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Fox Chapel's Nord, James defend WPIAL doubles title

| Friday, Oct. 20, 2017, 5:48 p.m.

Though Fox Chapel's Amanda Nord and Charlotte James are singles players for most of the girls tennis season, they certainly are no strangers to WPIAL doubles tournaments.

They teamed up to win WPIAL and PIAA championships last year, and they claimed their second straight WPIAL Class AAA doubles title Friday afternoon at North Allegheny.

The Foxes tandem defeated Pine-Richland's Melissa Vizcardo and Alyssa Sarver, 6-0, 6-2, in just 45 minutes. Nord played Vizcardo in singles during the WPIAL playoffs and won while James faced Sarver twice in singles, winning both matches.

“It's completely different playing doubles,” Nord said. “We can't go by how we played them in singles.”

It was their first doubles match facing each other.

“They came ready to play,” FC coach Alex Slezak said. “They were confident going in, and they put on a doubles clinic out there.”

For Nord, it was her fourth straight WPIAL doubles crown. In 2014 and 2015, she teamed with current Duquesne tennis player Laurel Shymansky.

Vizcardo and Sarver tried to make a match of it. After trailing 3-0 in the second set, they broke Nord and held their own serve. Nord and James immediately broke back and swept the final three games.

“I was a little nervous,” James said. “But I got over it quickly. Our game plan was to be aggressive and we were. I thought we played well throughout the match. Our first serves and volleys were good all the way through. I'm so glad for Amanda to win her fourth. Aside from being doubles partners, we're good friends.”

Nord admitted to a slight case of nerves before the match.

“I rarely get nervous, but I was a little bit today. Maybe it's because this was my last chance to win another WPIAL championship. I was a little timid in the beginning, but then I started to play more aggressively. We wanted to keep the pressure on them.”

“They were definitely the aggressors,” Vizcardo said. “We let them have too much. They played very well.”

Next up for Nord and James will be the PIAA doubles tournament Nov. 3-4 in Hershey.

“That would be a great way to end my senior year,” said Nord, who is seeking her third straight state title.

“We'll enjoy this for a day or two,” James said. “Then we'll start practicing for states.”

In the Class AA final, Indiana's Kelsey Heckert and Lauren Bertig rallied for a thrilling three-set victory to defeat Neshannock's Crista Nativio and Abbey Demofonte. After opening with a 6-3 first-set victory, the Indiana pair lost 3-6. With the third set tied 6-6, Heckert and Bertig won the tiebreaker 7-2 to clinch the victory. Both tandems advance to the PIAA tournament.

In the Class AAA consolation match, Montour's Isabela Paixao and Isabella Sudowski qualified for states with a 3-6, 6-1, 7-5 win over Mt. Lebanon's Golda Gershanok and Katherine Izzo. In Class AA, Beaver's Devyn Campbell and Sydni Lewis moved on to the PIAA tournament by defeating Sewickley Academy's Lydia Elste and Alina Mattson, 6-3, 6-2.

Marty Stewart is a freelance writer.

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