Experience key as Fox Chapel girls tennis team seeks solid season
The Fox Chapel Area High School girls varsity tennis team had a lot of success last season.
The Foxes finished 12-2 in section in 13-5 overall and advanced to the WPIAL quarterfinals.
Individually, Laurel Shymansky won the Section 3 singles title and teamed up with Lacey Cohen to claim the section doubles crown.
Fox Chapel coach Alex Slezak expects the success to continue this fall.
“We only lost one senior to graduation — Maddy Hoffman, who played No. 3 singles for us,” Slezak said. “We will have an experienced group this year and they've been working hard to achieve success.”
Shymansky, a sophomore, will return at No. 1 singles and Cohen will be at No. 2. Senior Kelly Friday will step in at the No. 3 slot.
The doubles teams will consist of pairings of seniors Kaitlyn Schaffer, Elsa Lagerquist and Emily Katz, and freshman Cristina Bermudez.
“With the exception of Cristina, they're all returning starters and letterwinners,” Slezak said. “Despite (Bermudez's) youth, she is a tried and true competitor and will continue to grow throughout the years with her work ethic.”
Slezak said he thinks the singles lineup will be a strength of the squad.
“We're strong top to bottom,” he said. “All three girls have lots of experience and they will lead the team all season long.”
Slezak said he will be paying special attention to Shymansky and Cohen to make sure they avoid any sophomore slump and are able to overcome any pressure of expectations they may experience after their breakout seasons last year.
“I regularly remind them that pressure makes diamonds,” Slezak said.
He also plans work on getting the team's doubles players to improve each time they step on the court.
“Not that they are weak, by any means,” he said. “But I want them to understand the strategy and tactics of doubles at a deeper level.”
Slezak said that, once again, Shady Side Academy will be the team to beat.
“They're always a team that we have tremendous respect for and it's always a section match that we look forward to playing,” he said.
“We want to build on our successes of last year and we hope to improve every time on the court.”
Marty Stewart is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-782-2123 or firstname.lastname@example.org.