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Albion netters enjoy title season

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 24 May 2015 at 12:00 am

Contributed Photo – Members of the Niagara-Orleans League champion Albion tennis team include, in the front row,  Mikayla Yaskulski, Sarah Kuehne, Clara Stilwell, Alyce Miller, Kellie O’Hearn, Monica Benjovsky, Carly Fox. In the second row Matthew Flanagan, Dylan Bader, Nate Smith, Victor Benjovsky, Josh Metzler, Matthew Kovaleski In the third row Shannon Broda, Logan London, Nita Bela, Catherine Thom, Hailey Bader, Emilie Barleben, Cristal Quintana. In the back row Kyle Thaine, Freeman Lattin, Daniel Beam, Michael Alello, Michael Stilwell, Kyler McQuillan, Dyer Benjosky, Coach Jay Kovaleski. Missing from the photo is Abby Wells.

Bolstered by the return of a veteran lineup, the Albion High tennis team captured the Niagara-Orleans League tennis championship this season to end an 11 year title drought.

The Purple Eagles compiled a 9-3 record to win a close five-way battle and claim the championship. Defending champ Medina and Akron both finished just one match back at 8-4 while Barker and Wilson both finished at 7-5.

Down the stretch, Albion scored a narrow 3-2 1/2 victory over Medina to take the league lead for good.

“The team really played as a team this year,” said Albion Coach Jay Kovaleski. “They really pulled together and were always very supportive of each other. It was a very competitive league this year and they played some very tough matches. They pulled out some three setters and that helped make them mentally tough.”

The trio of senior Dyer Benjovsky, junior Josh Metzler and junior Daniel Beam manned the three singles spots for Albion.

The Purple Eagles lineup also had seniors Monica Benjovsky and Kyler McQuillan at first doubles, seniors Cristal Quintana and Michael Stilwell at second doubles and junior Dylan Bader and eighth grader Matt Kovaleski at third doubles.

“Winning was awesome and winning the title was great but just watching these kids play and pull it together and improve, that’s everything to a coach,” said Kovaleski.

The Purple Eagles roster also includes seniors Nita Bela, Logan London and Kellie O’Hearn; juniors Mike Alello, Matt Flanagan, Kyle Thaine, Sarah Kuehne, Alyce Miller, Abby Wells and Mikayla Yaskulski; sophomores Freeman Lattin, Emilie Barleben, Shannon Broda, Carly Fox, Clara Stilwell and Catherine Thom; and freshmen Victor Benjovsky, Nate Smith and Hailey Bader.