Winning reputation to uphold for Franklin Regional girls tennis

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Friday, August 30, 2019 | 8:09 PM


The Franklin Regional girls tennis team is planning a return to the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs, but the Panthers have work to do, even with a large team.

Franklin Regional coach Howard Fisher said junior Hannah Yan, at first singles, is the only player to return to her position.

“We’re aiming to equal our third-place finish,” Fisher said.

Franklin Regional is off to a 1-2 start. Among the losses was a shutout against Latrobe, the defending Section 1 champion.

Freshman Hannah Zheng and seniors Nandini Rastogi and Ana Boyle are other singles players for the Panthers.

Boyle and sophomore Sarah Gardner are being considered for the first doubles team.

Five players split second doubles: senior Manali Badwe, junior Ananya Jadia, junior Abigail Krieger, sophomore Natalia Albamonti and senior captain Jenny Xu.

Fisher said Yan’s game has improved since last season, when she placed third in the section singles championship tournament for the second consecutive season and qualified for the WPIAL championship.

“Her groundstroke consistency in rallies appears to be better,” Fisher said. “Hannah is more adept at using successful singles strategy and has developed a solid net game to complement a serve-and-volley game.”

Yan said she expects to place in the top two in the section and hopes to have a good run in the WPIAL singles championship.

“I am excited to see what this season produces for me,” Yan said.

Fisher said Zheng is an up-and-coming player with solid groundstrokes.

Senior captain Ava Kruck and seniors Morgan Lowe, Rachel Kochanowski and Alexa Petrucci and junior Divya Hegde are on the varsity.

With 15 varsity players and 13 JV players, the Panthers have their largest team in years.

Xu said the Panthers have a reputation to uphold.

“Being invited to the WPIAL (Class) AAA team tournament many years in a row and placing third in (the) section last year, we want to do the same, or even better,” Xu said. “It’s been great this year as captain to be able to incorporate ideas and make them happen.”

Kochanowski said all of the girls have enjoyed getting to know one another.

“I’m very thankful to be playing with such amazing girls,” she said. “I feel that we have the potential to make this season a good one.”

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