It isn't just a steady diet of service points and baseline winners that makes the doubles team of Emma Manuel and Justine Rusk of Williamsville East so tough on the tennis court.
Moments after winning the Section VI title in first doubles, Rusk revealed how her team stays hungry. "What makes us different than any other doubles team is we really have fun. We just make each other laugh. Between points we talk about our favorite donuts," said Rusk. "I know every Tim Horton's. That's how I tell directions."
Manuel and Rusk had plenty of fun on Saturday at the Village Glen. They defeated Kelly MaTthews and Maddie Robinson of Williamsville North, 6-3, 6-2 in the final. In the semifinals they needed three games to oust another North duo: Andrea Lovrincevic and Jackie Mistretta, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.
Williamsville East turned the Section VI tournament into its own center court.
The first singles final featured Flames teammates Olga Khmylev and Miranda Podlas. In what was her toughest match of the season, Khmylev won, 7-5, 6-4, to repeat as section champion. Last weekend, Khmylev beat Podlas in the ECIC final.
"The last time [ECICs] I served out of my mind, and it's hard to keep that up," said Khmylev, who will continue her career at Boston College. "I think my serving percentage dropped a little bit, but she was definitely kept more balls in the court. I really had to perform well."
In the first game the players kept holding serve before Khmylev forced a break. The second game featured plenty of long rallies, but Khmylev prevailed.
The sectionals were also a qualifier for the New York State Championships Nov. 8-10 at the Eastside Racquet Club in Syracuse. Representing the Section in singles will be Khmylev, Podlas and Caroline Bristol of Orchard Park. Bristol eliminated Franzi Wohlfarth of Frontier to advance. Khmylev was the public school state runnerup last year. Podlas and Bristol went in doubles.
Earning the three spots in doubles were Manuel-Rusk, Lovrincevic-Mistretta and Matthews-Robinson of Williamsville North.