Future promising for GCC tennis
After being eliminated in the quarterfinals of the WPIAL Class AA girls tennis team championship last week, Greensburg Central Catholic is looking forward to next season, when many top players return.
“We should be really, really good,” junior Jordan Smithberger, 16, said.
First-year coach Shawn Vimislicky agreed the team has a bright future.
“(A couple teams) we faced had four or five seniors and will be rebuilding,” he said. “We'll be good next year, but probably even better in two.”
A lack of depth hampered the Centurions at the team championship. After shutting out Valley, 5-0, in the first round, they lost to Ellis, 3-2, in the quarterfinals.
Ellis went on to finish third to Quaker Valley and Sewickley Academy. All three teams qualified for this week's PIAA championship.
“In order to beat Ellis, we knew we had to sweep all three singles matches, but we won only two,” Vimislicky said. “They won both doubles matches in straight sets.”
Freshman Alyvia Kluska, at first singles, and senior Kelsey Brown, at third singles, won for the Centurions.
“Everyone played so well,” said Brown.
Smithberger played second singles, with freshman Kate Bryan and junior Mary Taormina forming the first doubles team. Senior Sarah Selip and junior Eryka Verenna competed at second doubles.
With Greensburg Central Catholic eliminated, Kluska, 14, has more time to practice indoors for next week's PIAA singles championship at Hershey Racquet Club. She qualified after placing second in the WPIAL.
“My father (Kluska's coach throughout the year) is getting a lot of matches for me,” she said. “But I'd rather be practicing with the team; I wish we still were in contention.”
Smithberger said she and some other players are considering traveling to Hershey to watch Kluska compete.
“We're so proud of her,” Smithberger said.
“Being a freshman, Alyvia wants support,” Vimislicky said.
The Centurions qualified for the WPIAL team championship after winning the Section 1 title with an 11-1 record. It was the 14th time in 16 seasons they qualified.
From 2006 to 2009, they advanced to the PIAA championship four straight times.
They were eliminated in the first round of the WPIAL championship by South Park, 3-2, a year ago.
Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.