Franklin Regional girls tennis reaches goals

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Saturday, October 17, 2020 | 11:01 AM


Franklin Regional’s girls tennis team enjoyed another good season.

The Panthers reached all their goals according to coach Howard Fisher, who has been coaching tennis at Franklin Regional for 41 years.

Franklin Regional (8-2, 7-1) finished second to Latrobe in Section 1-AAA. The Panthers reached the WPIAL playoffs where they lost to North Allegheny, 4-1, in the first round Oct. 13.

And while the Panthers will lose five seniors to graduation — Hannah Yan, Abigail Krieger, Divya Hegde, Aastha Ladani and Casey Pollitt — the future remains bright.

“We’ll have a good nucleus coming back and a future prospect ready to join the squad,” Fisher said. “I’m excited about next season.”

But this season ended well. Franklin Regional defeated Hampton before falling in the playoffs.

Yan was a runner-up in the section singles, falling to Latrobe junior Jennifer Bell, 6-4, 7-5, in the finals. She advanced to the WPIAL singles tournament, but fell in the first round to Peters Township’s Maura Bruce.

In the playoff loss to North Allegheny last week, Yan earned Franklin Regional’s victory, topping the Tigers’ Jenny Zhu, 6-3, 6-1.

Yan and freshman Ellen Liu finished third in the section doubles tournament, falling in the semifinals to Latrobe’s Caroline Walters and Maya Jain. They too reached the WPIAL doubles tournament and fell in the first round to Pine-Richland’s Elizabeth Stokes and Katelyn Terchick.

“We met all our goals,” Fisher said. “We made the playoffs and the girls met all the challenges even with what they faced with the coronavirus. We were satisfied.”

But Fisher knows the team is well-stocked for another good season in 2021.

Among those expected to return are Liu, who played No. 2 singles, and sophomore Hannah Zheng, who was the No. 3 singles player. Zheng reached a tiebreak in the second set against North Allegheny’s Claire Zheng last week but ultimately fell 6-4, 7-6. Liu fell 6-1, 6-0 to NA’s Emily Wincko.

Also expected back are juniors Sarah Gardner, Areej Mohsin and Aview Varghese and sophomores Chloe Kruck and Chelsea Williams. Gardner paired with Krieger at first doubles against North Allegheny last week. Seniors Ladani and Hegde played second doubles in the playoff match.

Those experienced underclassmen give Fisher a reason to be excited about the future, though he knows section champion Latrobe again will be strong next fall. The Wildcats advanced to the WPIAL Class AAA quarterfinals, which were contested past deadline for this edition.

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at pschofield@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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