Sewickley Academy pair claims section doubles title
Hoping to reach a goal they've had for five years, Sewickley Academy seniors Will Kleeman and Colin Kaye will be bitterly disappointed if they do not qualify for the PIAA Class AA boys tennis doubles championship, to be held May 24-25 at the Hershey Racquet Club.
With the top three finishers advancing, Kleeman and Kaye competed at the WPIAL tournament earlier this week. Results were not available before this edition's deadline.
“Colin and I set a goal playing in tournaments in seventh grade we would make it to states,” said Kleeman, who with different partners has won the last two WPIAL titles.
Last year, Kleeman and Patrick Dellinger finished third at the PIAA championship.
“I'd like to win this time,” said Kleeman, 18.
Kleeman and Kaye qualified for the WPIAL championship after easily winning the Section 3-AA title last week.
After receiving a first-round bye, they shut out Quaker Valley's Dante Piccolo and David Allada, then won their semifinal match after a team from Vincentian retired due to injury. In the final, they beat Josh Raymundo and Aaron Gruber of Mars, 6-2, 6-1.
A junior national platform champion this year, Kleeman has improved greatly since winning the WPIAL doubles title two years ago with Daniel Martchek.
“I'm much more confident,” said Kleeman, who is considering trying out for the team at Lafayette College.
Sewickley Academy coach Whitney Snyder considers Kleeman a natural at doubles, comfortable with any teammate.
“He's a smart, well-rounded player who's not afraid of the net, (who's) able to place his lobs deep into the court,” Snyder said. “Will's always saying it's all about relationships.
“He's outgoing and likes the challenge of working with people.”
Kleeman enjoys playing with Kaye.
“He's very steady,” Kleeman said. “We have a good rapport.”
The WPIAL singles champion last year, Kaye, 18, has made adjustments since switching to doubles.
“I have to get to the net more and am hitting more volleys,” he said. “As a singles player, I'm used to groundstrokes.”
Kleeman and Kaye are top players for a Sewickley Academy team heavily favored to win its 10th straight WPIAL title.
“Will and Colin have a lot of pride and feel they're carrying the torch,” Snyder said. “They're playing at a high energy level.”
Sewickley Academy players have claimed the last three WPIAL doubles championships. In 2010, Grayson Geller and David LaSorda won.
The Panthers' other doubles tandem of Danny McCormick and Luke Vith won a first-round match, 10-0, over a pair from Knoch, but then lost in the quarterfinals, 11-10 (7-5) to Winchester Thurston's Tym Hoban and Charlie Orr.
Quaker Valley's other doubles pairing of Jeremy Baumwell and Matt Stock lost in the first round to Mars' Alex Gruber and Tim Hunt.
Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.