HERSHEY — Penn Manor's Catherine Rabatin is only a sophomore, a fact that relaxed her during Saturday's PIAA Class 3A singles championships at Hershey Racquet Club.
It was that attitude that helped Rabatin rebound from being swept in the first set of her semifinal match with Mia Gorman of Bethel Park. After fighting off multiple match points, Rabatin came back to win the second set, 7-5, until Gorman got the better of the deciding set and advanced to the final, 6-0, 5-7, 6-2.
“It puts me more at ease that I am a sophomore and really don't have anything to lose,” Rabatin said. “I've just got to go out and play my best.”
Motivated to not finish fourth like she did in 2019, Rabatin faced Paraskevi Briegel of Stroudsburg in the consolation match and came away with a 6-1, 6-2 victory for third place.
Of course, it was that same motivation that kept her going against Gorman, even when things looked bleak.
“It was difficult. I was frustrated in the first set because I knew it shouldn't be 6-0,” Rabatin said. “She came out on fire, so I had to step it up and stayed calm in the second and positive with myself. I need to stay calm and positive.”
Gorman used her weapons effectively, particularly a nasty breaking second serve that had a ton of spin. Rabatin said she will learn from facing that, followed by winning the consolation match.
“I had to dig deep. I wanted to prove myself more than I did last year,” Rabatin said.
While Rabatin has two more years to climb the state ladder, Manheim Township's Scotty Reynolds closed out her high school career on a high note.
Reynolds and partner Avery Palandjian, a junior, took home third-place medals in 3A doubles after defeating State College's Quiana Guo and Catelyn Janac in the consolation match, 6-0, 6-2.
“It was very important for me to finish strong for Scotty after two years playing with her,” Palandjian said. “We played well in that match and communicated better on who would go after the ball.”
Earlier, Reynolds and Palandjian lost to defending state champions Kat Wang and Marra Bruce of Peters Township, 6-2, 6-2 in the semis.
“They were very good. They played really well together and they obviously hit harder than anyone we've played against,” Reynolds said. “They are the reigning champs and have very good chemistry.”
Although Palandjian has another year left with the Blue Streaks, Reynolds can look back on a terrific career, which included league and district team titles, as well as doubles championships. She said she couldn't have asked for anything more.
“I was really happy our team made it as far as we did. Do I wish we would have made it one step farther? Yes, but I am really happy with all of us,” she said. “It was exciting and we got to do it as regularly as possible. Avery and I couldn't come in second place in districts. We had to win to move on. I think that made us better.”