Fox Chapel, Quaker Valley win WPIAL team tennis titles

Wednesday, May 11, 2022 | 10:04 PM

Fox Chapel freshman Mason Friday said he and sophomore Travis Malone have great chemistry as a doubles team.

“We get loud,” Friday said. “When we are loud, we play our best.”

Friday, Malone and their Fox Chapel teammates made plenty of noise at the WPIAL team tennis championships Wednesday at the Janet L. Swanson Tennis Center at Washington & Jefferson College.

The sixth-seeded Foxes swept No. 4 Shady Side Academy, 5-0, to take the Class 3A title. Quaker Valley edged North Catholic, 3-2, in the Class 2A final.

Fox Chapel started off the 3A matchup with a quick doubles victory. Friday and Malone started the first set slow, but settled in and won the match soundly. Malone knew after they won the first set that they’d be able to hold the momentum.

“We got a bunch of momentum after that first set,” said Malone. “In the second set, we crushed it and won.”

Fox Chapel junior Ananth Kashyap won the next match, defeating sophomore Chase Hartman.

Fox Chapel sophomore Will Siegel clinched the victory after defeating junior David Mnuskin in three sets at No. 1 singles.

“It was a team game. I mean, everyone on our team contributed,” Siegel said. “We can’t do it with one person. It takes all this. We’ve all been working together for it, so it was really good for us.”

Quaker Valley, the No. 1 seed, repeated as Class 2A champs with a 3-2 win.

The Quakers got on the board first when the doubles duo of senior Henry Veeck and senior Justin Hajdukiewicz defeated senior Ken Canavan and sophomore Justin Kontul. Veeck said that communication played a huge role in their victory.

“Justin and I are chattering the whole match. Our coach tells us sometimes that we chatter a little too much,” Veeck said. “We just keep each other going. We keep things a little less tense.”

Veeck and Hajdukiewicz tried to put their North Catholic opponents in positions where they were prone to make mistakes.

“We had a slow start, but we strategize pretty well,” Hajdukiewicz said. “We came up with a good strategy and we won I think nine straight games so it’s felt pretty good.”

Senior Michael Lipton and sophomore Chase Merkel kept the QV momentum going, winning their match against junior Tim Von Preussen and senior Justin Siket. Lipton said that the team started slow and he and Merkel reminded themselves not to rush their strokes.

“We started off a little rough, but we eased into it,” Lipton said. “We just had to take our time and then we were fine.”

Senior Will Sirianni capped off Quaker Valley’s perfect WPIAL playoff run by defeating senior Brody Golla at No. 2 singles.

When Sirianni won the last game, his teammates charged the court in celebration. Sirianni said losing his match last year at the WPIAL finals was what motivated him this year.

“It’s something that drove me. I didn’t want to be at fault again and last year I had a bad match, so this is my first time actually winning in the WPIAL finals,” Sirianni said. “I put in a lot of hard work, dedication and had a lot of willpower. I wasn’t going out there without a fight. I was not going to give it to them and I wanted to make them work for every point. It turned out positive for me.”

Sirianni admitted that the pressure got to him, but once he calmed down, he was able to pull out the victory.

“The pressure was kind of getting to me,” he said. “At the moment, I was thinking beyond it, thinking about the score and not the next ball, so I was just saying to myself, ‘Calm down, reset and watch the ball.’ It’s all I need to do and it paid off.”

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