Greb, Knoch tennis ready to take next step

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Sunday, August 18, 2019 | 12:01 AM


When Knoch tennis coach Nance Conlon first saw Laura Greb during a summer clinic a few years ago, she quickly noticed the player’s potential.

“She showed up, and I immediately talked to her dad and told him she was too good for it,” Conlon said. “You could immediately see the talent in her from that point.”

Greb has dominated since her freshman season, and she has won the past two WPIAL Class AA titles. During her first championship run, Greb lost 14 games — five of them came against then-defending champion Katherine Marks from Our Lady of the Sacred Heart. This past year, Greg only lost two games during the WPIAL tournament.

“As a freshman, I didn’t expect to have that much success because I didn’t really know what to expect,” Greb said. “So, I played it match by match and saw how it went. But sophomore year, my goal was to win WPIALs again.”

Heading into her junior season, Greb again will look to improve. After losses in the state final and semifinals the past two years to Brenna Magliochetti from Bethlehem Catholic, Greb’s goal is to win a state championship.

Magliochetti has graduated, and Greb has an idea of what it will take to hoist a state championship trophy.

“I think definitely training more and becoming more physically fit,” she said. “It’s not so much making changes to my game but to the physical aspect of it.”

During the summer, Greb has done everything she can to improve her game. She competed in tournaments throughout the country against strong competition. But Greb doesn’t have to go far to get a competitive push.

Greb and classmate Brooke Bauer have constantly raised the other’s game. In their first WPIAL tournament, Greb beat Bauer, 6-3, 6-3, to advance to the WPIAL championship. Then, this past season, they played for the Section 3-AA championship, where Greb edged Bauer, 6-4, 6-3, to capture her first section title.

“When they come together and face each other in the section and the WPIAL championships, you know it’s going to be a good match,” Conlon said. “It was extremely tight this past year. It could have honestly gone either way. Laura just had that little extra edge.”

The pair of Knights have been important to their program’s meteoric rise over the past two years, and they are hoping to take it one step further this season.

“Our goal is to win WPIALs as a team and make it further in states,” Greb said.

Other players to watch in the A-K Valley:

Charlotte James, Fox Chapel, Sr.

After taking a year off from high school tennis, James is back with Fox Chapel for her senior year. During her junior year, she played circuit tennis, traveling around the country to play some of the best competition. James also is a two-time WPIAL doubles champion and was a PIAA doubles champion as a freshman.

Carissa Shepard, Fox Chapel, So.

As a freshman last season, Shepard and doubles teammate Lexi Quackenbush captured the Section 3-AAA doubles title. She’ll take a more prominent role this season, playing second singles behind James.

Erica Stariha, Kiski Area, Sr.

If not for Latrobe freshman Jenna Ball, who was the Section 1-AAA champion, Stariha could have made a run last year as a junior. She will return for her senior year and anchor the Cavaliers lineup.

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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