Tennis picking up in popularity in A-K Valley
TribLIVE Sports Videos
The A-K Valley might not seem like a hotbed for boys tennis, but it is quietly earning a reputation.
“Section 4-AA, from a WPIAL standpoint, has established itself as a strong section,” Valley coach Rachel Link said. “Last year, the team to beat was St. Joseph. They had a phenomenal showing, not only in our section, but in the WPIAL.”
Last season, St. Joseph captured the section title outright, with a 13-1 record. The Spartans reached the WPIAL team semifinals, finishing fourth in the tournament.
This season, coach Joe Kujawski realizes his situation, but can see a high ceiling for some of his players.
“ I've got some talent,” Kujawski said. “ The kids have been practicing. We're just going to see how they handle themselves in practices.”
Matt Rubright is the only returning senior for the Spartans. The majority of the lineup will be filled with underclassmen.
“Matt was voted captain by the team this year. He's getting them ready,” Kujawski said. “ When you get into a match, and it gets tight, late, it's nice to have seniors.”
Valley hopes to be in that position. Link thinks she might have that type of group.
“I think the coolest part of this group is that they're gentleman, they're scholar athletes, and they want to earn it,” Link said.
Heading up the group is junior Cody Schrecengost.
“He's been working real hard in the offseason,” Link said. “He's a fierce competitor. You see that on the soccer field, and with his individual success in swimming.”
Schrecengost, who will compete at the PIAA swimming championships this week at Bucknell, captured the section singles title, as well as pairing with Adam Barone to win the doubles title.
Rounding out the nucleus of the team is senior captain Colin Shaffer.
Adding to the depth of Valley's roster is senior Josh Frazee, sophomore Andrew Macura, junior Quentin Gatto and sophomore Adam Johnson.
“(Johnson) has wicked athleticism.” Link said. “He loves the sport. He works as hard as he can to improve.”
In Class AAA, Fox Chapel is one of those programs that doesn't rebuild, it reloads. The Foxes once against have a number of key players back.
This year, the Section 3 runners-up return two starters, who have made an impact at both the singles and doubles level.
Senior Ben Short and junior Dylan McCullough reached the section semifinals last spring. The duo paired up for another semifinal run in doubles before falling in the WPIAL bracket.
Kiski Area, the runner-up in Section 1, returns a quartet of players.
Senior Charles Law took third-place in the section singles tournament. He teamed up with fellow senior Thad Paunovich for a run to the section doubles semifinals.
The team of senior Zach Ferraccio and junior Tyler Paunovich also reached the semifinals last season.
Dave Yohe is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Plum, Gateway tennis teams battle in tough section
- North Allegheny, Sewickley Academy girls claim tennis titles