Sewickley Academy, Fox Chapel tandems win WPIAL titles
Nothing could distract Sewickley Academy's Amy Cheng and Jappmann Monga from winning a second consecutive WPIAL Class AA doubles title for girls tennis.
Despite a cameo from the North Allegheny marching band, plenty of wind and sun and stray balls from one of the matches being staged on either side, Cheng and Monga kept their focus and cruised to a 6-2, 6-2 victory Thursday over Beaver's Moriah Bridges and Mattie Taylor.
“Last year we played here, too, so we're used to the surroundings,” Monga said. “We just kept our focus and zoned out everything else.”
Bridges and Taylor never threatened in the opening set but won the first two games of the second before Cheng and Monga rallied.
“We were confident we could come back,” Cheng said. “We always keep a positive attitude. I think that helped us.”
All four players — along with consolation winners Alyvia Kluska and Jordan Smithberger of Greensburg Central Catholic — advance to the PIAA Class AA doubles tournament Nov. 1-2 at Hershey Racquet Club.
While Cheng and Monga appeared unflappable, something that helped them win a second consecutive Section 6-AA doubles title this fall, Beaver coach Riley Baker had a theory why Cheng and Monga kept it together when the Tigers band came marching: They've played in this setting a lot because they're good.
“Their girls were a little steadier than we were,” Baker said. “We played hard. We hit the ball well. But winning games all comes down to who makes the most mistakes.
“We made more mistakes than they did.”
Lacey Cohen and Laurel Shymansky made a few mistakes early in the Class AAA final, but the pair from Fox Chapel rallied to win the final three games of the first set against North Allegheny's Maddy Adams and Anna Li.
That momentum carried over into the second set as Cohen and Shymansky held strong for a 7-5, 6-4 win.
“What went wrong in the first set, we tried to change it and not let it happen again,” Cohen said. “You have to keep your eye on the prize.”
Cohen wedged a powerful putaway barely inside baseline to give Fox Chapel a 5-4 lead in the second set. Shymansky set up the winning point at deuce with a powerful winner from close to the net, splitting Adams and Li.
“We played more aggressively,” Shymansky said. “We didn't let them take control of the points.”
All four players advance to the state tournament. The consolation winners, Natalia Perry and Jenna Bailey of Franklin Regional, do not advance to the PIAA tournament. This marks the first year since 2010 that a pairing from Peters Township did not win the Class AAA title.