First Posted: 10/9/2014
Madison Nardone did not play tennis until eighth grade.
Once she started, it was time to stop all other sports.
The Shavertown resident used her dedication to tennis to produce a strong high school career in the sport.
Nardone recently completed her third straight unbeaten Wyoming Valley Conference season as a singles player at Wyoming Seminary. With the postseason underway, the senior worked her way through to the District 2 Class AA semifinals in both singles and doubles before being eliminated and is a major part of the Blue Knights’ team hopes as the third seed in a six-team field.
“I started playing tennis in eighth grade, which is kind of late for tennis,” Nardone said. “But, I’ve been playing year-round since.”
Nardone progressed quickly in the sport, making Wyoming Seminary’s strong lineup as the number-three singles player as a freshman. She remained in that spot while going unbeaten in the WVC as a sophomore, then maintained that perfect record while bumping up to number-two singles last year and number-one this year.
“I play a lot of tournaments in the summer and I play all through the year,” said Nardone, who gets a lot of her playing time on the indoor courts at Birchwood Racquet Club in Clarks Summit.
Nardone made it through to the semifinals in doubles each of the past three years and in singles during the last two.
Jacqui Meuser, a junior who is also a Shavertown resident, joined Nardone to form a doubles team that was dominant during Tuesday’s action at Kirby Park. They made it through three rounds to reach Wednesday’s semifinals, losing just four games in six sets and winning the second set of all three matches, 6-0.
This success came despite the fact that they concentrate on singles play during the regular season. Nardone, who has never won a doubles tournament, had not competed in a doubles match since last year’s district tournament.
“We talked a little bit about getting our serves in, about placement, hitting our shots and being more aggressive, especially at the net, but also it did come naturally,” Nardone said of how the team clicked quickly.
Nardone and Meuser controlled the first set of the semifinal but lost two straight close sets and were eliminated by Scranton Prep’s Gabriela Jakubek and Maansi Malholtra, 1-6, 7-5, 6-4, Wednesday.
Meuser, who played number-two singles for Wyoming Seminary this year, also has not lost a singles match in conference play. She filled in occasionally at singles but was primarily a doubles player as a freshman, then held the number-three singles spot throughout last season before moving up to number-two this season.
“We communicated between points,” Meuser said of competing with Nardone in doubles. “If one of us makes an error, we try to correct it so we don’t do it again.
“It was not tough at all. We’re very close, so neither of us get offended by critiquing each other.”
Nardone and Meuser could be playing more singles matches for an anticipated Tuesday rematch with Scranton Prep in the District 2 Class AA team tournament. Wyoming Seminary just needed to get through Thursday’s scheduled home match with sixth-seeded Honesdale to make it to the semifinals.
Grace Schaub and Kajal Patal, of Dallas, went into the tournament as the fourth seed in doubles and won two matches before losing to Holy Redeemer’s Meghan McGraw-Natalie Coffee, 6-4, 6-0, in Tuesday’s quarterfinals.
The Dallas team of Caitlin Landau-Mandy Ross was eliminated in the first round.
Both Dallas players lost their first matches in the District 2 Class AA singles tournament Oct. 2 at Kirby Park.
Schaub, who went into the tournament as the eighth seed, was knocked off by MMI Prep’s Jessica Smith, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2.
Patel fell to Kathleen Fricke of Holy Cross, 6-3, 6-1.
Dallas went 9-4 to finish fourth of nine teams in the Class AA Division of the WVC, missing the district team tournament by one spot.