A-K Valley athletes of the week: Fox Chapel’s Amanda Nord, Springdale’s Matt Taliani

Wednesday, November 1, 2017 | 11:35 PM

Amanda Nord

School: Fox Chapel

Class: Senior

Sport: Tennis

Report card: Nord is a four-time WPIAL doubles champion and two-time PIAA champion in Class AAA doubles play. She became only the second four-time WPIAL doubles champion when she and partner Charlotte James dispatched Melissa Vizcardo and Alyssa Sarver (6-0, 6-2) for the WPIAL Class AAA title. Nord and James will return to Hershey this weekend to defend their PIAA Class AAA title.

When did you start playing tennis?

I started when I was about 5 years old. My mom came from a tennis family.

What's it like to have four WPIAL doubles championships?

It's a pretty cool thing to have. It's an honor, too, because only one other person has accomplished that.

What have you learned since winning your first title as a freshman?

I think I've definitely grown as a player and as a teammate.

How different is the strategy between playing doubles and singles?

With doubles you have to communicate and work together as a team.

What's the secret to a great doubles tandem?

I would say the secret is great communication. Each player has a different style. Being really good friends and being able to tell each other what's working and what's not.

Which is better, your forehand or backhand?

Definitely my forehand.

What three people would you like to have dinner with?

Kanye West, Ariana Grande and any of the Victoria Secret Angels.

What three words best describe you?

Athletic. Funny. Outgoing.

What did you dress up as for Halloween?

A princess.

What actress should play you in a Hollywood movie?

I would say Scarlett Johansson.

What's your favorite subject at school?

Any of the business classes that I take.

What is something interesting about you nobody knows?

I like to work out on my own. I just like doing my own workouts.

What are your plans for after high school?

I'm going to play tennis for James Madison. I'm going to study business.

Matt Taliani

School: Springdale

Class: Sophomore

Sport: Soccer

Report card: The 5-foot-8 defender was called into action Saturday and delivered the game-winning goal in the No. 7 Dynamos' 2-1 shootout win over No. 3 Seton LaSalle in the WPIAL Class A semifinals. The win pits Springdale (15-4-1) against Section 3-A rival Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic (19-1) in the WPIAL Class A championship game at 8 p.m. Friday at Highmark Stadium. A two-year starter, Taliani has two goals on the season. His first goal of the season came on a penalty kick in the Dynamos' 9-0 win over California. Taliani also plays Cup soccer for Arsenal FC.

When did you start playing soccer?

I started when I was about 4 years old.

What went through your mind the moment the ball left your foot for the game-winner?

I saw that it looked good and it was going to the spot I intended it to, which was the bottom left, and I immediately started to celebrate.

How many times have you dreamed of taking the game-winning shot to win a game?

A bunch of times. Usually when I listen to music I envision myself doing something like this. I never thought it would really happen.

What were your thoughts when coach Cesareo Sanchez turned to you to go out and take a penalty kick?

I really wasn't that nervous. I just thought about what I was trained to do and stepped up and did it. I was the sixth guy.

The Dynamos lost both regular-season meetings (7-1, 1-0) to North Catholic. What have you learned about them?

We learned that they have a really strong midfield and that they like to possess the ball a lot.

How has this team improved since the 1-0 OT loss?

As a team we've grown, and over the season our team has gotten better. If we can shut down the shot and get some passes up the field, we can beat them.

Do you have a prediction?

I think it might get to overtime. I think we'll get a nice goal in the first overtime, 1-0.

What is it like to go on this ride with your older brother, Nick, a senior midfielder?

It was a really good experience to play with him. I never got to do it because we were always split up in age groups

What three people would you like to have dinner with?

Cristiano Ronaldo, Steve Carell and Chris Pratt.

What three words best describe you?

Hard-working. Funny. Kind.

What did you dress up as for Halloween?

I didn't go this year, I passed out candy with my brother.

What actor should play you in a Hollywood movie?

Probably Adam Sandler.

What's your favorite subject at school?


What's something interesting about you nobody knows?

I like to fish a lot, bass fishing. I caught a 17-inch largemouth bass at Kahle Lake. It's in Venango County.

— William Whalen

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