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Kennedy Volleyball Players Compete in Grass Doubles Tournament

Malone, Gallagher three-peat at grass doubles tournament

— One carefully placed ball at a time, Maria Regina junior Tara Malone and Kennedy sophomore Meagan Gallagher efficiently crossed off another victim en route to their third consecutive Section 1 grass doubles title Saturday afternoon at John Jay Middle School.

The duo, which won their previous two titles in the ‘B’ division, defeated recent Panas grad Pamela Heitman and Haldane junior Nicole Etta in the ‘A’ division final, 21-17, completing a 10-0 undefeated day.

“It feels so much better,” Malone said of winning in the higher bracket.

While their composure didn’t reflect it, nor did their record, the tandem said they were nervous about facing the higher level of competition.

“I didn’t think we’d make it this far at all,” Gallagher said after the championship match, which featured four defensive specialists between the two teams.

“I can’t swing,” Malone laughed. “I’ve just got to do what I can.”

The top-seeded tandem defeated fourth-seeded Yvette Burcescu and Christina Chu of Panas and Ardsley, respectively, arguably the top two freshmen in Section 1 last season, in the semifinal, 25-12.

Heitman and Etta knocked off last year’s runners-up, Michelle Li and Tatiana Tiangco, 21-15, in the semifinals. Heitman and Etta also finished pool play with an undefeated 8-0 record to grab the 2-seed, and the final quarterfinal bye.

With the varsity preseason gearing up in about a week, Saturday’s tournament — which drew a total of 24 teams — gives players a laid-back workout, some friendly competition… and lots of sunburn.

“It’s a totally different game (than indoor volleyball), so it’s not easy to compare,” said Malone, who noted that the bragging rights among players — many of who play for the same club team — is the biggest perk of the tournament. “Hopefully there will be a fourth (trophy) next year.”

Panas’ Demi Spanos and North Rockland’s Madison Monahan defeated Panas’ Lauren Feeley and Washingtonville’s Sabrina Livolsi in the ‘B’ division final, 25-23.

Twitter: @Zacchio_LoHud

Section 1 grass doubles tournament

At John Jay Middle School

Quarterfinals

No. 4 Yvette Burcescu (Panas)/Christine Chu (Ardsley) def. No. 5 Emily Costa (Maria Regina)/Caroline Tompkins (Kennedy), 21-16; No. 6 Michelle Li (Scarsdale)/Tatiana Tiangco (Scarsdale) def. No. 3 Kristine Fink (Scarsdale)/Jaclyn Smith (Pawling), 21-17.

Close

Semifinals

No. 1 Meagan Gallagher (Kennedy)/Tara Malone (Maria Regina) def. No. 4 Burcescu/Chu, 21-12; No. 2 Pamela Heitman (Panas)/Nicole Etta (Haldane) def. No. 6 Li/Tiangco, 21-15.

Final

No. 1 Gallagher/Malone def. No. 2 Heitman/Etta, 21-17.

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Mike Zacchio

Mike Zacchio

MIKE ZACCHIO has been with The Journal News/Lohud.com since August 2011, months after earning his degree in journalism from Purchase College. He predominately covers volleyball, girls basketball, softball, the Rockland Boulders and Westchester Knicks, while assisting on Lohud Yankees coverage and award-winning sports investigative pieces. Life motto: “Always be closing.” Life lesson: “Pay close attention to people who don’t clap when you win.”

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