Vikings focused on winning, having fun
Mt. Pleasant's girls tennis team will count on sisters April and Taylor Bradley to offset the loss of Shayla Landman and the 87 career victories she piled up over the past four seasons.
Landman advanced to the WPIAL individual tournament in each of her four seasons and is now a freshman and playing tennis at Saint Vincent College.
The Bradleys are expected to fill the top two singles spots. April, a senior, played at No. 2 singles last season, with Taylor, a junior, at No. 3 singles.
The duo combined for 38 wins.
“They're both pretty even,” Vikings coach Tony Splendore said. “They are both good all-around players, but they are different. Taylor likes to come to the net a lot and has a very aggressive forehand. April plays a lot of long, long points. She's more of a baseline player. She doesn't come to the net a lot.”
Junior Paige Hertzog will be penciled in at No. 3 singles.
“Paige is a really good all-around athlete,” Splendore said. “She's also an excellent softball player and she has a lot of athletic ability. She can run down anything. She gets to every ball. Paige is a strong server and has some nice ground strokes.”
At No. 1 doubles, Splendore is looking at the pairing of junior Carmen Kubasky and sophomore Kelly Van Den Wildenberg. Van Den Wildenberg is a foreign exchange student from Germany.
Splendore said the No. 2 doubles spot is still up in the air, with Morgan Sofranko, Haylie Kromer, Carissa Farrell, Kaylie Gamrat, Brooke Lazur and Keri Kunkle in the running.
Mt. Pleasant finished 18-3 overall last season, won the Section 1-AA championship and finished fourth in the WPIAL.
This season, the Vikings will again compete in Section 1-AA, along with Brownsville, California, Derry, Greensburg Central Catholic, Jeannette and Southmoreland.
“I look for Derry and Greensburg Central Catholic to be strong,” Splendore said.
As for his own team, the approach to the season is simple.
“I'm hoping the girls have a lot of fun this year and don't put pressure on themselves,” he said. “If we play with this approach, we can have a successful season.”
Dave Stofcheck is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.