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Five Orchard Park girls heading to states

By virtue of their results in the recent Section VI High School Tennis Championships, five members of the Orchard Park tennis team, two players from Southwestern, and one player each from Fredonia and Clarence have advanced to the State Championships in Latham (near Albany) Friday through Sunday.

The members of the team are as follows:

Singles No. 1: Haley Hollins, Orchard Park; No. 2: Georgianna Gens, Fredonia; No. 3: Nicole Kozinski, Clarence.

Doubles No. 1: Victoria Van Every/Elizabeth Rowan, Southwestern; No. 2: Lauren Karoglan/Kristen Zablonski, Orchard Park; No. 3: Rachel Johnson/Shayleen Brennan, Orchard Park.

The five Orchard Park girls were also an integral part of the squad that won the ECIC I title this year. It was Orchard Park’s 11th straight championship, including a tie with Clarence in 2004.

From 2005 to 2014 the team’s league record is a mind-boggling 120-0 under legendary 14-year coach Sandy Trampert.

The rapport between the team and their coach is outstanding and is one of the main reasons for the team’s success. A brief bio on each of the Orchard Park players and their roles on the team follows:

Haley Hollins, No. 1 Singles, age 17. In addition to going undefeated in 10 ECIC Division I matches, Hollins’ game went to another level in Sectionals.

She won all four of her matches and rarely lost a set, let alone a game. Her focus and concentration were outstanding throughout the tournament. The only trouble she had was in the finals when she was up 4-2 in the second set and missed a few shots. She quickly regained her composure and won, 6-2, 6-3. She is looking forward to playing college tennis next year.

Rachel Johnson, No. 2 Singles, 17. When Johnson was in 7th grade she was one of the best tennis players locally in her age group. She felt she needed a change and started playing basketball and softball. About two years ago she started to get the urge to play again and joined the tennis team.

“I never realized how much I missed playing,” Johnson said. “It’s been so much fun and all the team members get along great.”

Shayleen Brennan, No. 3 Singles, 17. To show how strong the Orchard Park team is, Brennan was No. 1 singles last year. She also plays varsity lacrosse. For her slight build, she hits the ball hard.

“I love the team aspect that we have,” she said. “We all work together and we have full support of the parents, team members and coaches.”

Lauren Karoglan: No. 1 Doubles, 14. Lauren’s progress in the past two years has been remarkable. She gives much of the credit for her success to Coach Trampert and local pros Mike Manzella, Dan and Brian Johnson.

“I am playing much steadier and more consistent,” Karoglan said. “I hope to play even better next year.”

Kristen Zablonski, No. 1 Doubles, 15. Kristen, who also plays basketball, said, “Playing on this team is so much fun. Everyone gets along so well together. Mrs. Trampert has such a passion for the game that she makes us all better players who want to compete on a high level.”

“I can’t believe that I have been coaching for 41 years at Orchard Park, including the women’s tennis team for the past 14,” Trampert said.

She credits the success of the team to the fact that her players work cohesively together.

“We are so fortunate and grateful to our parents who have taken such a role in taking their daughters to the many fine programs that we play against,” Trampert said. “Our parents are excellent role models for their daughters, which results in a great spirit of team play and sportsmanship.

Trampert stresses that in addition to ECIC play she likes to have her team travel to different venues, such as Nichols in Buffalo and McDowell in Erie, Pa. She feels that top levels of competition keeps her team sharp and focused.

“I am also a strong advocate of having everyone who comes out for tennis, regardless of their level of play, remain as a part of a team, Trampert said. “I feel that it builds great team morale and creates incentive to all players to improve and enjoy their tennis.”