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Sewickley Academy tennis team seeking 4th WPIAL title in 6 years

| Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

The Sewickley Academy girls tennis team (13-4 overall, 12-0 in Section 6-AA) is an overwhelming favorite to win the title at the WPIAL team championship that began last week.

By shutting out Southmoreland, the Panthers advanced to the quarterfinals against Vincentian earlier this week.

The winner will play Beaver or Ellis in the semifinals, also scheduled for this week. Results were not available before this edition's deadline.

“With all our seniors, we have the advantage and are very optimistic,” senior Amy Cheng said.

Senior Jappmann Monga, who won the WPIAL doubles title with Cheng for a second straight year earlier this month, shares her teammate's positive outlook.

“We have a solid lineup and are confident in our ability,” Monga said. “Not only do we work hard during the week, we practice with our private coaches on weekends.

“We want to go as far in tournaments as we can.”

Besides Cheng and Monga, Sewickley Academy features WPIAL singles champion Samantha Gohh and runner-up Sydney Miggantz, both seniors.

Senior Sydney Joseph and junior Riley Roberts, quarterfinalists at the WPIAL doubles championship, also play for the Panthers.

Possessing solid ground strokes, sophomore Lauren Ritz has excelled in third singles, coach Whitney Snyder said.

“Lauren is very consistent,” Snyder said.

Sophomore Cara Dietrich and junior Courtney Cook are reserve doubles players.

Monga said playing some Class AAA teams in nonsection matches helped the Panthers.

Sewickley Academy lost to North Allegheny, Peters Township, Shady Side Academy and Mercyhurst Prep, the defending PIAA Class AA champion.

“We were ready for Class AA opponents,” Monga said.

Opponents agreed the Panthers will be tough to beat.

“We'll be happy just to make it to states,” said Caroline Steliotes, a top player for defending champion Quaker Valley.

The top three finishers in the WPIAL will advance to the PIAA playoffs, scheduled to begin next week.

“It will take a minor miracle to beat (Sewickley Academy),” Quaker Valley coach Christi Hays said.

Runner-up a year ago, Sewickley Academy has been WPIAL champion three times in the past five years. The last time it won was in 2011, when it also was PIAA champion.

Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.

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