East’s Gibbs wins first ECIC girls tennis title
After losing in the ECIC Singles girls tennis final last year, Brianna Gibbs was determined to make sure she won in 2012.
The Williamsville East eighth-grader did just that, defeating East Aurora’s Alana Danieu, 6-1, 7-5, in the final Saturday at the Village Glen.
“I’m happy that I won it this year,” Gibbs said. “Last year, I thought I could have played better and I wanted this year to be the year that I won.”
Gibbs credits a harder training regimen at the Miller Tennis Center that helped give her the edge this year.
“I worked on a lot of places where I saw flaws in my game, like my backhand, that were making me miss a lot more,” Gibbs said.
Gibbs fought threw some fatigue heading into the finals due to a tough win in the semifinals over Orchard Park’s Hayley Hollins, 6-4, 6-4.
“The first match of the day was very difficult for me,” Gibbs said. “We only had 20 minutes in between matches to rest, so I was pretty tired. In the first set [of finals], I was making every ball and in the second set, I started missing a little bit more.”
It was Gibbs’ first ever win over Hollins, dating back to outside tournaments.
“I really felt like I could win so I stayed positive and pulled it out,” she said.
Gibbs won her first two matches against East Aurora’s Anne Conron and Williamsville East’s Amy Xiao, by 6-0, 6-0 scores.
Gibbs will have a chance to win her first Section VI title next Friday and Saturday at the Lakwood YMCA in Jamestown. She took runner-up last year.
Xiao ended up taking seventh and qualifying for sectionals after beating Lancaster’s Taylor Thormahlen in playbacks.
Xiao won her first two matches against Frontier’s Noelle Ortiz, 7-5, 6-0, and Alden’s Alyson Sylvester, 6-7, 6-4, 6-3.
Hayley-Hofmar-Glennon beat Depew’s Gillian Wittig, 6-1, 6-1, to secure the fifth spot for sectionals.
“She played solid from start to finish, cutting down on double faults,” Amherst coach Paul Biddle said. “There were plenty of balls that Gillian made Hayley run after and she did a great job by getting to almost all of them.”
Hofmar-Glennon had a first round bye in the tournament before beating Williamsville North’s Shruti Bidani, 6-1, 7-5.
In the third round, Hofmar-Glennon fell to Orchard Park’s Haley Hollins, 0-6, 0-6.
She rebounded with a 6-1, 7-5 victory over Thromahlen.
“This match was filled with unforced errors and plenty of double faults,” Biddle said. “When Hayley double faults, you can almost certainly count on them coming in bunches. However, she was down 1-5 in the second set before reeling off six straight games. We spoke at a changeover about the old coaching cliché of “taking it one game at a time” and that is exactly what she did.”
Amherst’s other representative, Rachel Lackner, won her opening round match over West Seneca East’s Kaitlyn Kraebel, 6-2, 6-4, but then lost to Wittig, 7-6, 6-7 (7-2), 4-6, in a 3½ hour match.
Lackner trailed 2-5 in the first set and 1-4 in the second and third sets, but battled back hard in each set.
“The rallies were long and each player played smart tennis,” Biddle said. “Despite the loss I am extremely proud of Rachel for playing her hardest and being a great player/teammate.”
Bidani, the team’s second singles player, beat Sweet Home’s first singles player, Sanja Stanar, 6-2, 6-3, in the first round. Bidani trailed Stanar 3-0 in the second set but won the next six games to win the match.
“It was a testament to her level headedness,” North coach Hilary Machemer said.
Senior Christine Toufexis and freshman Melissa Helm will compete in the ECIC Doubles Tournament Saturday at the Village Glen.
In her ECICs debut, South freshman Cassie Special lost to Clarence’s Kayla Kendziora, 0-6, 7-6, 4-6, in the first round.
“This was a nice showing for Special,” South coach Paul Gennuso said. “I only expect her play to get stronger next year and begin to compete for spots in the sectionals for the next three years.”
Tori Gosy and Catherine Simonian will compete in the ECIC Doubles Tournament.