Shady Side Academy, North Catholic teams win WPIAL doubles titles

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Wednesday, April 27, 2022 | 9:28 PM


Teams in the WPIAL doubles tennis championships Wednesday faced two obstacles – tough opponents and terrible weather.

The teams that handled the windy, cold conditions the best took home the titles.

The Shady Side Academy duo of David Mnuskin and Sam Bitzer defeated Franklin Regional’s Dhruv Kulkarni and Prerit Yadav, 6-3, 6-3, to claim the Class 3A title. Both teams advanced to the PIAA championship May 27-28 at Hershey.

The Class 2A title went to the North Catholic duo of Brody Golla and Alex Garvey, who defeated South Park’s Tim Lakatos and Alex Duing 7-6 (7-3), 6-3. Those two teams along with the team of Drew Dimidjian and Tony Sparta of Thomas Jefferson, who placed third, advance to states.

Dimidjian and Sparta defeated Mike Cavett and Grady Johnson of Beaver, 6-4, 6-4.

Bitzer and Mnuskin said the weather conditions made it difficult.

“We weren’t going for line. We wanted to keep the ball in play and force our opponents to make the mistakes,” Bitzer said. “We knew we had to deal with the wind and kept on going. We were pretty good at the net and didn’t give away too many points.

“It’s pretty amazing to be a champion. I lost early last year and I really wanted to do it because it’s my last year.”

Mnuskin said winning the title means a lot. He couldn’t play in 2020 because of covid and last year, he had elbow surgery.

“We want to try to take our game to the next level,” Mnuskin said.

The Franklin Regional duo said they found the conditions to be difficult.

“We struggled a lot in the first set,” Kulkarni said. “We battled back, but … we’re looking forward to states.”

Yadav said it was hard to serve in the wind.

“It was hard to volley,” Yadav said. “The ball was moving a lot. We’re looking for states and a clean slate.”

Even though the cold and wind affected some, the North Catholic duo decided to play in shorts and short-sleeve shirts.

They rallied down two set points in the first set for a 7-6 (7-3) win. The win keyed the victory.

“Winning that first set was huge,” Golla said. “It gave us a boost for the second set. I didn’t play that well, but Alex carried me. He really played well.”

The win was huge for the North Catholic team. Covid shut them down in the 2021 tournament.

“We were seeded No. 2 and it was a bummer that we couldn’t play,” Golla said. “We’re excited for the state tournament.”

The Franklin Regional team of Andrew and Aaron Allen won the Class 3A third-place match against the Mt. Lebanon duo of Jack and Luke Wilke, 6-4, 6-4. The third-place team in Class 3A does not advance to the PIAA tournament.

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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