Quaker Valley's Spencer Caravaggio finished second in the PIAA Class AA singles tournament despite being hampered by a sore right shoulder that forced her to serve underhand.
By Ryan Riordan Tri-State Sports & News Service
The one thing missing from Spencer Caravaggio's high school tennis resume was a state title.
After winning her second WPIAL title in four years, the Quaker Valley senior traveled to Hershey last weekend in hopes of getting the highly coveted gold medal.
But a tough opponent and a sore shoulder forced her to settle for silver.
Caravaggio lost to Wyomissing senior Audrey Ann Blakely, the 2011 PIAA Class AA runner-up, in the state championship match Saturday, 6-4, 6-4.
"Overall, I was pleased with how she played at the tournament," Quaker Valley coach Jeff Sebastian said. "But Spencer was heartbroken and I was heartbroken for her."
Like most of this season, Caravaggio didn't have the advantage of her serve during the state tournament. Caravaggio, a right-hander, had incurred an injury to the ligaments in her right shoulder earlier this season. Because of the injury, she wore a shoulder brace for a good portion of the season and actually served underhand.
She was still able to go through the season undefeated and the thought was her shoulder would be well enough by the state tournament to serve overhand.
Caravaggio still served underhand, however, through her first three matches of the state tournament. But in the finals, Caravaggio came out serving overhand and jumped out to a 3-0 lead. She had to switch back to the underhand serve later in the first set, however, and Blakely came back to win.
"From what I noticed, it didn't make much of a difference and my shoulder was bothering me a bit," Caravaggio said. "So I decided the underhand was a better idea."
Not having her best serve hurt Caravaggio's offensive attack.
"It made me play more defensively [this year] and that made my defense better," Caravaggio said. "But, especially at states, I couldn't attack as much as I usually like to."
Caravaggio ends her career with two WPIAL titles and two state runner-up finishes. She qualified for the state tournament in each of her four years, as she finished third in the district in the two years she did not win the title.
She also helped the Quakers qualify for the PIAA Class AA team tournament in all four years. The team finished as high as second in the state (2009) during Caravaggio's time at the school.
"She leaves really quite a legacy," Sebastian said. "I remember when people were telling me when she was in fifth or sixth grade to wait and see what she could do when she got to high school.
"She never disappointed me once. She is in the top tier of tennis players and female athletes ever at this school."