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Gateway tennis aims for playoff berth

| Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017, 11:00 p.m.

Last year, the Gateway girls tennis team fell behind the 8-ball with a rocky start.

Although they were able to improve throughout the season, the Gators still missed the WPIAL playoffs by one victory.

“We almost beat Norwin last year,” coach Rochelle Seilhamer said. “If we pulled that out, we probably would have made the playoffs.”

Seilhamer is entering her eighth season as the Gators' coach and has her team off to a better start.

Through their first three matches, the Gators are 2-1 overall and in Section 1-AAA.

The Gators lost their first match of the season, a 4-1 defeat against Hempfield. Senior Abby Herman picked up the only win for Gateway in the No. 1 singles match.

“That was a bad loss,” Seilhamer said. “I expected the girls to do better than that.

“Abby has been fantastic. She is really motivated. She is a senior and is looking forward to playing this year.”

The Gators were able to bounce back with back-to-back 3-2 wins against Greensburg Salem and Penn-Trafford.

One aspect of their game the Gators have struggled with in the early part of the season is in their doubles matches. A lot of the inconsistencies have stemmed from the turnover from last year with half of the roster being first-time varsity players.

“I don't have any doubles, which is hard,” Seilhamer said. “We have girls, but they don't know how to play doubles. I am still trying to get them to play doubles. They are getting it slowly but surely.

“We have good athletes playing doubles, but it is a different type of game.”

One thing Seilhamer said she is confident about is knowing there has been turnover with every team in the section, and with already two key wins in the section, a playoff spot is in the cards for the Gators.

“Everybody lost people, and the numbers are done,” Seilhamer said. “I am hoping to make the playoffs. They take four teams. I think we will be either the third or the fourth.”

Drew Karpen is a freelance writer.

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