By Josh Shreckengost
SUNBURY — The Black Panthers got the 2019 girls tennis season off to a roaring start with a 5-0 sweep of Shikellamy on Monday afternoon.
Milton took all three singles matches and both doubles matches in a strong performance to open the fall sports season.
It was a performance that delighted Milton head coach Jenny Counsil for a variety of reasons, not least of which was her team’s ability to overcome the blistering heat and a few injuries to dig deep and secore a season-opening victory.
“For Haley (Seebold) to come back the way she did, wow,” Counsil said. “She kind of had her head down a little bit, she’s been going through some shoulder problems, and she told me during the match that she thought her shoulder was going to fall off. I told her to try not to think about it and to fight through it and she did that. That’s why she was serving underhand, because of her shoulder pain, but she found a way to get it done and I couldn’t be more proud of her.”
In the No. 1 singles match, Milton senior Hannah Seebold made quick work of Shikellamy’s Melanie Minnier in straight sets, 6-1, 6-1.
It was a victory which kicked off a season over the course of which Counsil believes that her No. 1 can achieve a personal goal of qualifying for the state singles tournament.
A season ago as a junior, Seebold came up just short of qualifying for states after she fell in the semifinals of the District 4 tournament.
“Hannah definitely has a goal, she made it to (district) semis and our goal for her is to get her to states this year,” Counsil said. “This was awesome for her today. She felt kind of bad because the girl she beat just had her appendix out, but I told her just to take the win and she did that.”
In the No. 3 singles match, Milton’s Payton Ritter made quick work of her opponent as she dispatched Shikellamy’s Kiersten Strohecter.
Milton also got solid performances in both doubles matches a couple of players who had not yet expereinced playing in a varsity match.
“Our one and two doubles are basically all newbies, two of them were out all last year so they never really got the feeling of playing in a match,” Counsil said. “I have a freshman in Brooklyn Wade on my No. 1 doubles with Kenzie Counsil and they really played awesome today.”
Maddy Chappell and Alana Stamm finished off the sweep for Milton in the No. 2 doubles match as they defeated Kelly Sprenkel and Lily Weist.
All told, it was just the start Counsil was looking for from her team to get the 2019 campaign underway.
“I was really happy with how they played and how they handled everything today, the injuries and the heat,” Counsil said. “I’m big on telling the girls to believe in themselves and they did that.”
Milton 5, Shikellamy 0
1. Hannah Seebold (MIL) def. Melanie Minnier, 6-1, 6-1.
2. Haley Seebold (MIL) def. Anne Norris, 7-5, 6-1.
3. Payton Ritter (MIL) def. Kiersten Strohecter, 6-0, 6-4.
1. Kenzie Counsil-Brooklyn Wade (MIL) def. Olivia Weaver-Sydney Knaver, 6-2, 6-1.
2. Maddy Chappell-Alana Stamm (MIL) def. Kelly Sprenkel-Lily Weist, 6-1, 6-2.
In other tennis action
Central Columbia 5
ALMEDIA — The Blue Jays topped the Green Dragons in the season-opening match for both teams by taking each individual match in straight sets.
Lewisburg (0-1) next hosts Bloomsburg at 4 p.m. Wednesday.
Central Columbia 5, Lewisburg 0
at Central Columbia
1. Tessa Gill (CC) def. Hannah Castellan, 6-0, 6-2.
2. Emma Kelchner (CC) def. Bekah Vance, 6-1, 6-1.
3. Adrianna Rakauskas (CC) def. Becca Brown, 6-1, 6-2.
1. Isabelle McHugh-Megan Minnig (CC) def. Audrey Harer-Sofia Waughen, 6-0, 6-0.
2. Abby Paternostro-Grace Roberts (CC) def. Liv Manner-Ayra Tufail, 6-0, 6-2.
Central Mountain 5
MIFFFLINBURG — Host Mifflinburg won a few games off its opponent, but it wasn’t enough as Central Mountain took a shutout victory to open the season.
Mifflinburg (0-1) will host Williamsport at 4 p.m. Wednesday.
Central Mountain 5, Mifflinburg 0
1. Kendall McCluskey (CM) def. Abby Underhill, 6-1, 6-2.
2. Carolina Carpenetti (CM) def. Kiara Gilroy, 6-1, 6-0.
3. Olivia Anastos (CM) def. Amber Leitzel, 6-0, 6-1.
1. Natalie Brown-Kati Kwiatek (CM) def. Rockell Keister-Kylie Vasbinder, 6-1, 6-1.
2. Ella Talbot-Caitlyn Dale (CM) def. Sylvia Rishel-Tayah Lamey, 6-1, 6-1.