Weekly Feature



2011-09-14 / Sports

Defending ECIC II tennis winner East loaded with talent

by PATRICK J. NAGY Reporter


Williamsville East’s Emma Manuel returns a serve in the Lady Flames’ 5-0 road win over Hamburg on Monday. Manuel starts at first singles. 
Photo by John NormilePurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Williamsville East’s Emma Manuel returns a serve in the Lady Flames’ 5-0 road win over Hamburg on Monday. Manuel starts at first singles. Photo by John NormilePurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Last year, there was no high school girls tennis program better than Williamsville East.

The Lady Flames went 12-0 to win the ECIC Division II title. East was also especially strong at postseason tournaments. Six players qualified for ECICs as they swept the ECIC singles and doubles crowns and four of them went to sectionals where one of them won the Section VI singles championship and two of them took second in doubles.

Although five of the seven starters are gone, Lady Flames coach Mike Venditti definitely believes this year’s group has the potential to compete for a division title.

“We have three strong singles players and our doubles teams have shown steady progress throughout the first couple weeks of practice,” Venditti said.

The only two returning starters are the team captains, senior Emma Manuel at first singles and senior Alex Rowen at second singles. Manuel, a six-year varsity starter, is a five-time sectional and two-time state qualifier. Rowen is a five-year varsity player and four-year starter who last year was part of East’s first doubles team that won an ECIC doubles title and took runner up at sectionals.

Venditti said Manuel and Rowen are both deserving of the team captain accolades.

“Both have already taken a strong leadership role with the team and will do a terrific job all year,” Venditti said.

Seventh-grader Brianna Gibbs, who Venditti said has a lot of potential, plays at third singles. Gibbs is one of four middle school players on the squad.

Venditti said the starting doubles teams are not set in stone but several girls are competing for starting time including senior Pauline Dziama, juniors Catherine

Vukelic and Yuhon Sun, sophomore Avneet Magra and freshman Amy Xiao.

Venditti sees the singles players as a strength of the team and is encouraged by what he has seen from the doubles teams.

“Emma, Alex and Brianna are all very talented, dedicated and should compile an outstanding record during the season,” Ven- ditti said. “I’m also pleased with the progress our doubles teams are making. I’ve given them a great deal of information to absorb and they are starting to apply that on court.”

Venditti also said several young exhibition players have vastly improved from last season and should contribute.

Williamsville East
2011 Schedule
9-14 Starpoint............... 4:30 p.m.
9-15 Williamsville South 4:30 p.m.
9-21 Sweet Home ........ 4:30 p.m.
9-23 West Seneca East 4:45 p.m.
9-26 Hamburg............... 4:45 p.m.
9-30 at Starpoint .......... 4:30 p.m.
10-3 at Will. South....... 4:30 p.m.
10-5 at Sweet Home......... 5 p.m.
10-12 at West Seneca East 4:30 p.m.
10-14/15 at ECIC Singles Championships (Village Glen Tennis
Club) ...................................... TBA
10-21/22 at ECIC Doubles Championships (Village Glen Tennis
Club) ...................................... TBA
10-28 at Section VI Championships (Village Glen Tennis
Club) ............................ 11:30 a.m.
10-29 at Section VI Championships (Village Glen Tennis
Club) ................................... 3 p.m.

















email: pnagy@beenews.com

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