and junior Chloe Rignogne in straight sets 6-4, 6-3. Lindsey Quigley and Emma Kurtz won their match with sophs Avery Allen and Maddie Erman 6-2, 6-2.

The Rock made a stand at third and fourth doubles, winning both in straight sets. Seniors Julia Yim and Stef Durkin outpaced the Ghosts No. 3 doubles team of Farrah Andalis and Adreanna Doliba — both seniors — 6-2, 6-2. At No. 4 doubles for the Indians, Kim Lamberti and Sabrina Nabitowski outran Lexi Merrigan and Christina Li, 7-5 and 6-3.

CR North freshman Dora Zhao at No. 3 singles for the lady Indians.
CR North freshman Dora Zhao at No. 3 singles for the lady Indians. (Steve Sherman)

While the fate of the Ghosts has yet to be decided, the Rock finishes the league at 5-2 after beating all but Pennsbury and Abington. That's not bad for a team that graduated Hannah Caponi and Megan Sutton at No 1 and 2 singles and was forced to play without their current first singles player who went down with an ankle injury in the preseason.

Though she lost her battle with Bair, Cozzarin went 6-4 overall on the season, 3-2 in the SOL National. And that's after moving up from No. 3 singles to her current spot on the roster.

"She's done a nice job, made a nice progression from her freshman to her sophomore year,' said Indians head coach John Engelhardt. "She's really grown up overnight and taken a lead role on the team.'

Maura Waldner at No. 3 singles for the Ghosts.
Maura Waldner at No. 3 singles for the Ghosts. (Steve Sherman)

Though Cozzarin's injury on the practice court was unfortunate, her coach says it was a blessing in disguise. "It made her realize how important her game really was to her,' said Engelhardt.

With the SOL individual tournament slated to go Sept. 26, the fate of the league's team crown all comes down to the No. 1 double match between the Ghosts and the Falcons.

Van Buren and Lyons are up 2-0 in the tie-breaking set with Pennsbury senior Chloe Philips and junior Julia Gambell.

While the week-long break might seem to work to the Falcons' advantage, Pennsbury head coach Lindsey Gebeau doesn't see it that way.

"You always wanna finish what you start said Gebeau. "The adrenaline is flowing and the connection is there with your teammate. The players know what the match means so it's best to just complete the set.

Abington junior Molly Bair
Abington junior Molly Bair (Steve Sherman)

"Unfortunately, it didn't work out that way.'

As the coach, Gebeau says there's not much she can do to sway the end result except to make sure her players are mentally and emotionally sharp.

"They are athletes, they have the skills and they know how to win. The important part is to make sure they are mentally focused and emotionally prepared.'

If anyone has an edge, it's the Ghosts, says Gebeau.

"All they need is five points to win leagues and it could all be over in an instant. It's easy to start a match when you are up 2-0. We need to dig ourselves out of a hole.'

Pennsbury — without senior Sona Hussian in the lineup — was forced to play the match without its best player. With her, the outcome of the Falcons' battle with Abington might be no longer in question.

Hussian lost to Caponi and Bair during the 2012 regular season but captured last year's SOL singles title defeating Caponi in the final.

Bair finished third at SOLs last year but looks poised to go far in this postseason.

***

RESULTS

Abington 5, CR North 2

(Sept. 25 at Abington)

Molly Bair (A) defeated Isabella Cozzarin (CR) 6-1, 6-2

Amirah Salina-Bey (A) defeated Isabella Abraham (CR) 6-0, 6-1

Maura Waldner (A) defeated Dora Zhao (CR) 6-2, 7-5

Jeannie Van Buren and Ashley Lyons (A) defeated Hannah Rogers and junior Chloe Rignogne (CR) 6-4, 6-3

Lindsey Quigley and Emma Kurtz (A) defeated Avery Allen and Maddie Erman (CR) 6-2, 6-2

Julia Yim and Stef Durkin (CR) defeated Farrah Andalis and Adreanna Doliba (A) 6-2, 6-2

Kim Lamberti and Sabrina Nabitowski (CR) defeated Lexi Merrigan and Christina Li (A) 7-5, 6-3