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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, October 29, 2009

Lady Dutch tennis falls short in defense of title

By Jordan J. Michael

SCHENECTADY –– After beating Shenendehowa in dramatic fashion a year ago in the Class AA tennis finals, the Lady Dutch faced a similar scenario last Thursday at Central Park in Schenectady.

However, it would be a completely different outcome.

Guilderland took down Shen, 5-4, in the 2008 sectional finals, but could not repeat as champions last Thursday. The Lady Dutch lost, 6-3.

“We’re not doing that well so far,” said Head Coach Deb O’Brien as she watched Lauren Fehervari in her sixth-seed singles match. The Plainsmen beat Guilderland, 6-3, earlier in the season. “Shen is a really strong team.”

Fehervari went on to beat Karen Sweeney by winning the final two sets, 6-2, 7-6, after losing the first set, 4-6. Rachael Ellenbogen beat Shen’s Teru Greene, 6-4, 6-4, in the second-seed match and the doubles team of Mary Stone and Julia Fremante closed out the wins for Guilderland.

Number-one seed Kristen Ackerman fell to Shen’s Jessica Macaluso, 3-6, 2-6, and number-three Rachael Gallelli lost to Rachel Vancavage, 0-6, 2-6. Kacie Weatherhead and Monica Chappidi also lost singles matches for the Lady Dutch.

Guilderland has been without top player Gaby Peda all year and Kim Coonan had to sit out for her doubles match last Thursday with the flu.

“I’m already having a feeling that we lost this one because it looks like Shen has won at least five matches so far,” O’Brien said, watching Fehervari’s comeback behind dark sunglasses. “I’m fine with it because my players didn’t go down without a fight. We just couldn’t do it.”

Fehervari finished her season with an undefeated individual record after the win on Thursday.

“We were definitely a little off today because we haven’t played in three or four days,” said Gallelli. “I don’t want to make excuses, though, because Shen is really good. We should be happy because we tried our best.”

On the bright side for Guilderland, seniors Fehervari and Gallelli will be heading to Syracuse on Nov. 6 as a doubles team for the state finals. The girls beat the number-two seed from Bethlehem, 6-4, 6-1, to advance into the next round.

“Fehervari and I have been friends since we were little kids and we really connect,” Gallelli said. “It’s great that she didn’t lose a single match this year. We’re a consistent team and we help each other learn.”

Gallelli has “no idea” what the state finals will be like, but she knows that it will be an exciting time for Fehervari and her. “It will be a nice experience for us as seniors,” she said. “We’ll just keep hitting the ball back.”

“Even though we lost today, I feel like we played really well under the circumstances that we had for this season,” said Gallelli.

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