ShareThis Page

Another Kissell leading Latrobe tennis team to success

| Tuesday, April 16, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Latrobe tennis player Chad Kissell returns during a match against Hempfield Wednesday, April 10, 2013, at Hempfield.
Brian F. Henry | Tribune-Review
Latrobe tennis player Chad Kissell returns during a match against Hempfield Wednesday, April 10, 2013, at Hempfield.
Latrobe tennis player Chad Kissell volleys during a match against Hempfield Wednesday, April 10, 2013, at Hempfield.
Brian F. Henry | Tribune-Review
Latrobe tennis player Chad Kissell volleys during a match against Hempfield Wednesday, April 10, 2013, at Hempfield.

There is a familiar name leading the way for the Latrobe High School boys tennis team this season.

After his sisters — Michaela Kissell-Eddins, Joelle Kissell and Stacia Kissell — all enjoyed great careers for the Wildcats girls teams before moving on to play for Division I college programs, sophomore Chad Kissell has continued the family success, helping to make Latrobe a candidate to claim the Section 1-AAA crown.

Kissell rolled through the section singles tournament last week, eventually defeating Penn-Trafford's Cullen Price, 6-2, 6-0, to win his second straight title as only a sophomore.

“He had nothing to lose,” Kissell said of Price. “He could've came out fast and got a quick start on me, but I came out swinging pretty hard and everything was going in so I would say it was my day. ... Right from the start, my game was basically on.”

Now in his second season of high school tennis, Kissell has been a big factor in the Wildcats' 7-1 record and admitted that his last name still resonates over opponents, knowing that his sisters, Michaela and Joelle, were once WPIAL champions.

“My first year, last year, every place I went they heard my last name was Kissell and they say ‘Oh no, I hope you're not related to the girls,' ” he said.

But it takes more than one player for a team to be successful, and for the Wildcats, a team where Kissel is its only returning starter from last season, team depth and strong play from underclassmen has been a big reason for its success.

“That's the thing, Chad's our stellar athlete at No. 1. I drop off from Chad but once I drop down to my No. 2, everybody from two down to eight is consistent,” Latrobe head coach Jon Mains said.

Mains credits a recently implemented junior varsity program for his team's added depth, where players such as Mike Sisak, Kyle Mattioli, Mario Fannie, Mike Brooks, Miko Reyes and Tyler Stercho have all stepped up for the Wildcats this season.

While Mains said he believes Kissell is playing the best tennis he's seen him play since he's been coaching him, he also credits the sophomore with raising the play of his teammates.

“Our teammates look up to him, there's no doubt,” Mains said. “They see the type of player he is, the way he carries himself and the other members on the team want to be just like him. Chad's a great kid, if he sees somebody doing something wrong with their swing or with whatever, he will take the time to work with them. It's great having him on the team.”

Kissell added: “I'm always helping out the guys, trying to make them better because we really have an athletic group of guys.”

Kissell, along with a deep and improving group of players around him, now have their sights set on the section championship. While Mains sets the same goals every year, even he has had to raise those expectations this season as his team continues to improve.

“I have the goal every year to want to make the playoffs and have fun, those are my two goals I have with the guys,” Mains said. “Now that we're sitting at (7-1) halfway through the season, we kind of upped that goal and it wasn't just me, it was the whole team that said ‘Let's go for that section championship now that we're this close.' ”

Alex Oltmanns is a freelance writer.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using 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.