The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

September 11, 2013

Eagles on the attack

Geneva tops Edgewood for 10th-straight win

For the Star Beacon

— The Geneva tennis team began the year with three straight losses — more than the Eagles had experienced in any of the last three seasons.

After downing Edgewood, 5-0, in a home match Tuesday, coach Scott Torok’s flock has won 10 straight.

“The girls who have been around the last three years were 20-1, 20-1 and 19-2,” Torok said. “In the back of their mind, they kind of expect (to have winning streaks).

“You have to keep up relationships with some schools and you’ve got to play every year, though you’re not as strong, especially Orange and Revere and Chagrin Falls, who we gave a battle. Now that we’re in league play and county play, we’ve fared really well.”

The Warriors (2-6), on the other hand, have had a tough way to go.

“My girls are really good about dealing with their aches and pains,” Edgewood coach Beth Simpson said. “One of them has a really sore throat. She was so hoarse she could barely be heard out there Miranda Stover) has a fractured vertebrae in her back.

“They’re still fighting. I give them credit. They’re competitive girls. They love coming out here and they enjoy playing tennis.”

“Edgewood is fighting an uphill battle,” Torok said. “I feel for (Simpson). They’ve struggled a bit.”

Alyx Lynham, Amy Varckette and Martina Drugovich won at first, second and third singles, respectively, by 6-0, 6-0 scores for the Eagles (10-3, 6-0 in Premier Athletic Conference).

“Geneva is a very strong team,” Simpson said. “They’re a well-established program with a coach who has been leading them for a while. He gives them good direction. They looked really good out there today.”

Each of the three girls had something Torok wanted them to work on in the match.

“As you do at every level, we tell the top three players to go out and, no matter who they’re playing, get better every day,” Torok said.

“We wanted Amy to go to the net more. Alyx needed to work on her short angles and Marty is a bit of a grinder, so we told her to force the action a bit more today.

“I think they were happy with what they accomplished today.”

Lynham topped Sandra Dickey, Varckette bettered Allison Massaro and Drugovich beat Sam Braden.

“To start with, their serving is phenomenal,” Simpson said. “Watching Alyx play, you can tell she puts a lot of time and work in.

“Their one, two and three have phenomenal serves. They’re spot on, they’re fast, they’re hard, they’re difficult to return and they’re placed well.

“That’s something we’re still working at.”

With high temperatures, Torok gave his players some wise instructions.

“It was really hot today,” he said. “They’re not used to that — it’s not July anymore. We told them to get out there and get it over with as quick as possible.  Heat really was an issue today.”

Both Torok and Simpson changed things up with their doubles teams.

Edgewood’s Miranda Stover and Tiffany Lawrence made them work, but Geneva’s Sydney VanHoy and Deidra Yan pulled out a 6-4, 6-0 victory at first doubles.

“We did change things a little from what we’ve been playing,” Simpson said. “We had some challenge matches between girls with equal playing levels. We switched the doubles.

“Miranda and Tiffany did a good job talking and communicating. I’m proud of them. They played the first set neck and neck. Then, in the second set, Miranda started to struggle with her back.”

At second doubles, Geneva’s Veronica Ruggeri and Emily Forman topped Bronte Adams and Erica Applebee, 6-0, 6-2.

“We moved a couple of girls up to give them some varsity experience,” Torok said. “Sydney VanHoy usually plays second doubles and Veronica Ruggeri Emily Forman have been playing JV.

“Playing different combinations, it’s hard to get going. Those relationships don’t develop over night. They gained some experience working with different partners.”               

Ettinger is a freelance writer from Ashtabula.