So far there has been no “sophomore slump” for the Amato sisters in 2020-21. After seeing significant action as freshmen at St. Joseph’s University last year the former Palisades High stars are showing they can compete at the NCAA Division I level.
Saint Joseph’s was 1-6 when the 2020 season was canceled in mid-March and the Hawks started 2021 3-0 heading into Atlantic 10 Conference play.
The twins played for three years at Palisades High, helping the Dolphins win the City Section title as ninth graders, then spending their sophomore year back in their hometown in Pennsylvania, leading the Easton High tennis team to its first District title and to third place in the state tournament. Returning to Pali High as juniors and living in the Highlands, they were part of two more City championship teams before signing with Saint Joseph’s in February of 2019.
Ireland and Sophia were a doubles tandem last year but so far this season they have played with different partners. Ireland has been pairing with fellow sophomore Anna Kirk at the No. 1 and No. 2 spots while Sophia has paired with freshman Fabiana Tort-Umpierre primarily at the No. 3 position.
In the Hawks’ season-opening 6-1 win versus Coppin State on Feb. 13, Ireland and Kirk won their No. 1 doubles match and Sophia won 6-2, 6-1 at the No. 4 singles spot. One week later, Saint Joseph’s posted another 6-1 victory over Chestnut Hill as Ireland and Kirk won at No. 2 doubles and Ireland and Sophia won their singles matches in straight sets.
Sophia and Tort-Umpierre won at No. 2 doubles and Sophia won her No. 5 singles match 6-0, 6-0 in a 5-2 triumph over Mount St. Mary’s on March 6.
Neither sibling was able to notch a singles or doubles point in the squad’s conference opener against Davidson—The Hawks’ first defeat of the season.
Ireland is majoring in sports marketing and Sophia is majoring in business administration. Both made the Atlantic 10 Commissioner’s Honor Roll and the SJU Athletic Director’s Honor Roll in 2020.
Ireland rose as high as 37th in the USTA Southern California individual rankings while Sophia got to as high as Ranked as high as 77th in singles and 85th in doubles. As seniors at Palisades they had to face each other in the semifinals of the City Individual singles tournament, with Ireland prevailing in three sets.
This page is available to subscribers. Click here to sign in or get access.