Franklin Regional’s Yan returns to WPIAL singles tournament
By: Michael Love
Saturday, September 15, 2018 | 3:30 PM
Hannah Yan began her varsity tennis career at the top as Franklin Regional’s No. 1 singles player.
She gained valuable experience going up against every other team’s No. 1 both in and out of section play.
Yan said she banked all of those experiences, both good and not so good, and returned for her sophomore season ready to take that next step.
On Thursday, she hopes one of those steps forward is a deeper run at the WPIAL Class AAA singles tournament.
“I know I will have to be even more aggressive and move faster,” Yan said. “I also can’t get caught up in the emotions of playing (in the WPIAL tournament). I have to play my game and not overthink things.”
Yan qualified for her second straight WPIAL singles tournament by advancing to the semifinals of the Section 1-AAA tournament at Franklin Regional.
She lost to eventual section runner-up Addison Kemerer from Latrobe in the semifinals. Yan finished third with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Hempfield’s Angela Popovich in the consolation final at the Greensburg Racquet Club.
“The first set, I was getting lulled into her game,” Yan said. “She was playing a defensive game with a lot of slices, and I was playing a lot of slices back. But I tried to dominate more in the second set and put in more winner shots. I was more aggressive, and it helped.”
Franklin Regional coach Howard Fisher said he was pleased with the way Yan responded after the semifinals against Kemerer. Yan led Kemerer, 5-2, in the second set and had two set points before Kemerer rallied to win 7-6 and close out the match.
“Hannah handled herself very well,” Fisher said. “It took a while to get used to (Popovich) even though they played before.”
Yan beat Popovich, 6-0, 6-2, in their section match.
Yan’s return trip to WPIALs marks the seventh consecutive season a Franklin Regional player has qualified for the WPIAL singles tournament.
Last year, Yan fell 10-0 in a pro-set first-round match to Fox Chapel’s Amanda Nord.
The top four finishers from each of the four Class AAA section tournaments advanced to the WPIAL singles draw.
Latrobe’s Jenna Bell and Addison Kemerer head to WPIALs as the No. 1 and No. 2 players from Section 1. Bell defeated Kemerer, 6-2, 6-1, in the section title match.
Yan was 4-1 in dual matches this year with the only loss coming to Bell at No. 1 singles against Latrobe in section play Aug. 29.
She won matches against Hampton, Hempfield, Penn-Trafford and Norwin to help Franklin Regional start 2-2 in Section 1 and 2-3 overall.
“My movements are a lot better, and I’m also playing a faster ball,” Yan said of the difference from last year. “I have had to step up my game.”
Fisher said the Panthers have a good shot at winning their remaining four section matches and earning a berth in the WPIAL team tournament set to begin Oct. 10.
Yan echoes her coaches’ confidence in where the team stands and where it can go.
“The team has progressed well,” Yan said. “The new players to varsity stepped up from JV, so they’ve been getting used to their doubles partners and also getting used to playing a faster ball.
“A number of them have gone three sets in matches, and that built character and confidence, win or lose.”
Michael Love is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Michael at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @MLove_Trib.