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Franklin Regional freshman Perry places third at WPIAL singles

| Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2012, 9:14 p.m.

Franklin Regional freshman tennis player Natalia Perry made some noise in her first WPIAL tournament.

Perry advanced to the semifinals of the WPIAL Class AAA singles tournament before losing to eventual champ Callie Frey of Mt. Lebanon, 6-1, 7-5, but bounced back in the consolation match to defeat Yvon Martinez of Canon-McMillan, 6-0, 6-2, for third place.

Perry won her first-round match easily by defeating Chloe Grzyb of Peters Township, 10-1, but she then faced a tough challenge from North Allegheny's No. 2 singles player, Maddy Adams. Perry escaped as the winner of the closest quarterfinal match, 10-8, which set up her semifinal against Frey.

The semifinals were the last round played Thursday at Norwin, and Perry got the chance to return for the third-place match Friday at North Allegheny.

Perry's win in that match makes her the first alternate from the WPIAL to the PIAA singles tournament, as only the top two finishers advance from Class AAA.

Perry was the only competitor to advance from Section 1, as Penn-Trafford sophomore Charlotte Vertes and Hempfield junior Madison DeBone both were eliminated in the first round.

Vertes fell against North Allegheny's No. 1, Kylie Isaacs, 10-1, and DeBone was topped by Pine-Richland's Marlys Bridgham, 10-4.

On the team front, Franklin Regional is closing in on a section title after another 5-0 win Monday, this time over Greensburg Salem. FR is now 11-0 overall and in section play, and clinches at least a share of the section title with one victory in its final three section matches.

The Panthers — Perry, Lauren Bailey and Jenna Bailey in singles and Brittany Weiner, Victoria Zhang, Hayley Lee and Manal Piracha in doubles — did not drop a set against the Golden Lions.

The team next will send players to the Section 1-AAA doubles tournament, which begins at 11 a.m. Thursday 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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