New-look Quaker Valley girls tennis lineup eager to compete

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Sunday, September 4, 2022 | 11:01 AM


Despite losing seven players from last year’s playoff team, Quaker Valley girls tennis coach Christi Hays believes the Quakers will be a viable contender for a section title this season.

“With Sewickley Academy being moved to a different section, it really opens up our section,” Hays said. “Montour came in second last year and finished third in WPIALs. We came in third in our section and got to the quarterfinals of the WPIAL playoffs before losing to Sewickley Academy.

“So I would say Montour is favored this year, but we will give them a run for their money.”

Hays is counting on QV’s top three players — sophomore Joyce Olawaiye, senior Loren Barnes and freshman Livia Jobbins — to provide her team’s firepower this season.

Olawaiye and Barnes moved up from last year’s No. 2 and No. 3 singles spots to No. 1 and No. 2 this year. Barnes actually was a swing player in 2021, splitting time between singles and doubles.

“It should be a very interesting year,” Hays said. “Losing seven varsity players will be hard to replace, but with the high school format, we just need to win three lines.”

Olawaiye and Barnes are returning starters as is junior Lauren Lenhard, who competed at No. 2 doubles in 2021. Olawaiye and Lenhard are two-year starters.

“Lauren played in the offseason and adds some experience for us,” Hays said.

Barnes has the most varsity experience as the Quakers’ only four-year starter.

“We have a lot of good players this year who can play both singles and doubles, so my expectations for us are pretty high,” she said. “I am very excited for this season, and I think my team is looking great.

“My main goal for us is to get past the second round of WPIALs.”

Barnes is in several AP and honors classes at QV. She is a member of the Key Club, Science Olympiad, student council, school newspaper and prom committee.

The QV senior began playing tennis while in second grade.

“It is one of my favorite things to do,” she said.

Mary Pangburn, a 2022 graduate, competed at No. 1 singles for the Quakers last year.

Hays said one of the team’s pleasant surprises has been the performance of Jobbins, who has secured the No. 3 singles post.

Six other girls have been vying for the other starting positions during what Hays said was “a very competitive preseason.” They are freshmen Jane Lenhard, Parker Barnes and Ava Cowher, sophomores Keira Cowher and Emaan Ashfaq and senior Izzie Murano.

Murano, Keira Cowher and Ashfaq have junior varsity experience, while Ava Cower, Jane Lenhard and Parker Barnes bring middle-school playing time to this year’s squad.

“We have three sets of sisters, which should provide some unusual dynamics,” Hays said. “It will be fun to see how this team develops over the whole season.”

Key players lost from last year include the five seniors, sophomore Kate Hines, who is concentrating on track, and sophomore Katherine Stampfel, who transferred to another school.

Last year, Quaker Valley finished 8-6 overall and 4-2 in Section 5, which included PIAA finalist Sewickley Academy and Montour, a top eight team at WPIALs.

QV entered the WPIAL tournament as the 10th seed in Class 2A but upset No. 7 Greensburg Central Catholic to advance to the second round.

The Quakers are members of Section 5 again this season along with Ambridge, Carlynton, Hopewell, Keystone Oaks, Montour and Winchester Thurston.

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