Shady Side Academy boys tennis celebrates 1st WPIAL title since ’14

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Saturday, May 15, 2021 | 11:01 AM


All season, Shady Side Academy senior Colin Gramley was hoping at least one tennis match would come down to him.

Turns out, on May 12, in Shady Side’s biggest match of the season, Gramley got his wish.

The Bulldogs were ahead of Franklin Regional, 2-1, in the WPIAL Class AAA boys tennis team championship at North Allegheny and Gramley, along with the No. 2 doubles team of Chase Hartman and Tom Certo, were still on the court with the chance to seal Shady Side’s first WPIAL team title since 2014.

“I’ve been saying it the whole season, I just wanted to be the last one out there,” Gramley said. “So, for it to be in the WPIAL finals of my senior season, there’s no feeling like it. I’m really happy that it did come down to me, and I’m really happy that I could get it done. But at the end of the day, all that matters is that we won as a team.”

Gramley sealed the deal at No. 1 singles when he earned a second-set victory over Franklin Regional’s Anup Nadesan to earn the 6-3, 6-3 victory. But it didn’t come easy as Nadesan almost mounted a comeback in the second set.

Franklin Regional’s senior co-captain won two straight games, and even bounced back from a 40-0 score, to cut the deficit to 4-3. But, Gramley wasn’t going to let the opportunity slip away this time.

“In that moment I was just thinking, ‘We’re back on serve now. It’s all good,’” Gramley said. “I just had to stay calm and put the last two games out of my head.”

Shady Side’s WPIAL title was a lot more than just a win though; it was a redemption story that was two years in the making. Two years ago, when Gramley and fellow senior captain Adeel Piracha were just sophomores, the Bulldogs made it to the WPIAL championship and came up just short, losing to Fox Chapel, 3-2.

The Bulldogs lost to Fox Chapel, 5-0, the year before as well, so for both Piracha and Gramley their WPIAL championship win was special.

“It was great to just get a shot at redemption,” Piracha said. “Sophomore year we got second place, so we finally get a shot to redeem ourselves and get a chance to get the win.”

After Franklin Regional’s Advait Kulkarni took down Shady Side’s Adam Lauer at No. 3 singles, Piracha earned Shady Side’s first point of the match with a 6-4, 6-2 decision over Franklin Regional’s Shrey Ramesh.

Piracha’s point was just the first, but then the No. 1 doubles team of Sam Bitzer and Will Karet came through with the biggest win of the match.

Franklin Regional was hoping to win both doubles matches and No. 3 singles to capture its first WPIAL title. But, after taking the first set 6-4, Bitzer and Karet cruised to a 6-1 second-set victory.

“That was massive for us,” Shady Side Academy coach Sam Miller said. “We knew coming in, despite not playing Franklin Regional in the regular season that they were strong top to bottom and it was going to be a battle. We knew No. 1 doubles was probably going to be the match it was going to come down to. So that was special because those two have gotten better every day this season.”

Shady Side’s title was the eighth in program history. The Bulldogs now move into the PIAA tournament in hopes of bringing home the third PIAA title in school history.

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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