Bethel Park girls tennis makes history during championship season

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Saturday, November 18, 2023 | 11:01 AM


Expectations were soaring through the roof for the Bethel Park girls tennis team this year.

And the Black Hawks jumped aboard the jet stream.

Bethel Park won the first WPIAL team championship in school history, and the tandem of freshman Cami Fisher and senior Lily Sierka captured the first WPIAL doubles title.

“I’m so proud of all of our accomplishments like winning the section, winning the WPIAL and being one of the top four teams in the state,” Fisher said. “I’m so happy to be able to play a role in the most successful season in Bethel Park girls tennis. It was incredible that Lily and I were able to capture both a section and WPIAL title our first time ever playing together and being able to win nine of our 10 matches this year.

“I’m very excited about the fact that I’ve been able to accomplish a few of my personal goals, but there are still some that I’m looking to achieve next year.”

Sierka, who said she and Cami were “super shocked” to win the WPIAL doubles title, was undefeated at No. 2 singles this season.

“I’m proud of everything my team and I have accomplished. It was very exciting to make history for Bethel Park,” Sierka said. “I’m proud of Cami and I for winning WPIAL doubles since it was the first time anyone in our school has ever won it.”

The prolific pair won the school’s first WPIAL tennis championship since Mia Gorman won back-to-back singles titles in 2020-21. Kellie Schmitt also earned a singles title in 2002.

The Black Hawks swept North Allegheny, 5-0, in the Class 3A finals Oct. 18. The 5-foot-3 Fisher defeated senior Sara Fernandez, 6-4, 6-0, at No. 1 singles to clinch the team championship.

“It all goes to the girls,” Bethel Park coach Doug Addington said. “Not just the varsity girls, it’s a great overall team. In the beginning of the season, I knew it was the best team I had ever had.

“Most of these girls on the team have been playing tennis together since they were 2 or 3 years old. I think this is something they’ll never forget.”

Senior Emma Smith and freshman Mackenzie Smock won 6-1, 6-3 in first doubles to give Bethel Park an early lead.

Senior Katie Peterson defeated North Allegheny freshman Peyton Mauser, 6-2, 6-2, at third singles to increase her team’s lead to 2-0.

Julia Gobbie, a junior, and Cassie Sierka, a freshman, won at No. 2 doubles by scores of 7-6, 3-6, 6-4, and senior Lily Sierka completed the shutout with a victory at second singles when NA senior Laeticia Wessel suffered an ankle injury and could not continue.

Bethel Park moved on to the PIAA tournament and advanced to the semifinal round.

The Black Hawks defeated District 10 titlist Fairview, 4-1, and the District 1 third-place team, Downingtown East, 3-0, before losing a tight 3-2 decision to District 1 runner-up Conestoga.

The 14-year-old Fisher, a left-handed hitter, finished with a 28-7 record and already can’t wait for the 2024 season to begin.

“We return four of the seven players from our starting lineup next year,” Fisher said, “so we will still have a pretty solid team. I feel that we have another successful season.”

The older Sierka sister, who is 17 and stands 5-5, was a four-year starter in singles for the Black Hawks.

She hits right-handed and competed where she was needed the most in her varsity career — at No. 2 singles as a freshman, No. 3 as a sophomore, No. 1 as a junior and No. 2 this year.

Sierka was 19-0 at No. 2 singles this year, winning all 12 regular-season matches, four in the WPIAL team playoffs and three in the PIAA team tournament.

“I think I have had very successful seasons at Bethel Park,” she said. “I’ll miss my teammates the most since we’ve all been friends for years.

“Lots of history was made by this (year’s) team, and I couldn’t be more proud.”

Fisher and Sierka advanced to the quarterfinals in the PIAA doubles tournament, where they lost to Conestoga seniors Kate Emmanuel and Jennifer He, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3. The Conestoga girls had placed second in District 1.

“We were hoping for a better outcome, but it didn’t happen,” Sierka said. “We still made it further than any other doubles team in school history.”

Fisher and Sierka defeated Landisville Hempfield senior Sophie Carson and junior Alexandra Gregory, 6-0, 6-1, in the first round. Carson and Gregory qualified for the state tournament by placing fourth in District 3.

Bethel Park wrapped up the season with a 17-1 overall record in team competition.

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