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Penn-Trafford tennis team still in playoff hunt

| Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012, 9:08 p.m.
Penn-Trafford Star
Penn-Trafford sophomore Rahcel Ford hits a forehand return during the Warriors' section match against Franklin Regional on Monday, Sept. 10, 2012. Matt Grubba | Penn-Trafford Star

With a 5-2 record in Section 1-AAA play, the Penn-Trafford girls tennis team is in position for a return playoff trip.

The Warriors fell, 4-1, at home against section-leading Franklin Regional on Monday, but their two losses leave the team in a tie for second place as the team prepares to face its section opponents for a second time.

The doubles team of Dana Kelly and Sarah Rupchak got P-T's win, 7-5, 6-3, against the Panthers duo of Brittany Weiner and Grayce Behnke, while the other doubles team of Melanie Loughner and Hannah Phillips fell by the slimmest of margins to FR's Victoria Zhang and Sana Seth, 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (9-7).

FR swept the singles matches in straight sets, however, as the Panthers' top players bested P-T's.

“They were good, but I thought we had a chance to beat them,” Penn-Trafford senior Alexis Ryan said. “They turned out to be a little tougher than I thought they'd be.”

Despite the setback against the undefeated Panthers, Penn-Trafford remains in a strong position.

The team's only other loss came at home on Sept. 4 against Latrobe, 3-2, while the team picked up a win over defending section champ Hempfield, 4-1, last Thursday. Those teams, plus Franklin Regional and P-T, teams appear to be the ones in the mix for the three playoff spots from the section, which means the rematches among those four have added importance.

“We can still improve on our hitting and our serves. We just have to keep our heads up,” Ryan said. “I think we can beat Latrobe. We almost had them the first time, and we have to focus on Hempfield and Franklin, the next time.”

The Warriors had only one other match scheduled for this week, at home against Kiski Area on Wednesday, after this edition's deadline. Ryan and No. 1 singles player Charlotte Vertes also are slated to play in the Section 1-AAA singles tournament, which begins Thursday at noon at Franklin Regional.

Matt Grubba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5830 or mgrubba@tribweb.com.

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