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Westminster tennis team is enjoying success

| Friday, Oct. 21, 2011

Scott Renninger has been a college coach for more than four decades, but before this women's tennis season, the Westminster legend could count the number of undefeated seasons he's had on one hand.

Not anymore.

Under the guidance of someone known around New Wilmington simply as "Scooter," Westminster (15-0, 9-0) recently wrapped up the first undefeated season in program history, which also included the Titans' first win over Grove City since Oct. 3, 1994.

Beginning today at the Pennbriar Athletic Club in Erie, Westminster will try to dethrone the Wolverines (10-4, 8-1), who have won the past 24 Presidents' Athletic Conference titles, when it matters most.

"The reason (Grove City) has had such success is that they expect to win," Renninger said. "That's what we hope our kids are beginning to feel a little bit, without being arrogant, without being overconfident. Just expect to play well, expect to win."

Westminster has gotten used to playing second fiddle to its neighbor on the other side of Interstate 79. From 2006-10, Westminster went 0-5 against the Wolverines, 26-0 against the rest of the PAC, finishing second each season. Worse, over the past 17 years, the closest match between the two was a 7-2 Grove City win in 2004.

That was, of course, until Sept. 29, when the Titans eked out a 5-4 win in New Wilmington, a decision that was only finalized when Westminster's Heather Santa won a third set at No. 5 singles, prompting her teammates to storm the court.

Franklin Regional graduate Alex Bailey won at No. 2 singles, and later, along with Caitlin Hosler, helped Westminster to another victory at No. 1 doubles.

"We just couldn't believe that we beat them, because that's we've wanted to do for so many years," said Bailey, whose father, Bill, holds all-time and single-season wins records for Westminster tennis. "They've always been the team to beat."

Did he sell popcorn, too?

Although the Thiel football team suffered a 20-0 loss at Bethany this past Saturday — its 18th straight loss dating to the 2009 season — blaming junior defensive standout Tim Taylor (Erie Cathedral Prep) would not be prudent. Taylor finished with 10 tackles, including seven for a loss. He also had a head-turning 4.5 sacks and forced a fumble, a day to remember that landed Taylor a spot on the Team of the Week.

Score two for the little guys

St. Vincent senior Ivette Mejia won the Gettysburg College Invitational this past weekend, completing the 6K course in 23 minutes, 24 seconds, the top time in a 360-runner field.

Earlier last week, Robert Morris women's volleyball knocked off Pitt, sweeping the Panthers for the their first victory in a series that began in 1975.

Rank and file

The West Virginia rifle team moved up to No. 2 in the College Rifle Coaches Association (CRCA) rankings ... Penn State wrestling debuted at No. 1 in the InterMat Wresting preseason rankings ... Two-time Northeast Conference women's swim and dive champion St. Francis (Pa.) was picked to finish first in the NEC's preseason poll.

Last call

Carnegie Mellon football will try for its 500th all-time win Saturday, when it travels to Wittenberg ... Trevor Moore, Patrick Smith and Corbyn Tao-Brambleby, the top three scorers in Robert Morris men's lacrosse history, were the only NEC players selected in the National Lacrosse League Draft ... Carrie Talkington, a senior middle blocker on the Bethany women's volleyball team, recorded her 1,000 career kill last week ... Norwin graduate Chrissy Marcius has 13 assists for the Washington & Jefferson women's soccer team, which is a school record and good enough for second in NCAA Division III.

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