Freshman sensation boosts Penn-Trafford tennis team

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Sunday, September 18, 2022 | 11:01 AM


Helped by a freshman sensation, the Penn-Trafford girls tennis team is having one of its best seasons.

The Warriors (4-1) are in a position to qualify for the WPIAL Class 3A playoffs if they can win the rest of their matches, including a first-place showdown with Franklin Regional (5-0) on Sept. 23 at home.

Freshman Mia Williams recently celebrated the retirement of her favorite tennis player, Roger Federer, on Sept. 15 by winning the WPIAL Section 1-3A singles title, and she did it in impressive fashion as she didn’t lose a game against four opponents over the two days of the tournament.

Williams defeated Latrobe senior Avery Massaro, 6-0, 6-0, in the finals. She also defeated Latrobe freshman Taylor Shanefelter, 6-0, 6-0, in the semifinals, and Kiski Area senior Lexiann Colaianni, 10-0, and Gateway senior Sophie Hernandez, 10-0 during the first day.

Williams qualified for the Class 3A tournament Sept. 21 at North Allegheny. The finals are Sept. 22 at Bethel Park.

“Winning the section title gives me a boost of confidence heading to the WPIAL tournament,” Williams said. “Avery is a good player, and she’s the only player to win a game against me, so I was motivated to beat her.”

Williams defeated Massaro, 6-1, 6-1 earlier this season.

“She’s a really good player,” Massaro said. “She doesn’t make mistakes. I played well at times and didn’t win the point. Playing her makes you better.”

Williams said she wasn’t perfect during the tournament and still has things to work on before WPIALs.

She plays with power and can dominate matches with her serve.

“I have to work on my second serve,” Williams said. “It hasn’t been good all season.”

But with her power, she keeps her opponents from attacking the net. She said she learned her one-handed backhand from watching Federer play.

She began playing tennis at age 4 when she was in a thrift store and saw a tennis racket and said it would be neat to learn how to play.

“It’s been an exciting season,” Penn-Trafford coach Megan Satira said. “We’ve won some close matches, and I’m looking forward to the rest of the season.

“We knew the Mia would probably take over the No. 1 spot and it allowed junior Lauren Burkley and senior Kaia Conte to drop down. Mia has made us stronger.”

Satira has two seniors, Nicole Poulus and Katie McKenzie, as the first doubles team and the second doubles team is sophomores Kylie McKenzie and Ally Moraca.

“The girls have learned a lot by watching Mia,” Satira said. “The team plays hard and works hard.

“Mia plays at a different level. I’m excited to see how well she does. She set high goals.”

Williams said she’d like to win the WPIAL and place high at states.

She said that Upper St. Clair’s Maggie Stief and Shady Side Academy’s Nichole Poltinnikov will be worthy opponents.

Paul Schofield is a TribLive reporter covering high school and college sports and local golf. He joined the Trib in 1995 after spending 15 years at the Daily Courier in Connellsville, where he served as sports editor for 14 years. He can be reached at pschofield@triblive.com.

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