YATESVILLE — After struggling through a 4-9 season last year when the team lost 10 seniors to graduation, Pittston Area’s rebuilding process had finally come to head.
The girls tennis team, which features another 11 seniors this season, expects to compete with the best teams in the league and possibly flip that 4-9 season around. Head coach Amanda Carmody, in her second season at the girls head coach and her eighth season overall between the boys and girls teams, said her group of 22 girls brings a competitive edge to the courts at Pittston Area Intermediate Center.
“We had a brand new team last year,” she said. “We lost 10 seniors two years ago and from there I have about eight girls that put the work in this offseason and we’re looking to compete.”
The Patriots will feature seniors Mackenzie Connors and Taryn Whitman in the top two singles spots. Connors and Whitman, along with fellow senior Julia Parrick, were named captains this season. Carmody said Connors and Whitman provide leadership for their fellow seniors and underclassmen.
“They definitely lead the team,” Carmody said of Connors and Whitman. “They are always motivating the other girls and it inspires whoever’s going to be No. 3.”
From there, Carmody said a handful of girls have a shot at the final No. 3 slot. Seniors Abby Connors and Breanna Yashkus, along with junior Madison Stanton, will fight for that last singles spot with challenge matches during practice. The two not in the No. 3 spot will represent Pittston Area’s first doubles team.
Also competing for a doubles position will be junior Charity McLeod, senior Emi Patel and junior Kerry Shamnoski
“I think there might be some alternating spots throughout the season, but our doubles teams will be tough to compete with because all those girls can play No. 3,” Carmody said. “They all work really hard and are hitting it very well.”
With the recent change to the PIAA’s classification, Pittston Area’s girls tennis team is now one of four teams to make up the Wyoming Valley Conference 3A Division. Joining Pittston Area is Crestwood, Hazleton Area and Wyoming Valley West. Girls tennis, like it has in the past, will still be in two classifications. The WVC teams will play each other once in the season, so there won’t be any changes to the conference schedule.
Carmody believes Hazleton Area will be strong this year, so the Patriots will be going after the Cougars in the conference slate.
“We’re looking at Hazleton Area,” she said. “They will be a tough competitor. We’ve been talking about what we need to do to stay with them.”
Prior to traveling to Hazleton Area on Friday, Sept. 23, the Patriots will get started on Wednesday, Aug. 24 with a home match with Coughlin.
Reach Nick Wagner at 570-602-0178 or on Twitter @Dispatch_Nick