Latrobe girls tennis begins season 'Kissell free'
By Brittany Goncar
Published: Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012, 8:57 p.m.
This year marks the beginning of a Kissell-free era for Latrobe tennis.
“This is my first year without a Kissell on the team,” said Jon Mains, head varsity girls tennis coach. “The Kissell girls are still leaving their mark because they really got the younger girls interested in tennis. The (girls) saw how well they were performing and wanted to go out and do the same.”
The graduation of Stacia Kissell, the youngest of three, ends a legacy at Latrobe High School.
The three sisters, including Michaela and Joelle, combined to win 25 section, WPIAL and PIAA championships from 2003-11.
Alone, Stacia won six of those championships, including the Section 1-AAA singles title in 2010 and 2011 and the section doubles title from 2008-11. She helped Latrobe to a 9-3 mark in Section 1 last season and will be missed this year.
In addition to Stacia Kissell, Mains lost seven starters to graduation and is looking to rebuild, but the returning players aren't worried.
“We did lose a lot of seniors, which has been rough on the team because they were very strong players, but we gained a lot of new experience,” returning senior Brittney Gaia said. “Even though they aren't older, a lot of the younger players are still really good this year. We are just hoping to, instead of relying on all of the seniors to pull through, to just be a more well-rounded team.”
One of those youngsters is sophomore Anna Wears, who is filling Stacia Kissell's No. 1 singles spot. Niki Kusy opens the season at second singles. The doubles pairs will be much harder to arrange. In a 5-0 win over Connellsville last week, Blaire Barnhart played third singles. Senior Laura Toman and Gaia will most likely fill the first doubles spot. Against Connellsville, Mary Beth Bobula and Bella Lane played second doubles.
“I'm getting there, I can't say for certain I'm there, but I can say I'm about 70 percent there,” Mains said. “It's hard. Finding the right doubles teams is always a challenge every year. Finding the girls that play well together. It takes pretty much the first two weeks of practice that we have before I get that right.”
Fortunately, the Wildcats are all on the same page when it comes to their goal of regaining the Section 1-AAA title and how they must accomplish it.
“We're going to have to pull together as a team and be a well-rounded competitor like Hempfield,” Toman said. “We can't just rely on one person to carry the team.”
Kissell or no Kissell, Latrobe is determined to win.
Brittany Goncar is a freelance writer.
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.
- Panthers free agent safety headed to Steelers
- Orpik rises to occasion as Penguins take down Capitals once again
- Penguins notebook: Letang skating, but no return set
- Figure skating coach dies in crash at Washington County Airport
- Obamacare dramatically increases costs for some small businesses
- Police charge Westmoreland County priest in $124,000 theft case
- Curtain call: Final wintry blast due to hit Western Pa.
- Can Pirates star outfielder McCutchen be even better in 2014?
- Starkey: No shame for Robert Morris
- Sandusky’s wife says she believes he’s innocent
- Pittsburgh Mayor Peduto proposes $16M for schools to boost population