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Irish trio set for district

Staff photo / John Vargo -- Ursuline tennis players, from left, Ella Kobak, Lynn Chahine and Anna Morgione compete today in the Divsion II district.

Anna Morgione has stepped on the courts of the Springside Racquet and Fitness Club in Akron.

It’s nothing new for the Ursuline High School junior. She’s been in this situation before, but not in this fashion.

Usually she’d have a doubles partner with her, like her teammates — junior Lynn Chahine and senior Ella Kobak.

Chahine and Kobak enter today’s Division II girls tennis district tournament, starting at 9 a.m., after placing third in sectional doubles play. Chahine and Kobak take on Doylestown Chippewa’s Ally Murphy and Grace Cunningham, who finished second in their sectional.

“Having a teammate on the court last year was beneficial,” Morgione said. “My partner and I would work together and calm each other down when we got worked up. I can’t rely on anyone else anymore, for the pressure is all on me. When I get down, I have to find my own solutions to build myself back up.”

It didn’t seem to bother the Ursuline junior as she won this year’s Boardman sectional singles title.

Morgione might not have a doubles partner this season, but she has one of the best trainers around — her older brother, Greg, who is a freshman at Youngstown State University. Greg, the Division II state runner-up when he was a junior at Ursuline, finds time to prepare Anna.

“Any time I need to work on aspects of my game, or even when I know I have a tough match coming up, I will text Greg and he will find a day to hit against me,” Anna said. “He challenges me and gives me tips on how to strategize against my opponents.”

Chahine said Kobak is great at recognizing open court and taking advantage of it.

“She sees where our opponents don’t defend and strikes,” Chahine said. “Ella is also all over the net at all time. She can be very intimidating because she’s always moving.”

Kobak said Chahine has very consistent ground strokes and a powerful backhand, along with a quick hand at the net.

“Me and Lynn are very comfortable around each other, resulting in good communication and teamwork on the court,” Kobak said. “We allow each other to make mistakes, and keep each other positive while playing.”

Morgione said she needs to fight harder than her competition to advance, but remain calm under pressure and consistent with her shots. When she steps on the court, Morgione never forgets she plays for Ursuline.

“Being a part of the tennis team is one of my favorite things about Ursuline,” Morgione said. “Knowing you have teammates that will congratulate you or be there for you after a tough match changes everything. We all want the best for our teammates, and our coaches want to see us succeed. We are a successful team because we work hard, support one another and because our coaches put a lot of time and effort into helping us improve.”

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