Brother, sister team up for North Allegheny boys tennis
Family is important to the Isaacses.
It is so integral that Kylie Isaacs wasn't surprised when her brother, Jared, said she should join him on North Allegheny's boys tennis team.
“I didn't really think anything of it other than it would be cool to be on the same team,” said Kylie Isaacs, 18, of Franklin Park. “It didn't seem weird at all because we're close.”
That was nine months ago, when Kylie Isaacs, who knew she would commit to Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, told her family she would forgo her senior season on the girls tennis team in the fall. She instead wanted to play in tournaments to keep up her four-star recruit rating and high local ranking.
She currently is ranked as the fifth-best senior tennis player in Pennsylvania by tennisrecruiting.net, a renowned college scouting site.
Family also is partly she chose Duquesne and why her 16-year-old brother might want to go there, too. The campus is only 20 minutes away from their Franklin Park home, far enough away to get a taste of independence and still close enough for their family to visit.
It also helped that Kylie Isaacs' longtime training partner and friend, Alexa Miller, told her how close-knit Duquesne's eight-player team was.
“I told her it really feels like a family on this team and how it has really helped me overall,” said Miller, 19, of Cranberry Township. “We're with each other every day at practice from the start of September, and we just finished yesterday. It's our own little family.”
While the Isaacs siblings have played on the same team together this spring, they haven't gotten the opportunity to play doubles with each other.
It's a possibility that North Allegheny coach Dom Gliozzi, 57, of Franklin Park said likely won't happen because he paired them with other partners to give two of his doubles teams a good chance to advance to WPIAL's doubles finals.
Kylie Isaacs and sophomore Andrew Xu were eliminated recently in the WPIAL doubles quarterfinals, and Jared Isaacs, a sophomore, and senior Kevin Goth placed second and will compete in states on May 22. Kylie Isaacs previously placed first in WPIAL doubles on North Allegheny's girls team during her freshman year with Mikayla Becich.
The siblings also nearly missed a chance to play against each other in sectional singles competition.
Kylie Isaacs defeated her brother by default for third place after he sprained his ankle before their match.
“No doubts, I wanted to play her and beat her, but things happen,” Jared Isaacs said. “I still try to outdo her in practice.”
Despite practicing with each other with the same coaches for years, the siblings have polar-opposite playing styles.
“Kylie is sort of a super-aggressive baseline player, and Jared is more of a strategic and tactical player,” said their coach from Alpha Tennis & Fitness in Harmar Township, Rob Gregoire, 45, of Sewickley.
Their incompatible playing styles make it hard for them to guess who would win in a real match.
“We've never really played seriously against each other,” Kylie Isaacs said. “We'll do points and stuff, but our games are totally different. I don't know, but he'd be tough to beat.”
Shawn Annarelli is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.