By CHRIS BROOKS, sports editor, wellsvillesports.com
LIVONIA — The long wait for Sectional glory had finally reached its end. In Livonia, the party was on for Wellsville.
For the first time in eight years, the Lions’ girls tennis team has found their way back to the top of the Section V mountain. After what has been one of their most dominant campaigns in program history, it would morph into a long-awaited Section V, Class B2 Championship to give head coach Bill Stives the fourth of his career, and his first since last Spring with the boys tennis team, as the ladies rolled past Alfred-Almond with a 4-1 victory to claim the grand prize.
The championship was highlighted by perhaps one of the most exciting, back-and-forth matches of the season for the Lions (14-0) with Samantha Bidzerkowny and Alfred-Almond’s Candy Zhou giving it every little thing that they had to give in their incredible first singles battle.
All three sets between the two competitors would reach tie-breaking scenarios, with Zhou locking on to the first set victory by a hard-fought 7-6 decision before Bidzerkowny came right back with a 7-5 win of her own to set up a third and final set that would prove to be one for the ages.
While delivering back-and-forth points across the net to one another, the stockpile continued to rise until Bidzerkowny was able to come away with the victorious edge she needed to give Wellsville the win, outlasting Zhou one final time with an epic 10-7 victory.
The championship started with a win by the second doubles team of Kelsey Seely and McKenna Wonderling were dominant, as they posted a 6-2, 6-1 win over Mariam Eleshaky and Rose Schreiber to finish off the victory.
Wellsville went up 2-0 when Meagan Riley continued her outstanding season in the singles department, riding the wave of the doubles team towards triumph with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Jennifer Bensley.
Alfred-Almond then made things interesting when the Eagles (12-2) earned a win by Sophia Symeslatini at third singles, as she worked her way past Wellsville’s Sarah Mattison after a first-set tiebreak turned into an eventual 7-5, 6-3 victory.
Alfred-Almond had a commanding lead at first singles, and it looked like the championship would be tied at 2-2.
The pressure was on for the first doubles team team of Caitlin Bittel and Hanna Miles giving everything they had against Alfred-Almond’s Beatrice Beaudry and Anna Yarnal.
After two, it was tied, as Bittel and Miles won the first, 6-2 and dropped the second, 4-6.
The two Lady Lions would work their way through a tough third set to win and claim the 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 win.
The celebration was on, as Wellsville was up 3-1.
However, Bidzerkowny, playing with everyone else done, completed the epic comeback and the 10-7 win for an overall 4-1 win for Wellsville.
Next up for the Lions is the Class B State Qualifier match coming up on Monday, as they now get set to square off with Class B1 Champion Honeoye Falls-Lima, who had defeated runner-up Geneva by a 5-0 count to capture their prize earlier in the day.
First serve between the Lady Cougars and Lady Lions will be set for a 6 p.m. start at a neutral site to be determined.
1. Samantha Bidzerkowny (WLSV) def. Candy Zhou (A-A), 6-7, 7-5, 10-7.
2. Meagan Riley (WLSV) def. Jennifer Bensley (A-A), 6-3, 6-2.
3. Sophia Symeslatini (A-A) def. Sarah Mattison (WLSV), 7-5, 6-3.
1. Caitlin Bittel/Hanna Miles (WLSV) def. Beatrice Beaudry/Anna Yarnal (A-A), 6-2, 4-6, 6-2.
2. Kelsey Seely/McKenna Wonderling (WLSV) def. Mariam Eleshaky/Rose Schreiber (A-A), 6-2, 6-1.
Photo gallery courtesy Wellsville tennis parents!