OWEGO – The stage was set for Norwich to place first or second in the Class B team tournament Monday afternoon at Owego.
In the doubles finals, the Tornado duo of Jenni Borfitz and Breanna Cashman dropped a straight sets clash to top-seeded Kira Thalacker and Coco Heitmann of Owego, 6-4, 6-0. In the third-place singles matchup, the Tornado senior Kristi Orioli fell in a two-setter to Johnson City’s Tiffany Hamden, 6-4, 6-2.
As a consequence of the two losses, Norwich finished in third place behind champion Seton Catholic Central and runner-up Susquehanna Valley. “It wasn’t the storybook ending we were hoping for, but it was still a good run for our kids,” said Norwich coach John Stewart.
Orioli was tied with Hamden at 4-4 in the first set, but lost back-to-back deuce games to end the set. Hamden picked up at least two more deuce game points to close out the victory. “Kristi is the first Norwich girl in over 10 years to reach the sectional semifinals,” Stewart said. “That is a great accomplishment and she had a fantastic year. The other girl just played the big points a little better.”
Borfitz and Cashman’s loss was not nearly as lopsided as the final score indicates as deuce points decided a number of games, Stewart said. “It was by far the best doubles match of the tournament, and my girls really pushed them,” the NHS coach said. “You have to give the Owego kids credit. They’re good ball strikers, and they didn’t make any mistakes in the second set.”