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North Allegheny girls capture 1st tennis title

| Friday, Oct. 18, 2013, 9:18 p.m.

As they passed around the WPIAL championship trophy, members of the North Allegheny girls tennis team commented how heavy it was.

While lifting the trophy might have been hard, winning the school's first WPIAL title in girls tennis was easy.

The Tigers downed Shady Side Academy, 4-1, in the Class AAA final Friday at Sewickley Academy.

Both teams qualified for the PIAA playoffs, scheduled to begin next week.

“I was very pleased,” North Allegheny coach Michelle Weniger said. “It's always a difficult match when we play Shady Side Academy.”

The Tigers' only defeat came in first doubles, where Shady Side Academy seniors Lisa Plakseychuk and Amanda Murphy beat junior Tristyn Maalouf and senior Jenn Hofmann, 5-7, 7-5, 6-3, in a match decided after North Allegheny clinched the title.

“It's good we're showing some life,” Shady Side Academy coach Tom Mercer said. “The girls are less nervous knowing they don't have to win.”

Freshman twin sisters accounted for two of North Allegheny's victories.

In second singles, Anna Li beat Emma Perelman, 7-6, 6-3.

Tina Li defeated Lindsey Miller in third singles, 6-3, 6-4.

Senior Maddy Adams completed the singles sweep by downing sophomore Ananya Dua in first singles, 6-4, 6-3.

In second doubles, juniors Sydney Boyd and Catherine Zhang beat senior Maddy Mordoh and freshman Devin Granley, 7-5, 6-3.

In her 10th year as coach, Weniger looks forward to a championship banner adorning the North Allegheny gymnasium.

“I couldn't believe we'd never won WPIALs,” Weniger said. “Right after we won, I sent a message to our athletic director, Bob Bozzuto, preparing him to put up a banner.”

Weniger used the lack of a banner as a way to inspire the team.

Zhang said she drew inspiration while playing by looking at a panel detailing Sewickley Academy's many accomplishments in boys and girls tennis.

“I thought how nice it would be if we had something like that,” said Zhang, adding that winning the WPIAL title was a dream come true.

In Class AA, Quaker Valley defeated Ellis School in the consolation match Friday and will join champion Greensburg Central Catholic and runner-up Sewickley Academy, who played Thursday, in the PIAA tournament.

Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.

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