Falcons compete in D-11 singles
Salisbury sophomore Mackenzie Hankee has only been playing tennis for two seasons. But she continues to impress head coach Rob Benson on the court.
Most recently it was her performance during the District 11 Class 2A singles tournament. Despite coming up short against Notre Dame’s top player Keiran Lencheski (6-2, 6-1), Benson continued to see improvement from his second-year player.
“Mack, who plays at No. 3 singles for us, played the No. 1 player from Notre Dame (Green Pond),” Benson said. “My girls have been known for playing hard and never quitting. And that’s what they did. Mack is just tough. She’s not going to give up to anybody.”
Hankee was one of three Lady Falcons who had successful showings at Lehigh University during the first day of competition. Paige Gibbons, Salisbury’s No. 2 singles player, was tasked with the No. 2 overall seed in the tournament in her first match. While also falling short to Bethlehem Catholic’s Cara Magliochetti, 6-3, 7-5, she surprised a number of people.
Salisbury’s top singles player Bryn Kubinsky, who was seeded No. 6 in the field, won two matches before bowing out against No. 3 Julia Hernandez of Saucon Valley (6-2, 6-1). Kubinsky disposed of Jim Thorpe’s Trista Gehris and Pen Argyl’s Jaclyn Henrikson in the first two rounds before falling to the eventual runner-up Hernandez.
When it comes to Hankee, though, Benson has seen a will to compete all season.
“She’s played two years now,” Benson said. “She has a purpose to her game. We’re still trying to develop a weapon, but she’s gotten more depth on her shots and more speed. She’s getting all of that. We just have to work on the serve.”
All three singles players will return next season, as will most of its doubles teams. The only graduate will be Bethany Hnatow, who is one half of the Lady Falcons’ No. 1 doubles tandem.
Benson expects to have a number of Lady Falcons compete in next week’s district doubles tournament as well.
“Krista [Bonge] has been outstanding in the doubles,” Benson said. “She and Bethany have done well all year. Bethany is a senior so I’ll lose her next year…It will be interesting to see between Maisie [Leidich] and Marcie [Silberman] who really steps up over the summer.”
Moravian Academy’s Isabella Bartolacci, the No. 1 seed in the tournament, won the title by winning all five of her matches. She dropped the first set against Hernandez in the finals before escaping with the win in three sets (3-6, 6-2, 6-2).
The Lady Falcons also competed in the district team duals that began this week. Results from their opening-round match against were not available at time of press.