Honesdale girls tennis team notches first win for rookie head coach Patrick Stanton

HONESDALE — Patrick Stanton has been a fixture on the local boys and girls tennis scene for more than a decade.

A 1985 graduate of Walton-O’Neill Central High School in New York, he first got involved with the Honesdale program when his son, Shea, competed.

After several years as an active member of the booster club, Stanton finally joined the Hornet staff as a volunteer. He then took on the role of an assistant under longtime head coach Keith Andrews.

When Andrews announced his retirement at the end of last season, Stanton was hired to succeed him. Now, just a few months later, Honesdale’s newest girls tennis coach has earned the first win of his varsity career.

More: Beloved Honesdale tennis coach Keith Andrews announces his retirement

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That win came Tuesday at home against Pittston Area. The final score was 3-2 thanks to a Lady Hornet singles sweep by Mandy Grossman, Lucy Harrington and Madison Candela.

“We’re definitely moving in the right direction,” Coach Stanton said. “This is a great group, and they’re working hard every day. I’m hoping this was the first of many more wins for these girls.”

Weather permitting, Honesdale will be back on the court Tuesday afternoon at home versus Scranton High School.

Action gets underway at 4:15 p.m. at the Daniel J. O’Neill Sports Complex.

Lady Hornet senior leaders

Honesdale’s girls varsity tennis team has recorded its first victory of the 2023 season, a razor-thin 3-2 win over Pittston Area. The Lady Hornets were led by senior captains (from left): Madison Candela, Mandy Grossman, Lucy Harrington, Rory Decker.

Four battle-tested veteran players have been chosen to lead the Lady Hornet tennis team this fall.

Mandy Grossman, Lucy Harrington, Madison Candela and Rory Decker are all seniors and each brings a unique skill set to the table.

“They’re really good leaders,” said Coach Stanton. “All four of them do a great job on and off the court. They set an excellent example for our younger girls.”

Grossman is a three-year member of the varsity squad. She’s an athletic southpaw who holds down the No. 1 singles spot.

“Mandy’s a real go-getter,” Coach Stanton said. “She’s mainly a baseliner, but she moves really well all over the court. Mandy has a good hard serve as well.”

Harrington is another veteran player who competed in both singles and doubles last year. This fall, she’s occupying the No. 2 singles position.

“Lucy is doing a really nice job for us,” said Coach Stanton. “She’s a lefty who covers the court well and never gives up on a point.”

Candela is a hard-working player who likes to stay back but also isn’t afraid to attack the net on occasion. She’s at third singles.

“Madison is mostly a baseliner, and she’s very consistent,” Coach Stanton said. “She keeps the ball in play and has a really effective lob.”

Decker is a versatile player who’s already made key contributions this year in both singles and doubles action.

“Rory is our most improved player,” Coach Stanton said. “She’s a powerhouse hitter who does well wherever we put her in the line-up.”

In the win column

Rookie Head Coach Patrick Stanton has recorded the first win of his girls tennis career at Honesdale.

Rookie Head Coach Patrick Stanton has recorded the first win of his girls tennis career at Honesdale.

Honesdale opened up its Lackawanna League regular season with lopsided losses to Holy Cross and Wallenpaupack Area.

However, the Lady Hornets bounced back to post a razor-thin 3-2 win over Pittston Area in a non-conference battle. This victory is doubly notable because it’s also the first of Coach Stanton’s career.

“It’s definitely nice to get that first win under our belts,” the rookie skipper said. “Now, we’re just working hard to get a little better every day. I’m excited to see what the girls can do the rest of the season.”

Honesdale swept all three singles matches to seal the deal against the Patriots.

Grossman cruised to victory at first singles, winning in straight sets over Pittston’s Ayla Kieger (6-1, 6-2). Harrington was every bit as impressive at number two, dispatching Emily Hanna (6-1, 6-4). Candela closed things out with a straight set triumph over Sophia Montaga (6-4, 6-1).

Doubles team members for the varsity team this year include: Casey Morton, Lillian Hawkins, Dona Martin, Morgan Wendell and Madison Hamilton.

“The kids were really happy to get that first one,” Coach Stanton said. “We play a lot of bigger schools, so I know there are going to be lots of ups and downs in the season.

“As long as they give me 100 percent every day at practice and during matches, that’s all I can ask.”

This article originally appeared on Tri-County Independent: Honesdale downs Pittston Area for first girls tennis win of the season

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