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Fox Chapel duo captures WPIAL girls doubles title

| Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Laurel Shymansky, left, and Lacey Cohen.
Laurel Shymansky, left, and Lacey Cohen.
Laurel Shymansky (rear) and her doubles partner Lacey Cohen (front) of Fox Chapel won the WPIAL Class AAA girls doubles tennis title at North Allegheny High School on Thursday, October 3, 2013, over North Allegheny's Maddy Adams and Anni Li.
Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review
Laurel Shymansky (rear) and her doubles partner Lacey Cohen (front) of Fox Chapel won the WPIAL Class AAA girls doubles tennis title at North Allegheny High School on Thursday, October 3, 2013, over North Allegheny's Maddy Adams and Anni Li.

Though they mainly play singles on the Fox Chapel tennis team, sophomores Laurel Shymansky and Lacey Cohen showed they're quite the formidable pair when it comes to doubles.

Last Thursday, they brought home the WPIAL Class AAA doubles title.

What makes the feat more impressive is that they toppled the top-seeded tandem of North Allegheny's Maddy Adams and Anna Li.

And they did it the hard way.

They were down 5-4 in the first set but came back to post a 7-5 win. The second set was tight, too, but Shymansky and Cohen prevailed by a 6-4 score to advance to the PIAA tournament.

“We were doing some things wrong early in the first set,” Cohen said. “We changed things up a little and took control.”

Shymansky agreed.

“We didn't let them take control of the points,” she said. “We played aggressively the whole match.”

Fox Chapel coach Alex Slezak was proud of the pair.

“Both Laurel and Lacey played clutch tennis and controlled the momentum of all their matches, and this was especially necessary in the WPIAL finals,” Slezak said. “In the three weeks leading up to this, I have relentlessly tried to get them to understand how to attempt to keep the momentum going their way or reverse it when it was going their opponents' way.

“In the finals, North Allegheny led early in both sets, but Laurel and Lacey knew exactly what to do to reverse the momentum and were able to come from behind to win each. I have also been talking to them about clutch play and playing under pressure.

“They certainly dove head-first into the pressure of the big moments of the final match and played clutch tennis.

“I am incredibly proud of the work they did on the court together.”

Cohen and Shymansky were well prepared for the showdown.

Cohen said hard work was the key. to the victory.

“We spent a lot of time working on our doubles game over the past few weeks, and we took some doubles lessons,” she said.

“We put a lot of time into it to the point where we thought we had a chance. We weren't cocky, but we were confident.”

Next up for the pair will be the PIAA Class AAA doubles championships.

“We're looking forward to the challenge,” Cohen said.

Marty Stewart is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-782-2123 or

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