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Sewickley Academy out to avoid unfinished business

| Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Kristina Serafini | Sewickley Herald
Sewickley Academy's Riley Roberts returns a volley during tennis practice Friday, Aug. 16, 2013, at Nichols Field in Edgeworth.
Kristina Serafini | Sewickley Herald
Sewickley Academy's Samantha Gohh returns a volley during tennis practice Friday, Aug. 16, 2013, at Nichols Field in Edgeworth.
Kristina Serafini | Sewickey Herald
Sewickley Academy's Jappmann Monga returns a volley during tennis practice Friday, Aug. 16, 2013, at Nichols Field in Edgeworth.
Kristina Serafini | Sewickley Herald
Sewickley Academy coach Whitney Snyder instructs Amy Cheng during tennis practice Friday, Aug. 16, 2013, at Nichols Field in Edgeworth.
Kristina Serafini | Sewickley Herald
Sewickley Academy's Sydney Miggantz returns a volley during tennis practice Friday, Aug. 16, 2013, at Nichols Field in Edgeworth.
Kristina Serafini | Sewickley Herald
Sewickley Academy's Amy Cheng returns a volley during tennis practice Friday, Aug. 16, 2013, at Nichols Field in Edgeworth.

Sewickley Academy girls tennis coach Whitney Snyder had two words to describe the 2012 season — unfinished business.

“We didn't finish last season like we would of liked,” Snyder said. “This team is highly motivated.”

The squad finished on top of Section 6-AA, tied with Quaker Valley with 11-1 records, after the rivals split the regular-season meetings. The Quakers won the rubber match in the WPIAL Class AA title showdown, 3-2.

“It is always a disappointment when you lose in such a close match,” senior Samantha Gohh said. “We are strong this year though. We have a good chance of winning a championship.”

The Panthers return all nine of their players from last season as the experienced squad sets its sights on having a banner year.

Senior captains Sydney Miggantz and Gohh will be competing for the top singles spots. The duo filled in at No. 1 and No. 2 last season and Sewickley Academy should benefit from their guidance.

“(Miggantz) is very energetic and outspoken in a good way,” Snyder said. “She tells people what they need to be doing. (Gohh) is more quiet but is a hard worker. Both of them play year-round. The other girls look up to them.”

Outside of the top two singles spots, everything is up for grabs. Seniors Amy Cheng and Jappmann Monga will be competing for the third singles spot after teaming up to win the WPIAL Class AA doubles title last season. Sophomore Lauren Ritz also is in contention for the spot.

The rest of the players in the mix include senior Sydney Joseph, juniors Courtney Cook and Riley Roberts and freshman Cara Dietrich.

“Competition is a good thing,” Snyder said. “What you need to preach as a coach is it doesn't matter what number someone is playing. The stronger teams always have their playoff lineup in place by the middle of the season. That's what we want to do.”

Overall, the Sewickley Academy program has 30 girls out this season — a number that has Snyder excited.

“It is a nice opportunity because that is how you develop a program,” Snyder said. “We have 21 girls on the junior varsity level. And they play a hard schedule against a lot of the larger Triple-A teams.”

Snyder said the varsity team will experience a more difficult out-of-section schedule then it has seen in recent years. In addition to Class AAA programs such as North Allegheny, Peters Township and Upper St. Clair, the Panthers will play host to defending PIAA Class AA state champion Mercyhurst Prep. While their record may take a hit, playing against stiff competition will lead Sewickley Academy to its ultimate goal — a championship.

“We always want to win a WPIAL title and state title,” Miggantz said. “But it is a long road to get there. We need to take it match by match.”

“And have some fun along the way,” Gohh added.

Sewickley Academy returns to the court at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, when it travels to Upper St. Clair.

Nathan Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at nsmith@tribweb.com or via Twitter @NSmith_Trib.

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