Greensburg Salem girls tennis team looks to improve as season progresses

| Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013, 8:55 p.m.

The Greensburg Salem girls tennis team has already met expectations set forth by coach Riley Jorgenson, even with the season just in its early stages.

The Golden Lions (1-3) have won more matches than last year, when they were winless. Jorgenson's team won its first match since the 2011 season Aug. 27 at Kiski Area, 3-2, in Section 1-AAA action.

“I have been stressing basic fundamentals and the girls have been working on their game. We have been working on our serves and just having fun,” Jorgenson said. “Our team goal was to get a win this year. But since we already got that, we want to get a few more before the season is out.”

The first-year coach has two sophomores, Annie Neurohr and Ashley Neumann, playing first and second singles, respectively. The first doubles tandem in the win over Kiski Area was senior Gracie Smith and sophomore Sarah Schmansky.

“Annie Neurohr has a really strong game. She played second singles last year,” Jorgenson said. “I think she is one of the top girls in the section. I look for her to continue to get better.”

With three of the four top competitors for the Golden Lions being underclassmen, Jorgenson sees an advantage to starting his first year as coach with a young team.

“I guess the younger girls are newer to tennis,” Jorgenson said. “A lot of these girls are new to varsity tennis. The younger girls will hopefully stick with it. If they do, I believe we will be a strong team in the next couple of years.”

The Golden Lions will still look for their seniors to provide the necessary leadership for the younger players, notably team captain Alyssa DeCristofaro and Smith.

“We just picked Alyssa as our team captain. She's on our second doubles team,” Jorgenson said “The senior leadership will be there to help the younger girls improve and hopefully have a good season.”

Greensburg Salem has a difficult section to navigate in order to build a strong program for years to come. But the Golden Lions will use the competitive matches as a tool to continue to get better.

“I think we become stronger competitors by playing someone better than you,” Jorgenson said. “Those teams like Franklin Regional, Hempfield, Penn-Trafford and Norwin put out consistent teams year in and year out. Seeing their consistency makes us want to become a better team.”

With the top competition in the section, the Golden Lions have struggled to 5-0 losses to Hempfield, Penn-Trafford and Franklin Regional, which went 14-0 last season.

Andrew John is a freelance writer.

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