TribLIVE

| Sports


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Derry tennis team records historic season

Submitted photo The senior members of the Derry girls tennis team, from left, Courtney Watt, Felicia Pawlik, Breana Liberoni, Laura Kowalik, Lauren Campbell and Rachel Henderson celebrate the end of the season with coach Tom Tatone.

About The Tribune-Review
The Tribune-Review can be reached via e-mail or at 412-321-6460.
Contact Us | Video | Photo Reprints
Top high school sports

By Brittany Goncar

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012, 8:56 p.m.

The Derry girls tennis team's playoff run came to a close earlier this month in the WPIAL Class AA quarterfinals when the Trojans fell, 5-0, to defending state champion Sewickley Academy, the tournament's top seed and eventual WPIAL runner-up to Quaker Valley.

Despite the loss, the Trojans made history in a season that ended 11-7 overall and 10-2 in Section 1-AA. The first time Derry appeared in the quarterfinals was in 2010 when they lost to South Park, 3-2.

“We wanted to go further in the playoffs and extend our season,” senior Breana Liberoni said. “When we got to Sewickley Academy, it was like a wall. We stayed determined and focused as long as we could. We made it to the playoffs and that was our goal.”

Coach Tom Tatone was impressed with his team's play against Sewickley Academy.

“I was impressed with our ability to lengthen rallies and extend games the way we did,” Tatone said. “There is no doubt they left it all on the court.”

No. 1 singles player Felicia Pawlik got a rematch with Samantha Gohh, who she lost to in the first round of the WPIAL Class AA singles tournament. Last off the court, Pawlik took the match to deuce five times before falling 6-2, 6-2.

“When you play a team like that there is always a ball that is going to come back to you,” Tatone said. “They didn't shy away from it. I was really proud of them.”

This year the Trojans defeated Vincentian, 3-1, in the first round — Vincentian defeated Derry, 3-2, in the first round in 2009.

Laura Kowalik recorded the first home playoff win for Derry at No. 3 singles by defeating Sylvia Ciocca, 6-3, 6-0. Pawlik's loss at No. 1 singles tied the match 1-1, putting pressure on Liberoni in third singles and the doubles teams, which proved to be no problem.

Derry fought hard and remained undefeated in section until facing off with Greensburg Central Catholic for the second time. Tied for first place, Derry had to win its last two matches. The Trojans lost 3-2 to Mt. Pleasant in a match that lasted so long they were forced to put the lights on. They also fell to GCC, 4-1.

Regardless, the runner-up finish was an accomplishment for the Trojans.

“Our determination helped us,” senior Rachel Henderson said. “We know that teams that have beat us in the past are good, but we know we can beat them. We have a better skill set. We believed it. We never gave up.”

Finishing second and losing in the quarterfinals was bittersweet for the Trojans who will lose seven seniors this year, including five starters.

“Now that the season is over we are all stepping back and realizing how much history we made,” Liberoni said. “We didn't realize that during our season. We kept going because we wanted to do as much as we could. Now, we are actually realizing how much we did for the school and the tennis team.”

Brittany Goncar is a freelance writer.

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. East Allegheny counselors receive national recognition
  2. Kovacevic: Panic over Pirates? In April?
  3. Patience pays off as starting pitcher Volquez gets 1st win for Pirates
  4. Undersized rookie Gibbons is blur on ice for Penguins
  5. Murrysville woman sues Giant Eagle over burns
  6. Hempfield church offers rides to shut-ins for Holy Thursday service
  7. Work on tournament-class dek hockey rink in Bloomfield to begin
  8. Officials in North Versailles fed up littering
  9. Penn State has hand in discovery of most Earth-like planet yet
  10. Pens insider: Penalty killing a concern in Stanley Cup playoffs
  11. Rice cornerback among 3 draft prospects to visit Steelers
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.