Sewickley Academy duo wins WPIAL title, turns attention toward team tournament
Sewickley Academy juniors Amy Cheng and Jappmann Monga have another matter to take care of before they begin focusing on the PIAA Class AA girls tennis doubles championship Nov. 2 and 3 at the Hershey Racquet Club.
They are competing for the school in the WPIAL team tournament that began yesterday, Wednesday. Co-champions in Section 6, Sewickley Academy and Quaker Valley both qualified.
“Qualifying for states is wonderful, but the main goal is the team championship,” said Monga, 16. “We want to win that more than anything.”
The top seeds at last week's WPIAL Class AA doubles tournament, Monga and Cheng withstood a stiff challenge from Chelsea Carter and Sara Kaminsky of South Park to win the WPIAL doubles final Friday, 6-2, 7-6 (7-5).
Both teams qualified for the PIAA championship. In the semifinals, Mong and Cheng beat Juliana Lapek and Analise Zapadka of Blackhawk, 6-0, 6-3.
“We got complacent,” Monga said. “(Carter and Kaminsky) did a good job in coming back and forcing the (second-set) tiebreaker.
“We took notes to determine ways we can play better.”
Cheng, 16, agreed there is room for improvement.
“We need to come into the net more and communicate better,” she said.
Cheng and Monga, also the Section 6 doubles champions, plan to practice indoors for the PIAA championship.
“First, though, we'll be with the team,” Monga said. “In our spare time, Amy and I will practice together.”
The team-first approach worked well for Sewickley Academy last year, when Logan Antill and Caroline Ross won WPIAL and PIAA doubles titles and the school swept WPIAL and PIAA team championships.
“We're very happy for Jappmann and Amy,” said Whitney Snyder, in his sixth year as Sewickley Academy's girls coach. “They're very (dutiful) and intelligent and fun to coach.
“But the main focus is on the team. They are high school players, not professionals — the school comes first. Winning (the PIAA doubles title) is a secondary goal; doubles takes care of itself in preparation for team championships.”
Friends since ninth grade, Cheng and Monga played on an exhibition basis before officially forming a doubles team this year.
“It's absolutely exhilarating to have won the WPIAL title,” Cheng said. “I'm still stunned that we did.”
Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.