AHS girls tennis team wins Foothills Council league title

Someone will need to make some room on the walls of the AHS gymnasium for more banners now that the school plays in a new league. It didn’t take long. Friday afternoon at the Amsterdam High School tennis courts, the AHS Lady Rams tennis team defeated Scotia-Glenville 6-1 to secure the school’s first team title in the Foothills Council.

“It’s exciting,” AHS coach Maura Dargush said. “Switching leagues from the Big Ten to the Foothills Council we didn’t know what to expect. We set a goal going into the season of continuing a tradition. The girls worked hard for it all season.”

Amsterdam got straight set wins from Arizona Santiago, Caitlin Gannon, and Ella Dybas in singles play. Santiago bested Lindsay Dieterich 6-1, 6-1, and Gannon topped Abby August 6-1, 6-1 as well. Both Dybas and Audrey Flint however had matches with different results from the first time the two teams met.

Audrey Flint dropped her match to Elizabeth Esker when Amsterdam visited the Lady Tartans earlier this month (AHS won 5-2). Flint won the first set on Friday 6-3 in a match where she kept her opponent on the run while she wasn’t being too aggressive.

“Audrey has been playing really good and being a lot more patient,” said Dargush. “She’s been hitting more open shots.”

Flint kept her opponent moving around the court while she let the good shots come to her. Her patience paid off after dropping the second set 5-7, Flint earned the win with a 10-4 decision in the third set tie break. Flint’s teammate Ella Dybas also had a different result in her match against Caitlin Estes.

Dybas was taken to three sets before winning the crucial third set the last time she faced her opponent. Tuesday’s match wasn’t nearly as long with Dybas taking the win in straight sets 6-1, 6-4. Dybas’ ground strokes, consistent serve, and mental toughness made a difference.

“When Ella was down 3-4 in the second set she kept playing hard,” Dargush said. “She didn’t get down on herself and she pulled through.”

Kristie Kaczmarek lost in straight sets to Sam Montague when they first played. Friday’s match started dramatically different. Kaczmarek’s practice on getting her first serve in paid off and she took the first set 6-1. Kaczmarek consistently hit high arcing lobs to the baseline trying to nullify her opponents best shot.

“Sam (Montague) has a slice we haven’t seen before,” Dargush said. “We started out with a game plan and Kristie’s been practicing to hit the slice more.”

Montague led 5-2 in the second set before Kacmarek rallied behind her strategy and ability to track down and return any shot on the court. Kaczmarek closed the gap to 5-4 before Montague won the second set and then won the third 6-2. Kaczmarek’s teammates intently watched the match and were cheering for her all the way.

“Kristie works hard,” Dargush said.

The AHS doubles teams were also victorious. Tessa Filberto and Gabby DiSalvi defeated Alyssa Salomone and Laura Ciotoli 6-2, 3-6, 6-2. Molly Monge and Prabha Singh won over Victoria Carringi and Sam Rizzo 6-2, 3-6, 6-2.

The Lady Rams will be in action Saturday at the Foothills Council tournament. They travel to Johnstown on Monday and return home Wednesday to face Grenwich. Wednesday night will also be Senior night for many of the Lady Rams including Kaczmarek, Dybas, Gannon and Flint. AHS will then be looking forward to yet another trip to sectionals.

Scott Mulford

Scott Mulford has been covering local sports for over 20 years. He previously wrote for the Amsterdam Star and The Free Press of the Mohawk Valley.