HS TENNIS PREVIEW: New faces ready to shine in the Lackawanna League

Aug. 21—After four years of singles and doubles achievements on a state and district level, the Lackawanna League resets for the 2022 fall season with some new faces leading the list of all-star players.

It seems, however, that more high-level success is on the way.

Scranton Prep and Abington Heights, as is usually the case, return with deep and talented rosters. There are also several All-Region and all-star players coming back.

Riverside graduate Karissa Ghigiarelli and Abington Heights graduate Bella Peters moved on to college after compiling remarkable four-year careers where they each won their respective district tournament titles four times.

That opens the door for the newest rising star, Alyssa Wigley of Scranton Prep.

Last season, as a freshman, Wigley finished 15-1 overall at No. 1 singles, with her only loss coming to Ghigiarelli. She earned a spot on the All-Region team after reaching the semifinals of the singles and doubles with teammate Annie Johnson.

This summer, Wigley won the Women's A Division title at the Scranton Tennis Club and is a two-star recruit according to

"This year, I am honestly so excited, especially because last year was my first year and I was a little bit nervous," Wigley said. "Now I have had that experience of playing and I know the routine. I have very high hopes for this season. We have a phenomenal team, with great players who have been training and working hard every single day."

Wigley tops a very strong starting lineup for the Classics, who are the slight favorites to win the league title over Abington Heights.

"I really improved my training a lot," Wigley said. "I ran a lot and really started working out, weight lifting and doing cardio to build up my conditioning, which has improved my game. I am moving around the court a lot better and I feel a lot more sturdy and consistent."

Leelah Farrell controlled matches at No. 3 singles last season. She finished with a record of 12-1 in the league and earned a spot on the Lackawanna League Coaches Class 2A all-star team.

Johnson went 9-4 in the league last season at No. 2 singles, while Gisele Falzone, a former No. 1 singles player at Holy Cross who earned All-Region status as a sophomore, returns after spending a season playing doubles for the Classics.

Scranton Prep also returns Paige Davis, Ella Cohen and Grace Devine, who all have doubles experience.

Abington Heights, which is the defending league and District 2 Class 3A champion, also returns a strong lineup.

Rina Hanumali earned All-Region honors after having a record of 17-1 at No. 2 singles. Hanumali has a 36-4 career record after losing to teammate Peters in the district finals last season.

"I am extremely excited to be playing for our school," Hamumali said. "This season, with it being my last year, I am really looking forward to it. We have several new girls on the team and I am excited to see how we come together.

"I am really happy with how far I have come. I have done a lot of practicing and working on my game. I have to keep playing to my strengths and I am proud of how far I have come."

Last season, Susan Arp had a strong debut as a freshman at No. 3 singles for the Lady Comets. She was also named to the All-Region team after posting a record of 13-1 overall and going undefeated in the league season.

"I feel good, because I have been working hard all summer," Arp said. "I have been working on playing a lot of good matches and better competition in tournaments, this summer.

"We are going to have a pretty good team. We are going to be deep and can't wait for the season."

Abington Heights' Faith Bennett, Hanna Adonizio and Bernadine Mullin also return.

West Scranton returns its top two singles players. Gabrielle Chantiloupe is a returning All-Region player who had a record of 13-5 at No. 1 singles and reached the District 2 Class 3A semifinals.

Mia Butka, who went 11-3 in the league at No. 3 singles, also returns for the Lady Invaders, who reached the District 2 Class 3A semifinals.

"I expect us to do well," West Scranton coach Devinne Scott said. "We do have some good players returning. The girls have been coming to our summer workouts and have been doing a really good job. I am really proud of them."

Riverside is rebuilding under the guidance of first-year coach Mia Capalongo. The Lady Vikes had Ghigiarelli, who won a silver medal in the PIAA Class 2A tournament, and Madeline DeFaber-Schumacher, who was a PIAA bronze medal winner in doubles with Bella Aniska, both graduate.

Aniska returns as a two-time All-Region selection. She had a record of 13-3 and a career record of 38-11 at No. 3 singles and will likely move up the ladder to No. 1 this fall.

"There are a lot of new girls on the team this year and I feel like they are looking up to me like I looked up to Karissa and Madeline the last two years," Aniska said. "I am very excited about my senior year, especially knowing where I began and wanting to see how far I have come. I am also excited to see how far this takes me. I do have some colleges showing some interest, and that is exciting, too.

"I have really worked on a lot of different movements on the court and on my serve."

Wallenpaupack's Erika Badner is also a returning Lackawanna League Class 3A all-star. She had a record of 7-4 in the league and reached the District 2 Class 3A semifinals last season.

North Pocono, which reached the District 2 Class 3A finals last season and moves down to Class 2A, returns starters Nora Pencek and Ella Salak.

Scranton is a team to watch. The Lady Knights return Maia Philbin, who finished 7-6 at No. 1 singles, Julie Bergman and Tejshree Patel to the starting lineup.

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