Knoch’s Greb sisters win state tennis gold

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Saturday, November 6, 2021 | 9:26 PM


Because she was playing with her twin sister Lindsey, Emily Greb felt like she might have had a slight advantage over the field at the PIAA Class 2A doubles championships this weekend.

Not because of some kind of twin magic, where each knows what the other is thinking via ESP.

Because there are never any hard feelings when disagreements arise, as they sometimes do during doubles matches, especially on a stage this big.

“I think it was beneficial that we are siblings because it breaks up all the awkwardness that may happen if you were to play with someone else,” Emily said.

There was nothing awkward about the way the Greb sisters played at the state tournament. They won four matches in straight sets, including three over district champions, and claimed PIAA gold with a 7-6 (4), 7-6 (4) victory over District 3 champs Emma Perkins and Michelle Timothy of Conrad Weiser in the finals Saturday in Hershey.

“I’m at a loss for words. I’m really just so happy,” Lindsey said. “I don’t think there was any flaws in our game. Obviously we did everything we could to just pull out a win and stay in the points as long as possible.”

Lindsey said the finals match was, by far, the toughest the twins faced in the tournament. Both teams served well, making service breaks rare.

As such, each set went to a tiebreaker, ramping up the tension in an already tense state final.

“They’re definitely very stressful,” Emily said. “During a tiebreaker, it’s about winning as many points as you can. You have to stay in each point. You can’t, like, have one point last or you can lose it from one mistake.”

Even though they’re twins, the Grebs probably don’t have as much experience playing as a doubles team as it would seem. USTA youth tournaments focus more on singles than doubles, and last year, when they were both freshmen for the Knights, Lindsey was sidelined with a knee injury.

But whether they were the team in the field with the most experience or not, they were certainly the best.

“They went through four very tough matches,” coach Nancy Conlon said. “I feel like each time, they raised the bar, so to speak, and focused even more, knowing that each and every match, the opponents got stronger and stronger.”

The championship for the Grebs come on the heels of a team title for Knoch at last year’s state tournament. With a representation in Hershey each of the last six seasons, it’s safe to say the Knights have risen to the status of perennial PIAA contenders.

“It’s pretty impressive, especially during awards night when you have a singles player (who went to states) on one side and a doubles player on the other side,” Conlon said. “It really is incredible.”

In the Class 2A singles tournament, the WPIAL finalists, champion Ashley Close of Sewickley Academy and runner-up Ally Bauer of Knoch, fell in the semifinals and met in the third-place match. Close defeated Bauer, 6-1, 3-6, 6-0.

The WPIAL singles champion also took third place in Class 3A. Bethel Park’s Mia Gorman fell in the semifinals, then won the third-place match, defeating Dasha Chichkina of Council Rock South, 6-4, 6-3.

Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review Assistant Sports Editor. You can contact Jonathan by email at jbombulie@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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