Warren’s Kiehl makes semis of D10 singles

From left, Mary Gerace, Iris Kiehl, and Lucy Harrison represented Warren’s girls tennis team at Saturday’s District 10 2A Girls Singles Championships at Westwood Racquet Club in Erie. Kiehl became the first female since from WAHS since 2000 to advance to the D10 singles semifinals. Photo submitted to Times Observer

ERIE — Tough to do better than the best you’ve ever done.

On Saturday, the top three singles players from Warren participated in the District 10 2A Singles Championships, “and put out the best results we have seen in 20-plus years,” according to head coach Thomas Pellegrino. “All three players made it into the quarterfinals, which to my knowledge may be the first time Warren has had all three make it that far into the draw.”

At No. 1 singles all season for Warren, Iris Kiehl won in the quarters “to become the first Warren girl to move into the semis for the first time in over 20 years,” added Pellegrino.

The day started by getting some of the Warren girls seeded. Kiehl received the third seed while Mary Gerace got the No. 6 overall seed.

“We fought for Lucy Harrison to get the eight seed as she has had a phenomenal season, and made it into the quarters as a freshman last year, but the votes unfortunately didn’t go her way,” said Pellegrino. “After the top eight seeds are made, the rest of the draw is completely random, which saw Lucy come up against a tough task in round one. She got matched up with Paige Patsy from Cathedral Prep who received the five seed. Lucy had just recently lost to Paige twice earlier in the week, so we knew this would be a challenge.

“These two girls had no business meeting each other in round one, but at districts anything can happen and Lucy was up for the challenge,” said Pellegrino. “Put out on the ‘show court,’ Lucy silenced the crowd and provided the upset of the tournament by starting her day off with a huge 8-6 win. This win really set the tone for the Warren girls and got everyone in the right head space.”

After this match, Harrison went on to defeat a Franklin girl, 8-0, before falling 3-8 in the quarterfinals to the two seed from Wilmington.

Mary Gerace started off her day by grabbing an 8-0 win over Hickory’s No. 1, and in the round of 16, (she) defeated Wilmington’s No. 2 by the same score. In the quarters, Gerace was matched up against The four seed from Cathedral Prep.

“Mary started off great in this one, but as the match progressed, Handzel from Prep managed to pull away and defeat Mary, 8-3,” said Pellegrino.

Kiehl began her day with a bye as she received the No. 3 seed. From there, she won her round of 16 match, 8-0, over Wilmington’s No. 3, putting her into the quarters. In the quarters, she went up against the Grove City No. 2 and pulled off an 8-5 victory to advance to the semifinals.

In the semifinals, Kiehl went up against the two-seed from Wilmington, Mary Matyosovsky.

“Mary is a big hitter and indoor tennis is perfect for her aggressive style, so we knew Iris would need to adjust to the change of pace,” said Pellegrino. “Iris started off this match on a completely different level; she was ripping winners, hitting aces, and attacking the net in capturing the first set, 7-5. From there, Mary really just turned up the heat and wasn’t missing. The second and third sets were back-and-forth battles with just about every game going to deuce, but Mary was able to pull off the game points pulling away with the 5-7, 6-2, 6-3 win over Iris.

“Although Iris lost this match, we could not be more proud of how far she has come,” said her coach. “This girl was ranked 20/22 as a freshman and just struggled to make contact with the ball and, within three years, she has worked her butt off to become the first semifinalist since 2000, and in my opinion is one of the best players to ever come through this program.

“What an exciting day for these girls,” said Pellegrino. “These results are well-deserved after all of the hard work they have put in. We have a few days to practice this week, then will be heading back to Erie for the D10 doubles tournament on Thursday at the Westwood Racquet Club.”


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