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After runner-up finish, GCC freshman tennis player looking forward to states

| Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012, 9:03 p.m.
Christopher Horner
Greensburg Central Catholic's Alyvia Kluska competes in the WPIAL Class AA final match on September 21, 2012. Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Christopher Horner
Greensburg Central Catholic's Alyvia Kluska competes in the WPIAL Class AA final match on September 21, 2012. Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review

Greensburg Central Catholic freshman Alyvia Kluska expects to be less nervous at the PIAA Class AA girls tennis singles championship than she was at the WPIAL championship.

The PIAA championship will be held Nov. 2-3 at the Hershey Racquet Club. Kluska qualified after finishing second in the WPIAL last month.

“I was very nervous at WPIALs,” she said. “At states, I'll be thinking I've already made it this far and won't be as jittery.”

Greensburg Central Catholic coach Shawn Vimislicky sensed her nervousness.

“She was quieter than usual,” he said.

Kluska looks forward to playing indoors at the PIAA championship.

“I prefer playing indoors,” she said. “You have better control of the ball. The elements aren't a factor.”

In the WPIAL final, which was played outdoors, Quaker Valley senior Spencer Caravaggio handed Kluska her first loss of the season, 6-1, 6-1.

Caravaggio, who won her second WPIAL title in three seasons, was worried about Kluska, the Section 1 champion, upsetting her.

“Everybody kept talking about what a good player she is,” Caravaggio said. “For a freshman, she is very good.”

Kluska beat Sewickley Academy junior Sydney Miggantz in the semifinals, 6-4, 6-0, after eliminating Reed Kegel of Ellwood City in the quarterfinals.

Kluska is practicing hard for the PIAA championship.

“My strong point is my serves,” she said. “What I really have to work on is maintaining my focus.

“I'll make a good shot. Then, I will get flustered when the ball is returned to me.

“With my father, I'm practicing four to five days a week, two hours each day. He's been helping me a lot on setting up points.”

A standout on the Greensburg Central Catholic boys team in the early 1980s, Michael Kluska coaches his daughter in junior tournaments throughout the year.

Kluska, 14, ranks 30th in the girls 16 singles division in the Allegheny Mountain district of the United States Tennis Association Middle States section. Allegheny Mountain consists of 24 Western Pennsylvania counties and four counties in the panhandle of West Virginia.

Kluska's sister, Michaela, 13, ranks 24th in the same division among Allegheny Mountain players.

“Michaela and I are really looking forward to next year, when she will be a freshman (at Greensburg Central Catholic),” Kluska said. “We're aiming for the section and WPIAL championships.”

Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.

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