Wallenpaupack Area's varsity squad traveled to Western Wayne and defeated the Lady 'Cats, 4-1.

The Wallenpaupack Area girls tennis team kicked off its regular season Tuesday with a trip to Western Wayne.

The Lady Bucks, with only three full days of practice, a new coach, and a crop of new ladies competing at the varsity level, what would become of the day was a bit of a mystery.

For the Western Wayne, a small squad has experience and skill with juniors dominating the roster.

"I have a lot of confidence in our team this year," said Lady 'Cat Coach Ellin O'Hora.

"But, the team members still need to find confidence in themselves."

Leading the way for Western Wayne are juniors Leanna O'Hora, Sarah Gardener, and Erica Sullivan.

Ranked first, second, and third in singles, respectively, they'll be setting the pace for the Lady 'Cats on the court.

Admittedly, coaching her own daughter has its ups and downs, O'Hora related.

"She started playing at a young age and when she was a freshman she wanted to run cross-country. That broke my heart. She ran and played tennis for two years, but this year she is just playing tennis.

"Gardner and Sullivan have good ability as well. Our doubles teams are getting familiar with each other and we're looking forward to a successful season."

While Western Wayne possesses players who've done time on the varsity court and have a coach familiar with the team, the exact opposite can be said about Paupack.

In the case of the Lady Bucks, 12 members of the team graduated in the spring. In addition, boys' Coach Jim Ball has taken over the reins from Lisa Fives.

"We have four seniors," said Ball. "Essentially we've taken our entire JV squad from last year and moved them up to varsity."

While the JV ladies did go undefeated in 2012, and many of them rose through the ranks beginning with the junior high school programs, the bump some of the girls got is somewhat unheard of.

Add into the mix that they have new coach with a different style and one would think this might be a ship headed towards an iceberg.

Not so much the case.

On the Court

The Lady Bucks dominated the afternoon taking two-of-three singles matches and both double matches for a 4-1 victory over the Wildcats.

While first seed Junior Stephanie Roa dropped her match to O'Hora in two sets, two seed sophomore Irene Gendelman beat Gardener in two sets, and number three, freshman Kristen Denniston went three sets against Sullivan for a win as well.

In doubles play, senior Savannah Brunette and Junior Alica Brindle trounced the duo of Kayla Evans and Kellyn Kammer while seniors Olivia Clause and Kristen Benesz downed Faith Cavage and Hayley Salek in two sets each.

Brunette, a veteran to the varsity squad and her partner Brindle are, for the moment, the top ranked doubles pair, but all that could change.

"There's so much that's changed this year," said Brunette. "We had 12 seniors last year. They were all good players so they got a lot more play.

"With less seniors this year we really looked at everyone by ability level. Ranks may change, pairs may shift around or even break up. We could each be playing as singles by the middle of the season."

The girls also note the difference they see in the team with Ball as head coach. Prior to their first game, the Buckhorns essentially had only dedicated two days to drills and instruction.

Here, they say, Ball focused on strategy, shot placement, and understanding the reasons why certain moves are chosen over others.

Another day they were rained out and the remaining three were spent just trying to sort out who was going to play where.

Ball is energetic with the players and enthusiastic about the program.

"These girls are very coachable and absorb material well," he said.

"They are calm, polite, and nice to work with. We've only had a few days to get things going and we're already starting to mesh."

Off to a good start with a solid win and with confidence growing among coaches and players alike, it's quite possible Paupack's ladies will once more have a successful season ... thus proving that the more things change, the more they stay the same.