Mattson plays key captain role for PIAA champion Sewickley Academy tennis team

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Friday, November 2, 2018 | 8:30 PM


The lone senior, Alina Mattson treated her Sewickley Academy girls tennis teammates like little sisters.

Mattson took care of the family recently in the PIAA Class AA championship tournament in Hershey.

Mattson and first doubles partner Victoria Keller, a sophomore, came from behind to score the decisive point in a 3-2 semifinal win over District 1 champion Lower Moreland.

The Panthers, the two-time reigning WPIAL champion, went on to down District 3 champion Wyomissing, 3-2, for their first PIAA title since 2011.

Sophomore Simran Bedi, who earned the last point in the final in second singles, said Mattson will be missed.

“We haven’t really started talking about next season, maybe because we will be losing our captain,” Bedi said.

Panthers coach Whitney Snyder said Mattson is a great captain, who cares deeply for others.

Mattson said the championship means the world to her.

“It’s crazy to think I’ve been on this team for four years and to see it change with each coming year,” she said. “I knew we had something special.

“The drive this team has really propelled us forward.”

Mattson said the Panthers were determined to win after losing in the semifinals last season.

Sophomores Evelyn Safar and Christina Walton scored twice in first and third singles, respectively, while the second doubles team of sophomores Emma DiSantis and Aleena Purewal notched a semifinal win.

The Panthers advanced to Hershey after blanking District 9 champion St. Marys in the first round. They shut out District 3 runner-up Lancaster Catholic in the quarterfinals.

They finished the season undefeated, including a 9-0 record in Section 4-AA. Among their nonsection wins was a one-point decision against North Allegheny, which claimed its sixth straight WPIAL Class AAA title and made it to the PIAA semifinals.

The Panthers beat Shady Side Academy, the WPIAL Class AAA runner-up, by three points.

It was their second PIAA crown under Snyder, who took over the program in 2007.

“We’re just enjoying the moment,” Snyder said. “It’s extremely difficult to win (a) state championship.”

Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.

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