Sewickley Academy doubles champs turn attention to team tournament

| Wednesday, May 8, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

After winning his third straight WPIAL title with a third different partner, Sewickley Academy senior Will Kleeman looks forward to competing at the PIAA Class AA boys tennis doubles championship, to be held May 24-25 at the Hershey Racquet Club.

Kleeman and senior Colin Kaye qualified by winning the WPIAL championship last week.

Last year, Kleeman finished third in the PIAA with Patrick Dellinger.

“As a sophomore, I was happy just to have made it to states,” said Kleeman, who played with Daniel Martchek two years ago. “Last year, I was happy to get on the podium with a bronze medal.

“I keep progressing.”

The WPIAL singles champion last season, Kaye also is optimistic.

“If we play our best, we can beat anyone,” he said.

Experience helped Kleeman and Kaye at the WPIAL tournament, where, in a rematch of Section 3-AA finalists, they beat Mars freshmen Josh Raymundo and Aaron Gruber for the championship, 6-3, 6-2.

“Raymundo and Gruber are quality players, but they got (anxious),” said Kleeman, 18. “They tried to overpower and be perfect.”

In the semifinals, Kleeman and Kaye held Clint Davies and Jonah Cooper of Blackhawk scoreless in straight sets.

Kleeman and Kaye reached the semifinals by defeating Tyler Fox and Kevin Bundridge of Southmoreland, 10-4, after receiving a first-round bye.

“We have some good players,” said Kaye, whose brother, Matt, won the WPIAL doubles title with Parth Sharma in 2008. “Practices are as competitive as section matches.”

Sewickley Academy is favored to win its 10th straight title at the WPIAL team championship, which began earlier this week.

“Our best tennis is ahead,” coach Whitney Snyder said.

“Sewickley Academy is tough to beat,” said acting Quaker Valley coach Ed Perry, whose team lost twice to the Panthers in the regular season. “We'll be fighting for second or third place.”

The top three finishers at the WPIAL championship will advance to the PIAA playoffs this month.

Quaker Valley was WPIAL champion in 2003, the last year a team other than Sewickley Academy won the title.

Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.

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