DuBOIS — The St. Marys tennis program seems to keep producing star after star, and another young star wrote another chapter in the books of St. Marys tennis history on Tuesday afternoon.
Lady Dutch freshman Samantha Hayes went through the whole District 9 Class AA Singles Championships without dropping a game, with it culminating on Tuesday with a 6-0, 6-0 win over Punxsutawney’s Abby Gigliotti at DuBois Area High School.
“I think Sam’s consistency was enough to weather the storm,” said St. Marys coach David Lion. “You didn’t really know what was going to be left after yesterday. Sam did what she needed to do, I think. She was willing to chase down whatever and be out there for as long as she needed to.
“I’m very, very proud of her. She just leaves it on the court no matter what, whether it’s practice or the district final.”
St. Marys now has the last five consecutive district champions, and six of the last seven championships. Amy Orr won the singles title in 2011, while Aubrey Wiesner was the 2013 champion. Sarah Casey was a three-time champion from 2014-16 before passing over the torch to Hayes.
Tournament official Mike Sciabica is the usual presenter of medals in the District 9 Championships. After giving Gigliotti her silver medal for second place, he gave Hayes’ medal to her mother, Erica (Posteraro) Hayes to present to Samantha. Erica won the District 9 Singles Championship in the late 90s out of St. Marys High School.
Hayes started out the tournament on Monday with a bye in the first round before blanking Punxsy’s Alex Campbell, 10-0, in the quarterfinals. She then beat Jenna Minard of Elk County Catholic in the semifinals, 6-0, 6-0.
Gigliotti, a sophomore at Punxsy, got to the Tuesday championship match with a first round 10-1 win over Clearfield’s Allyson Gaines. She then defeated Elk County Catholic’s Emily Miller, 10-5, in the quarters before getting a three-set win over Brockway’s Gabby Sabatose, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the semifinals.
As for the match itself, Hayes seemed ready from the get-go, seemingly returning every shot that Gigliotti had to offer.
The freshman earned her first break of the match in the first game, and also earned breaks in the third and fifth game on her way to the 6-0 first set win. Even though Gigliotti had a few blistering serves, Hayes was prepared to return everything.
It was more of the same in the second set as Hayes earned breaks in the first, third, and fifth games while holding serve in the second, fourth and sixth games on her way to the two-set win for the championship.
“She did what she needed to do. She did it all,” said Lion. “When she was pressed, she stepped up to the plate there, too. If Abby got a good serve in, she returned it. I have to give her kudos because she did awesome all year.”
The PIAA Tennis Championships will be held on Nov. 3-4 from the Hershey Racquet Club. Hayes will take on the District 4 champion in the first round on Nov. 3 at noon.
The District 9 Doubles Tournament will be held on Monday at DuBois Area High School, while the District 9 Team Tournament will start on Oct. 11. Elk County Catholic and Brockway will play at Benzinger Park on Oct. 11 in the semifinals, while St. Marys will play the winner in the championship on Oct. 16.