WPIAL section singles tennis: Penn-Trafford freshman steamrolls to title

Thursday, September 15, 2022 | 5:05 PM

Penn-Trafford freshman Mia Williams celebrated the retirement of her favorite tennis player Roger Federer on Thursday by winning the Section 1-3A singles title.

Williams did it in impressive fashion as she didn’t lose a game against four opponents over the two days.

She defeated Latrobe senior Avery Massaro, 6-0, 6-0, in Thursday’s finals at Franklin Regional.

Williams also defeated Latrobe freshman Taylor Shanefelter, 6-0, 6-0, in the semifinals on Wednesday after beating Kiski Area senor Lexiann Colaianni, 10-0, and Gateway senior Sophie Hernandez, 10-0.

Franklin Regional junior Ellen Liu defeated Shanefelter, 6-4, 6-2, in the third-place match.

The four semifinalists qualify for the WPIAL Class 3A tournament Sept. 21 at North Allegheny.

“Winning the section title gives me a boost of confidence heading to the WPIAL tournament,” Williams said. “Avery is a good player, and she’s the only player to win a game against me, so I was motivated to beat her.”

Williams defeated Massaro, 6-1, 6-1, earlier this season.

“She’s a really good player,” Massaro said. “She doesn’t make mistakes. I played well at times and didn’t win the point. Playing her makes you better.”

Williams said she still has things to work on before the WPIAL tournament.

She plays with power and can dominate matches with her serves.

“I have to work on my second serve,” Williams said. “It hasn’t been good all season.”

But with her power, she keeps her opponents from attacking the net. She said she learned her one-handed backhand from watching Federer play.

Section 2-3A – In a matchup of North Allegheny teammates, Sara Fernandez defeated Emily Wincko, 6-2, 6-4, for the section singles title.

Section 3-3A – Top-seeded Nichole Poltinnokov of Shady Side Academy defeated Adelaide Kreutel of Oakland Catholic, 6-0, 6-3, in the section singles finals.

Section 4-3A – Maggie Stief of Upper St. Clair, a section singles semifinalist last season, claimed the title as a senior, defeating Sophia Cunningham of Mt. Lebanon, 6-1, 7-5.

Section 1-2A – Top-seeded sophomore Sasha Hoffman of Greensburg Central Catholic won her first section singles title, defeating Sophia Smithnosky of Mt. Pleasant, 6-2, 6-3, in the finals. Hoffman reached the finals by defeating Danielle Dominick of Derry in Wednesday’s semifinals, 6-2, 6-3. Smithnosky topped Valley’s Elisabeth Ervin in the semis, 6-0, 6-3. Ervin defeated Dominick, 6-1, 6-1, in the third-place match Thursday. In Class 2A, the top three finishers advance to the WPIAL tournament next week.

Section 3-2A – The same pair of Knoch teammates met in the finals of the section singles tournament for the second straight year. This time, Emily Greb turned the tables on Ally Bauer. Greb, a junior who came in as the top seed, defeated Bauer, the second-seeded senior, 7-5, 6-0, Thursday at Hampton. It was the fifth straight all-Knoch matchup in the section singles finals. Last year, Bauer defeated Greb, 6-4, 6-3, and went on to reach the WPIAL finals. Hampton’s Grace Stitt defeated Victoria Taylor of Aquinas Academy, 6-1, 6-2, in the third place match. In Class 2A, the top three finishers advance to the WPIAL tournament next week.

Section 4-2A – In a finals matchup of returning section champs, Ashley Close of Sewickley Academy defeated Chloe DeSanzo of Beaver, 6-1, 6-0. Close won the Section 5 title last season before claiming the WPIAL championship the following week. DeSanzo was the defending Section 4 champion. Kirsten Close of Sewickley Academy won the third-place match, defeating Rachel Hardek of Central Valley, 6-0, 6-1.

Section 5-2A – Sophomore Cecilia Gurgel of Winchester Thurston won her first section singles championship, defeating Peja Cruise of Montour, 6-1, 6-1. Joyce Olawaiye of Quaker Valley topped Therese Bernas of OLSH, 6-2, 6-3, in the third-place match.

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at pschofield@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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