ONEIDA – What a season it has been for Lauren Skibitski.
The Oneida senior notched her 100th victory on Sept. 18, and Thursday teamed up with sophomore Sydney Lusher to claim her third straight sectional championship in Division 2 doubles. Skibitski and Lusher joined several others who were crowned sectional champions at Oneida High School’s tennis courts.
“It’s definitely something I’ve been looking forward to,” Skibitski said of claiming another sectional title. “To come back and win this three years in a row is a nice accomplishment.”
Claiming singles titles in Thursday’s unforgiving brisk conditions were Notre Dame’s Ellen Lyga (Division 4), Jamesville-DeWitt’s Tara Pollock (Division 2) and Fayetteville-Manlius’ Katerina Atallah (Division 1).
Joining Skibitski and Lusher as doubles champions were West Genesee’s Mikayla Mannara and Katie Viau (Division 1) and Watertown IHC’s Georgia and Josie Barton (Division 4).
There is consolation for the runner-ups as every sectional semifinalist from all four divisions – 16 players in singles and 16 teams in doubles – will compete in the state qualifier next Tuesday at Drumlins. The finals will be held Thursday with the top three finishers in each draw at moving on to the state tournament.
Lusher and Skibitiski defeated Tri Valley League rivals Kylie Cleary and Karlie Cubino from Whitesboro 6-3, 6-2. Skibitiski teamed with Bri Laureti to win the title the two previous seasons, before finishing third in the inter-class tournament to advance to states.
Skibitski hopes to improve her finish and make a return trip to states. Her chemistry with Lusher could help the team challenge next week.
“We jell pretty well,” Skibitski said. “We are very similar in our mannerisms and it’s pretty easy to play with Sydney.”
Lusher, who also plays with Skibitiski on Oneida’s basketball and softball teams, sees there close friendship as the key to their success as a doubles unit.
“We just are good communicating and not getting down on each other,” Lusher said. “We go out and work hard.”
For the third straight season, Ellen Lyga defeated younger sister Emily in the Division 4 final. It’s a strange dynamic for the siblings, but they are getting more used to playing each other in big matches. Both sisters had another challenge Thursday as cold temps, high winds and occasional drizzle made it a mental match.
Each had their moments, but Ellen, a junior, was just a bit better than her freshman sister in earning a 6-3, 6-2 win.
“The wind was horrible,” Ellen Lyga said. “I have to take into account the speed and direction of the wind. I’ve played in this kind of wind before and knew the tactics I should use.”
Winning a third straight title is an incredible accomplishment, but Ellen has more goals this season.
“I’ve finished fourth at inter-class and the top three make it to states,” Lyga said. “So, that’s my main goal now. My goals were to go undefeated and to make it to states … I’m halfway there.”
The Jugglers also featured a doubles team in the D4 finals as Sam Fluty and Caitlyn Snyder were defeated by Watertown IHC’s Georgia and Josie Barton 6-4, 6-0. It was a tough loss for the Notre Dame duo as they just defeated the Barton’s in a tight match last week.
New Hartford freshman Grace LaFountain was defeated by Pollock 6-2, 6-4 in the Division 2 singles final. LaFountain is proud of her season and looks forward to competing next week.
“Taking everything into account with the conditions, I’m happy with the way I played,” LaFountain said. “Last year I didn’t make it this far and this year I’ve made it to states (qualifier), so I’m really excited for this.”
In Division 1 singles, Fayetteville-Manlius’ Katerina Atallah defeated teammate Anna Manta 6-3, 6-2. In the D1 doubles, West Genesee’s Mikayla Mannara and Katie Viau got over the hump by downing F-M’s Rachel Liu and Keara Polovick 6-4, 6-2.
Note: The Division 3 singles and doubles were played at a different site.
Here’s who advanced to the Inter-Class finals next week at Drumlins:
Division 1 Singles: Anna Manta (F-M); Katerina Atallah (F-M); Phoebe Wang (F-M); Brooke Tutor (Baldwinsville).
Division 1 Doubles: Mannara-Viau (WG); Liu-Polovick (F-M); Drapeau-Wojtasiewicz (F-M), Ahn-Welker (F-M).
Division 2 Singles: Tara Pollock (J-D); Grace LaFountian (NH); Alexis Cruz (IR); Brooke DiFlorio (Chitt).
Division 2 Doubles: Skibitski-Lusher (Oneida); Cleary-Cubino (Wboro); Burhans-Han (Homer); DeHoog-Gajra (J-D).
Division 3 Singles: Giselle Vlassis (CBA); Alex Galle (Caz); Grace Glowaki (CBA); Laura Connor (Caz).
Division 3 Doubles: Coyne-DelPino (CBA); Danforth-Miller (Skan); Kilmartin-Mead (CBA); Catalano-Mills (CBA).
Division 4 Singles: Ellen Lyga (ND); Emily Lyga (ND); Armeet Aujla (IHC); Parmees Fazeli (MPH).
Division 4 Doubles: Fluty-Snyder (ND); Barton-Barton (IHC); Benedict-Erwin (MPH); Alteri-VanWormer (IHC).