Peters Township battles past Fox Chapel in WPIAL tennis finals
Thursday, October 17, 2019 | 8:21 PM
After three and a half hours of intense competition, the WPIAL Class AAA girls tennis team championship was decided in one final singles match.
The meet came down to the No. 2 singles confrontation between a pair of sophomores, Fox Chapel’s Carissa Shepard and Peters Township’s Kat Wang.
With the match lasting around 90 minutes, Wang won in three sets to help top-seeded Peters Township to a 3-2 victory over second-seeded Fox Chapel, capturing the school’s first WPIAL championship in the sport since 2012.
It was a rematch of a Sept. 24 regular season matchup which also saw Peters Township triumph, 3-2, in similar fashion.
“I’m not surprised by the results of this match because it was almost identical to what happened in the regular season between the two teams,” Fox Chapel coach Alex Slezak said.
Wang won the first set’s first game and did not give up the advantage, scoring a 6-3 victory. Shepard, however, went on to win the next seven games and took the second set, 6-0.
“I kind of crashed in the second set. My brain was just not in it. My feet were not moving,” Wang said. “But when I came back, I just looked at my teammates in the third set. I was still down 2-1, and I just thought I have to do it for them if anybody. I just did my best and fought for my team.”
Wang rallied to win the third set after being down 1-0 and 3-2 by taking the final four games.
“It feels great to win (the final match), but it wasn’t just me. It was also my teammates,” Wang said. “(Both doubles teams) did great. They both focused hard. It just was nice to do something for my team because they give me so much.”
Both Peters Township doubles teams secured wins as Grace Salus and Baylee Sorrell defeated Fox Chapel’s Katie Voigt and Paige Theoret, 6-1, 6-0, and Bella Englesberg and Emma Scarton topped Anna Ferris and Diya Reddy, 6-1, 6-2.
The Foxes took care of business in the No. 1 and No. 3 singles matches. Fox Chapel senior Charlotte James won over freshman Marra Bruce, 6-2, 6-1 in the top singles match. Freshman Catherine Petrovich defeated Adisyn Moorhead, 6-1, 6-2.
Peters Township coach Phyllis Derienzo said she was impressed with how both teams battled.
“I thought Kat (Wang) played a great first set, but I have to give credit to Fox Chapel. Carissa Shepard played lights out in the second set (of the final match),” Derienzo said. “I thought she played like a line-one player. It didn’t happen the last time we played, so it was a litte bit of a surprise. She brought it.”
She said once they realized Shepard’s play was up to par this time around, she and Wang had to adjust come up with a different game plan.
It means a lot for Derienzo to help guide the girls tennis program to another WPIAL crown, considering she was an assistant coach the last time it happened in 2012.
“This year it is extra special because I have been with these girls for three years and I have helped build up our doubles teams in a unique way,” she said. “You have to be able to depend our your doubles players to win.”
Both Peters Township and Fox Chapel will move on to the state tournament. They will be joined by Upper St. Clair, which defeated North Allegheny, 3-2, in the consolation final.
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