Last updated: August 30. 2013 12:25AM - 1672 Views
JOE BARESS For The Times Leader

Madison Nardone of Wyoming Seminary lines up a backhand return in her match against Wyoming Area's Kierstin Grillo on Wednesday in Kingston.
Madison Nardone of Wyoming Seminary lines up a backhand return in her match against Wyoming Area's Kierstin Grillo on Wednesday in Kingston.
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WILKES-BARRE — After finishing one win shy from capturing the District 2 Class 2A championship, coach Allison Joanlanne and standout player Nathalie Joanlanne return to lead the Wyoming Seminary girls tennis team in hopes of winning a district title.

The former Misericordia University men’s and women’s tennis coach enters her second season with Wyoming Seminary, while reigning District 2 Class 2A singles champion Nathalie Joanlanne returns for her junior year.

After the 2011-12 men’s and women’s tennis seasons, coach Joanlanne stepped down at Misericordia for an opportunity to coach her daughter.

“It’s great,” coach Joanlanne said. “It allows us to spend more time together, and I think we work well together.”

Nathalie Joanlanne also is happy with her mother’s decision to take the job, because she has taught her everything about the sport since she first picked up a racket.

“She brings all of her perspectives when I was little to the team,” the junior said. “She’s always a little tougher on me but it’s a good time.”

In Allison Joanlanne’s first year as Wyoming Seminary coach, the Blue Knights went undefeated during the 2012 regular season, but for the fourth straight year lost to Scranton Prep in the district championship match.

Nathalie worked hard during the offseason to improve her game and help end Wyoming Seminary’s string of losing in the district title match.

“She’s been improving on fitness, strength, and learning how to use all that strength and power to improve her game all around,” coach Joanlanne said. “She’s been working on that for a year and I hope it will show.”

Junior Madison Nardone and sophomores Jacqui Meuser, Alex Cuddy and Megan Obeid also return to bolster the Blue Knights’ lineup.

“We’re looking to win the district championship,” Nathalie Joanlanne said. “I think we have a good chance and we’ll be working toward that during the regular season.”

In order to reach that goal, the Blue Knights will have to win without Anita Ghosh, Wyoming Seminary’s second singles starter. The 2013 graduate made it to the District 2 Class 2A singles semifinals last season.

“She’s a great loss for our team,” coach Joanlanne said. “She was a co-captain and a great leader, so we’re definitely going to miss her this year.”

Nathalie Joanlanne said Ghosh’s departure has affected the doubles teams.

“I think she was a huge loss,” Nathalie Joanlanne said. “I don’t think the singles players are having a problem, but the doubles teams have been thrown off.”

The Blue Knights’ doubles teams are what Allison Joanlanne considers the X-factor in Wyoming Seminary’s quest for a district championship.

“I think it comes down to our doubles,” coach Joanlanne said. “I’m trying to get our doubles teams together and improve their games and strategy to get ready for the season.”

Although the team’s journey ended with the loss in districts, Nathalie advanced the Class 2A singles state tournament, where she reached the quarterfinals.

She spent her summer traveling the East Coast to train and play in tournaments to prepare for another run at the state title.

“I stepped it up from last year and I’ve seen improvements,” Nathalie Joanlanne said. “I want to win states.”

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