Knoch’s Bauer aims to rebound at PIAA singles tournament

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Wednesday, September 29, 2021 | 9:48 AM


Ally Bauer won a WPIAL Class 2A doubles championship last year with sister Brooke.

The Knoch junior hoped to add singles gold to her portfolio last Friday at North Allegheny High School.

But Sewickley Academy’s Ashley Close had other ideas.

Close defeated Bauer, 6-3, 6-3, to claim the title. Despite the loss, Bauer felt she competed well, and it was a match she could build on for the rest of the season.

“I felt I did OK,” Bauer said. “I was just outplayed today.

“Once I got down, I figured I had to change something up. I tried to come in and be more aggressive. But with the wind, it was a little harder.

“I am really excited to see what I can do at states for singles.”

Bauer will join Close and South Park junior Nicole Kempton, who won the consolation match over Knoch sophomore Emily Greb, in the PIAA singles draw. The tournament is Nov. 5-6 at the Hershey Racquet Club.

The Bauer sisters made it to last year’s state doubles championship match before losing to District 3 champions Emma Perkins and Alex Pancu from Conrad Weiser.

Ally Bauer punched her ticket to this year’s WPIAL singles finals with wins over Central Valley’s Lauryn Johnsen (10-0) in the first round, Beaver’s Chloe DeSanzo (10-3) in the quarterfinals, and Greb in the semifinals (6-2, 6-1).

“That (WPIAL finals) score at 6-3, 6-3 (against Close), those scores show she was in that entire match, and I felt Ally played a tremendous match,” Knoch coach Nancy Conlon said.

“I felt Ashley was just a little bit better of a player that day. That’s just the way it played out. I wouldn’t say Ally made a lot of errors, and I think she walked away feeling she played her best. That should give her a lot of confidence moving forward when she gets to states.”

Kempton and Emily Greb finished second and third, respectively at last year’s WPIAL singles tournament, but both were denied a trip to states under the PIAA’s covid limitations that sent only district champions to the state tournaments.

Kempton lost to four-time WPIAL champion Laura Greb, and Emily Greb won the consolation match over Beaver Area graduate Anna Blum.

With only the one spot on the line in Friday’s third-place match, Kempton came out on top, defeating Greb, 6-2, 7-5.

“In the first set, Emily had a few nerves, and that showed,” Conlon said. “We talked a little bit between the sets, and I kind of wanted to give her a little bit of confidence that she was in this and the (first-set) score reflected the level of play and how close those points were.

“She saved a couple of match points and took it to 7-5. That set, she couldn’t have played any better. Nicole was just that much better. There’s always going to be a better player on the court. That’s the way that second set was. Emily played tremendous in that second set.”

Greb earned her spot in the WPIAL singles final four with dominant wins over Ringgold’s Rebecca McIntosh (10-0) and Sewickley Academy’s Milla Ivanova (10-1) in the first round and quarterfinals, respectively.

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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