Baldwin ace Bethany Yauch commits to Cleveland State

Friday, October 4, 2019 | 6:53 PM

Baldwin tennis whiz Bethany Yauch, a two-time WPIAL runner-up, recently signed a letter of intent with Cleveland State, a member of the NCAA Division I Horizon Conference.

The senior opted for the Vikings following a trip with her parents to the campus located near Lake Erie.

“When I visited Cleveland State, it was absolutely perfect with what I wanted,” Yauch said. “It was just far enough away from home but not too far, and I always wanted to go to a school in the city. Their dorms are very nice, and the women’s tennis team and their coach are amazing and have great work ethic. It was a perfect fit for me.

“I was looking at other schools like Akron and Villanova, but I knew once I visited Cleveland State, it was the school I wanted to go to.”

Yauch will join what has developed into an international program at Cleveland State. The women’s tennis team includes players from the Ukraine, France, Croatia, England, Slovenia and India, as well as Ohio and Illinois.

Yauch racked up an 18-2 record with one match remaining in 2019, winning the section championship and finishing as WPIAL Class AAA runner-up.

“Bethany’s senior season has been nothing short of spectacular,” said Chad Brown, Baldwin’s first-year coach. “She lost only to (Fox Chapel’s) Charlotte James this season, with both matches being tough battles.

“Bethany’s biggest strength is by far her tenacity and willingness to do whatever it takes to win every point. I have never in my years of coaching seen someone give the amount of effort she does.”

Last year, Yauch became the first athlete in school history to earn a section title in girls tennis. She went undefeated during the regular season and ended up 16-1 overall.

Yauch sat out her sophomore season with appendicitis after assuming the No. 1 singles position and posting an 18-4 record as a freshman.

Yauch is a two-time section champion and placed second in the section once. Along with her pair of second-place finishes, she earned third spot in the WPIAL as a freshman and has qualified for both the WPIAL and PIAA tournament three times.

“My season has gone pretty well,” Yauch said. “I didn’t achieve what I wanted in the WPIAL finals, but I am proud of how far I have come and how I have qualified for states the whole time I’ve been playing high school tennis.”

Tennis is a year-round sport for the dedicated Yauch. She rarely takes a break from her practice schedule.

“I played in a few adult- and college-level tournaments over the summer and I did well in them,” she said. “I train at Pittsburgh Performance Tennis and I also train at Strength, Fitness and Speed. The season is tough especially when school starts, but it is always so much fun, as well.”

Yauch began playing tennis at age 5 and has been playing competitively since she was 8. She is member of the Upper St. Clair Tennis Development Program and is coached by Jan Irwin. Yauch trains at USCTDP, located on McLaughlin Run Road, mainly in the winter months.

Yauch’s tennis career has taken her as far away as Dallas, as well as to tournaments in Ohio, New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia.

She was complemented in the Baldwin lineup this fall by junior Emma Sukal and freshman Emma Overlingas.

“This was definitely a building year for the team,” Yauch said. “Our starting lineup has a lot of underclassmen. Emma Sukal has the most potential. She will definitely be playing No. 1 next year, and I’m excited to see what she can achieve.”

Doubles partners include the freshman duo of Rachel Zgurich and Makena Luxemburger, along with the tandem of sophomore Neveen Khalil and junior Sara Banovic.

Juliana Fedorko, a junior, plus sophomores Alexa Teter and Carly Kennard round out the squad.

“The Baldwin girls have had an up-and-down season,” Brown said. “Our section is very strong, and the team this year is young considering we lost eight seniors. In a sport where you only have seven starters, that is quite a lot. So the team has had some growing pains, but the girls have been been improving substantially.”

Yauch owns a 3.6 GPA and plans to go into general business in the future.

“Right now, my goal is to be a corporate lawyer,” she said.

But, first things first. The PIAA tournament takes place Nov. 1-3 in Hershey.

“I wish I had more than one year with Bethany,” Brown said. “But I know our time together will not be done when the season ends. And we still have a state title to win in November.”


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