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New coach excited to see what Plum girls tennis team can do in 2013

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Gary Bills | For The Plum Advance Leader
Senior Brittany Sembower returns to the No. 1 singles position for the Plum varsity girls tennis team in 2013.
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Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
 

Rosemarie Stashko is no stranger to coaching tennis at the high school level, spending 15 seasons involved with programs at Penn-Trafford, Hempfield, Chartiers Valley and McKeesport.

Now, the tennis administrator at The Club in Monroeville hopes to make an impact on the girls tennis program at Plum.

Stashko was hired as the new Mustangs varsity girls coach in July when Lori Senkewitz stepped away from the position.

Senkewitz also resigned as the boys head coach, and Stashko said she's interested in that job as well.

Stashko's son, Cullen Price, is a senior and the No. 1 singles player at Penn-Trafford, and she hopes that if she is hired as the Plum boys coach, she could work something out where she could see some of her son's matches, as well.

In only a few weeks as the Plum girls head coach, Stashko said she is impressed with the talent on the 13-player squad.

“I am very excited about them,” she said. “It is a very consistent group. They all worked hard the first week. It's a deep lineup, and it was good competition for the starting positions.”

Three starters were lost to graduation from last year's team that went 6-8 in Section 3-AAA.

Those six section wins included a home-and-home sweep of Gateway.

Plum opens Section 3 action Friday at WPIAL power Fox Chapel at 3:30 p.m., and the Mustangs host Shady Side Academy on Monday at 3:30 p.m.

Shady Side Academy finished as the WPIAL runner-up in AAA in 2012 and qualified for states.

Returning to the top of the lineup is No. 1 singles player Brittany Sembower, a senior.

“Brittany is a very consistent player,” Stashko said.

“She fights her way through challenges with determination.”

Junior Ashley Alpino, a doubles player last year, has moved into the No. 2 singles spot, while senior Maria Campbell returns with varsity experience and will play No. 3 singles.

Senior Danielle Davido and junior Emily Matisko are at No. 1 doubles, with sophomores Angela Campbell and Emily Yester pairing up at No. 2 doubles.

Sembower made the quarterfinals of the Section 3-AAA singles tournament last season, while Maria Campbell, Davido and Alpino played in the quarterfinals of the section doubles tournament.

Yester gained some varsity experience early in her freshman season while filling in for the now-graduated Christen Kraemer when Kraemer was out of the lineup because of a shoulder injury.

Stashko said sophomore Peyton Clair and junior Kaylie Gessler have looked good in early-season workouts and possibly could challenge for time in the varsity lineup as the season progresses.

“We played a lot of matches last week, and the girls worked hard to earn their starting positions,” Stashko said.

Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5825 or at mlove@tribweb.com.

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