Sewickley Academy tennis team settles for 4th in PIAA tournament
Disappointed with Sewickley Academy's fourth-place finish at the team championship Saturday, seniors Will Kleeman and Colin Kaye hope for a better outcome at the PIAA Class AA boys tennis doubles tournament, to be held Friday and Saturday at the Hershey Racquet Club.
The pair qualified by winning the WPIAL title last month.
“Colin and I are more doubles-oriented than some of the players we'll meet,” said Kleeman, a three-time WPIAL champion who placed third in the PIAA with Patrick Dellinger a year ago.
Kaye said experience he gained at the team championship will help.
“We ran into some good players,” said Kaye, the WPIAL singles champion last year.
After winning its 10th straight WPIAL title, a deep, experienced Sewickley Academy team was optimistic about capturing the PIAA championship for the first time in seven seasons. But a lack of a dominant player hurt the Panthers in the semifinals, where Lancaster Country Day, the runner-up team from District 3, swept all three singles matches in a 3-1 victory.
Playing first singles, Kaye was held to one point.
Kleeman, nursing a sore wrist, also lost second singles in straight sets.
At third singles, Dellinger, a senior, nearly forced a third set before losing.
The Panthers' lone point came at second doubles, where juniors Danny McCormick and Luke Vith won in two sets.
With senior Hayden Moyer and junior Logan Yee playing, first doubles was not completed after Lancaster Country Day players left early for a graduation ceremony.
Sewickley Academy reached the semifinals after shutting out Windber and Lewisburg, the champions of District 5 and District 4, respectively.
“We lost with sadness because you don't want the season to end,” Sewickley Academy coach Whitney Snyder said. “We fought hard, but (Lancaster Country Day) was tremendously talented.”
“District 3 teams are always good,” Dellinger said.
Dellinger and Moyer hated to see their careers end in defeat.
“I'll miss going to practice and joking all the time,” Moyer said. “We were a close group.”
Dellinger said he also enjoyed his teammates' company.
Sewickley Academy, a three-time runner-up, was PIAA champion in 2006. Last year, the Panthers lost to Wyomissing of District 3 in the semifinals.
Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.