WPIAL tennis champion Sewickley Academy seeking 2nd PIAA title in 8 years
After winning its 10th straight WPIAL title, the Sewickley Academy boys tennis team returned to basics as it prepared for the PIAA Class AA tournament, which began earlier this week.
Results were not available before this edition's deadline.
“Our serve percentage has to be higher and we have to return serves smarter,” coach Whitney Snyder said. “We'll be brushing up on fundamentals.”
The Panthers advanced after easily winning the WPIAL title last week.
Before beating Quaker Valley, 4-1, in the semifinals and Mars, 4-1, in the final, they shut out McGuffey and Beaver.
Lacking a dominant player, Sewickley Academy is counting on superior depth to help it win its second PIAA title in eight seasons.
In the WPIAL final, the Panthers suffered their only loss in first singles, where Mars freshman Josh Raymundo defeated Colin Kaye, the WPIAL singles champion last year, 6-4, 6-3.
In second singles, senior Will Kleeman held freshman Aaron Gruber scoreless.
Senior Patrick Dellinger beat Tim Hunt, 6-2, 6-1, at third singles.
The first doubles team of senior Hayden Moyer and junior Logan Yee, as well as the second doubles team of juniors Danny McCormick and Luke Vith, also won in straight sets.
“A team can have three outstanding players, but is weak elsewhere,” Kleeman said. “We're solid from top to bottom.”
One of four captains, Moyer likes the Panthers' cohesiveness.
“I've been friends with Colin and Will since lower school,” Moyer said. “We're a tight group.”
“There's a lot of team unity,” Kleeman agreed.
Kaye, who also will play at the PIAA doubles championship with Kleeman, considers the team championship more important.
“Doubles is fun on the side,” said Kaye, a senior.
A three-time runner-up, Sewickley Academy was PIAA champion in 2006. The Panthers were eliminated by eventual champion Wyomissing in the semifinals last season.
With the top three teams advancing, Quaker Valley barely missed qualifying for the state playoffs after losing to Vincentian, 3-2, in the WPIAL consolation match.
Sophomore David Allada (third singles) and senior Dante Piccolo and junior Winter Fondi (first doubles) posted wins for the Quakers.
In second doubles, juniors Hugh Rice and Cameron Fadzen lost in three sets.
Junior Jeremy Baumwell and senior Matt Stock dropped singles matches.
“It was a heartbreaking day,” acting coach Ed Perry said.
Baumwell, Quaker Valley's top singles player, was proud all the WPIAL semifinalists were members of Section 3-AA.
“I hope Vincentian is as happy as we would have been if we had won,” said Baumwell, 17.
Quaker Valley last qualified for the PIAA championship in 2007, when it finished third in the WPIAL.
The Quakers were state champions in 2003.
Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.