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Sewickley Academy tennis tandem qualifies for PIAA tournament

| Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Sewickley Academy's Samantha Gohh returns a serve during the WPIAL Class AA championship match Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013, at North Allegheny.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Sewickley Academy's Sydney Miggantz returns a volley during the WPIAL Class AA championship match Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013, at North Allegheny.

As Sewickley Academy's senior captains Samantha Gohh and Sydney Miggantz battled for the WPIAL Class AA singles tennis title last week, all coach Whitney Snyder could do was sit back and watch.

“I was a non factor as a coach,” Snyder said. “All I could do was ask if they wanted water because I couldn't tell one player a strategy to beat the other. It would have been unethical.”

What he saw transpire on the court was Gohh defeat her teammate in three sets — 3-6, 6-0, 6-3.

“Being my last year, it is really meaningful,” Gohh said. “I knew it was my last chance. I am really excited to be able to move on to states. It should be a great experience.”

Playing a teammate she has played with and against over the past four years was a tall task for Gohh. She described Miggantz's style of play as more aggressive compared to her more patient style.

“I was a little nervous in the first set,” Gohh said. “We play as complete opposites. We both fought hard, and I think it was pretty evenly matched. I thought I could be patient and let her make mistakes. Luckily it worked out.

“I would be able to know where she would hit the ball sometimes which was helpful. But then again she knew my strokes, too. It was really competitive. “

Miggantz was still suffering from an ankle injury suffered during a match at Rochester on Sept. 10. During the WPIAL championship match, she wore a brace on her right ankle. Defeating Greensburg Central Catholic's Michaele Kluska — the No. 1 seed — the previous day didn't do her any favors.

“I didn't have my usual speed,” Miggantz said. “I have been going to physical therapy every day. I am doing the best I can, but I am still in recovery.”

Miggantz defeated Ellis' Maeva McAllister, 10-1, and South Park's Alyssa Snodgrass, 10-2, during her run to the finals.

Gohh defeated Springdale's Margo Corsetti, 10-1, and Mt. Pleasant's Taylor Bradley, 10-4, before defeating Greensburg Central Catholic's Alyvia Kluska, 6-3, 6-3, in the semifinals.

Both Gohh and Miggantz will move onto the PIAA Class AA tournament, scheduled to be held in November at the Hershey Racquet Club. Both have experience at the event as Gohh qualified as a freshman while Miggantz made the trip last year.

When they realized they would be able to go with each other after their WPIAL semifinal wins, they couldn't hide their excitement.

“We were playing next to each other during the semifinals,” Miggantz said. “We each finished our first sets at the same time. We were just so excited for each other.”

And while it was hard to watch two of his players battle on the court, Snyder said he couldn't be happier to see two players from Sewickley Academy reach the PIAA tournament.

“I am very proud of them,” Snyder said. “It has been an honor to coach them the last four years. They carried themselves with great sportsmanship through the WPIAL singles tournament and both are class acts. It was sad to watch them play against each other, but it is a tremendous accomplishment for any two athletes from any school to be able to represent Western Pennsylvania in the state tournament.”

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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