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Bombers battle through Hornets

April 27, 2017
By LOU REUTER - Senior Sports Writer ( , Lake Placid News

LAKE PLACID - At least on Wednesday, you could call members of the Lake Placid girls tennis squad the comeback kids.

After watching their No. 1 singles player and top doubles team fall to Plattsburgh opponents, the rest of the Blue Bombers rallied to victory to notch a 3-2 win over the Hornets.

Lake Placid was hosting Plattsburgh for its first home match of the season, and with the win, the girls team improved to 2-0 in the Champlain Valley Athletic Conference.

Article Photos

Lake Placid seventh-grader Sonja Toichi returns a shot during her second singles match Wednesday against Plattsburgh. Toichi won in straight sets.
(News photo — Lou Reuter)

The Blue Bombers' boys, however, couldn't overcome a deck stacked against them after entering the match without their top two singles players. A strong Hornets team won that contest by a 5-0 score, which dropped Lake Placid's boys to 1-1.

Lake Placid's girls did not get off to a good start, but they certainly had a fantastic finish. A loss by Victoria O'Leary in No. 1 singles and a No. 1 doubles setback suffered by Barrett Smith and Ashley Strack put the Blue Bombers in a 2-0 hole. But the tide turned from there, as Sonja Toichi and Laurel Miller won their respective second and third singles battles and Aimee Hebert and Chelby Lawrence triumphed in the second doubles match.

"Plattsburgh has a pretty good team, and when we were down 2-0, it didn't look good," Blue Bombers girls coach Jon Fremante said. "It showed a lot of character from my girls to charge back like that."

O'Leary, Strack and Smith took the court first for Lake Placid on a sunny, windless day that provided perfect tennis conditions. O'Leary, a senior who is in her fourth season at No. 1 singles for the Blue Bombers, fell 6-4, 6-2 to Brina Micheels to give the Hornets their first point. Meanwhile, Strack and Smith dropped a 6-4, 6-1 decision to Trinity Carter and Sophie Gottschall.

Lake Placid's youngest gun, seventh-grader Sonja Toichi, then started the comeback. Playing in just her second high school match, Toichi toppled Julia Mitsoglou 6-0, 6-3 for the host's first point. The Blue Bombers second doubles duo of Aimee Hebert and Chelby Lawrence got off the court next after downing Quincy Parkenson and Sabrina Burgess 6-1, 6-1 to deadlock the match at 2-2.

Lake Placid's fate was then in the hands of the junior veteran, Miller, who came through with a 6-1, 6-4 third singles win over Paige Murray to lift the Blue Bombers to victory.

"I think that Sonja's win really got us going," Fremante said. "Laurel was the last one out there, and I didn't want to tell her what the situation was, but I think she knew when our doubles team won, the match was hers to win.

"I think it was an exciting thing for everybody to see that comeback," Fremante added. "I think the girls are really starting to gain a lot of confidence."

Starting behind the eight ball could be one way of stating the situation the Lake Placid boys team found itself in against the Hornets. Competing without Sawyer Chase, the Blue Bombers top singles player who was out sick, and minus Witter Swanson at second singles, who was attending a school function, the Blue Bombers were forced to shuffle their lineup and move everyone up two spots.

Although the effort was there, the skill and experience were not as Plattsburgh won all five matches to improve to 2-0.

Facing perhaps Section VII's best player, Blake Roy stepped into No. 1 singles for the Blue Bombers and fell to Plattsburgh junior Brendan Whalen 6-1, 6-0. Eighth-grader Tucker Jakobe then lost a more competitive match to Nick Nowosielski 6-4, 6-2 in second singles, and Kyle Kirby lost 6-1, 6-0 in third singles against Aiden Vogl.

The Blue Bombers did fare slightly better in doubles, as both their teams took a set in their battles. In No. 1 doubles, Will Gray and Camden Reiley rallied back from a 6-1 first-set loss to Hornets' Eusung Choe and Ben Keever by winning the second set 6-4. But the Plattsburgh tandem took over in set three, winning 6-0 for the Hornets fourth point.

No. 2 doubles was the final match of the day, with newcomers Levi Groves and Taylor Murphy taking the court for Lake Placid, and only Groves had played competitively before, which was during Monday's victory over Saranac Central. The pair fell 6-3 to Connor Cota and Andrew Cutair in the opening set, but came through to triumph 6-4 in the next set. With darkness moving in and the team win already wrapped up for Plattsburgh, the contest went to a tiebreaker instead of a third and deciding set, and Cota and Cutair notched a 7-4 win to clinch the shutout.

"I was more pleased than I thought I would be," Lake Placid boys coach Tyler Chase said. "We did get shut out, but everybody rose to the occasion. Everyone filled in a played hard against the odds, which was truly what it was.

"I was especially impressed with our second doubles guys," Chase added. "Levi played one match, this was Taylor's first time out there, and they were really nervous. Since it was getting late, and it wasn't a deciding match, we went to a tiebreaker. I think taking three games in that first set gave them enough of a little boost to win that second set. As a coach, it's always great when I get new guys who are terrified to go out and then find out that they can win."

Fortunately for the Blue Bombers, Sawyer Chase and Swanson are expected back for their team's next match, which will be on the road Friday against Northern Adirondack.



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