Greensburg Central Catholic sisters emerge as top tennis contenders
By Jason Mackey
Published: Sunday, Sept. 15, 2013, 10:45 p.m.
Latrobe had the tennis-playing, title-winning Kissell sisters.
Greensburg Central Catholic belongs to the Kluskas.
Freshman Michaela Kluska won the Section 1-AA singles title for girls tennis at Mt. Pleasant last week by outlasting her older sister Alyvia, a sophomore, in three sets 4-6, 6-2, 7-6.
Both enter Wednesday's WPIAL Class AA singles tournament as top contenders — Alyvia Kluska won the Section 1-AA title last year and advanced to the WPIAL final — and could meet again in the championship.
The sisters don't necessarily look forward to playing each other, at least outside of practice. And their parents, Melissa and Dr. Michael Kluska, a plastic surgeon in Greensburg and a lifelong tennis player, don't particularly enjoy watching.
“It's tough on all of them,” GCC coach Shawn Vimslicky said after the section final. “The mother … I don't think she has any fingernails left. I think she chewed them all off.”
Michael Kluska played tennis at GCC and Washington & Jefferson and started taking the girls to a neighborhood court when they were 7 or 8 years old, he said.
It was then that Michaela and Alyvia began to realize they had opposite games. Alyvia was the aggressor, eager to play at the net and quickly finish points. Michaela outlasted opponents, trading ground strokes and forcing them to make mistakes.
“She's always been someone who's been very good at hitting those deep, top-spin balls,” Alyvia Kluska said. “I always know I have to get one more ball in than her because she's very consistent.”
Alyvia said she's the shy one. Michaela is more outgoing.
“I'm definitely the more competitive, feisty and outgoing of the two of us,” Michaela said.
Alyvia Kluska faced little resistance last year before running into WPIAL champion Spencer Caravaggio of Quaker Valley, a player she lost to 6-1, 6-1. Kluska won once in the PIAA tournament before getting shut out by Audrey Ann Blakely of Wyomissing.
Michaela has routinely challenged Alyvia and vice-versa, often resulting in lengthy matches.
“It's tough for them,” Michael Kluska said. “It's a big challenge. It's much tougher to play each other than to play a match against someone who's not family.”
Perhaps the most interesting part of the relationship is that sometimes the Kluska sisters are not competitive at all: Even at USTA Middle States tournaments, it's not uncommon for one sister to forfeit to avoid playing the other.
Given how successful the Kluskas have been, there figures to be a few more nervous days for Michael and Melissa Kluska.
“I told my girls, ‘The best thing that could happen to us is that we do this three times this year.' ” Michael Kluska said. “If that's the worst of the experience, we're doing OK.”
Jason Mackey is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @Mackey_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Penguins stave off Ducks’ shooting barrage to win in shootout
- Steelers restructure Brown’s contract to become salary cap compliant
- Trade to Penguins caps frenetic period for winger Stempniak
- Roundup: Compensation reduced for BNY Mellon’s CEO; J.C. Penney ex-chief Ron Johnson didn’t get severance; more
- Penguins notebook: Maatta leaves lasting impression with Selanne
- Karns City’s defense shines in PIAA first-round victory
- Greensburg woman accused of assaulting nurse in Excela Health Westmoreland Hospital
- Minorities crucial to filling Marcellus shale gas drilling jobs
- Unity woman loses appeal of DUI conviction
- Web of surveillance videos helps ensnare suspect in East Liberty slayings
- Pirates seek to tap Alvarez’s remaining upside