Sewickley Academy defends WPIAL Class AA girls tennis crown

Thursday, October 18, 2018 | 8:09 PM


It was deja vu Thursday at the WPIAL Class AA girls tennis championships.

Sewickley Academy and Knoch met for the title a year ago, with the Panthers claiming the crown with a 4-1 win.

The two met again Thursday at North Allegheny High School, and it was a repeat performance, with Sewickley Academy again topping the Knights, 4-1.

“Knoch is a very good team,” Sewickley Academy coach Whitney Snyder said. “They’re also very well-coached. We had to play well in each match, and our girls played extremely well. What was impressive was how we played despite the youth of the team. My lineup today had one senior and six sophomores.”

The Panthers roared to straight-set wins in the first three matches to clinch the victory.

Christina Walton swept Knoch’s Emma Watson at No. 3 singles, 6-0, 6-1. The second doubles team of Emma DeSantis and Aleena Purewal claimed a 6-0, 6-1 win over Jadyn Brown and Bri Walchesky.

Minutes later, the Panthers’ No. 1 doubles team of Alina Mattson and Victoria Keller won 6-1, 6-4 over Libby Conlon and Alex Jaksec.

Mattson, the only senior on the young Panthers squad, embraced her role as team leader this year.

“I was looking forward to this year,” she said. “I’m proud to be the captain of this team. Last year, we won with a lot of freshmen on the team. We’re still a young team, but we have a sense of maturity on the court. We’re a team with a lot of talent and depth. We were confident that we would reach our goal of another WPIAL title.”

Sewickley Academy’s depth came through, evidenced by the doubles victories.

“Vickie and I each had our serve going and that made things easier,” Mattson said. “Another thing that I think gives us an advantage is that we are traditional doubles players. We don’t play singles. A lot of schools will use singles players in doubles once the playoffs start. We play strictly doubles all year.”

Knoch claimed its only win at No. 1 singles as sophomore Laura Greb, who won the Class AA singles title two weeks ago, defeated Evelyn Safar, 7-5, 6-3.

At No. 2 singles, Sewickley Academy’s Simran Bedi swept Brooke Bauer, 6-2, 7-5.

Both teams qualified for the PIAA tournament, which begins on Tuesday.

Beaver defeated Greensburg Salem, 5-0, in the consolation match and also qualified for the state tournament.

Marty Stewart is a freelance writer.

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