Gateway tennis to test mettle in new WPIAL section
TribLIVE Sports Videos
The Gateway varsity girls tennis team made a move in the offseason, as the WPIAL reduced the number of Class AAA sections and increased the number of teams in each grouping.
Gone are long-standing matchups against Woodland Hills, Penn Hills, Shaler, Shady Side Academy and Fox Chapel.
The Gators say hello this season to new section foes in Franklin Regional, Penn-Trafford, Norwin, Latrobe, Hempfield, Connellsville and Kiski Area.
Plum joins Gateway in Section 1.
“I think things got a little stale with the same opponents,” head coach Rochelle Seilhamer said.
“It's exciting to see different schools and players. Before, you kind of knew what was going to happen. With only playing each team once, the matches take on even more meaning.”
The top four teams from each AAA section qualify for the WPIAL team playoffs, and with only playing each section team once, eight matches will determine the playoff qualifiers.
Hempfield, Franklin Regional and Penn-Trafford were the class of Section 1 last year, and all three qualified for the WPIAL playoffs.
“I'm not sure what Kiski Area has, but I know Franklin Regional always has a strong team,” Seilhamer said.
“Penn-Trafford, Latrobe and Hempfield always have strong players. It will be fun and competitive. It will be interesting to see how we play in the new section this year.”
Gateway has 21 players on the roster this year, up four or five from last year.
Seilhamer only lost two to graduation in starters Kristen Ku and Val Pascoe.
Several players from last year's team return, and Seilhamer will be counting on them to navigate through the first year in the new section.
Returning junior Aishwarya Raj and freshman Abby Herman have been competing for one of the top singles spots this week, Seilhamer said. Preseason practices began Monday morning.
Seilhamer said Herman will have an impact right away.
“When she really concentrates and focuses, she can do a lot,” Seilhamer said.
“She has every shot in the book. She's a lefty who is a big hitter with big ground strokes. She can have a big serve. She's only 13, so she can still add a lot to her game.”
Seilhamer said the two doubles teams and possibly a spot on the singles side of things will be formed from a group of returning players that include seniors Kaylee Steimer, Christie Doege, Rachel Morrow and Bridget Jacob and sophomores Steph Katofsky and Deeksha Sharma
“We have some up-and-coming girls on the team that will make a difference, and there even are a couple of talented players in seventh and eighth grade that we are looking forward to having on the team over the next couple of years,” Seilhamer said.
“Things continue to move in a positive direction.”
Seilhamer said she is not sure if 2013 Section 3-AAA singles champion Sammy Memije will compete for Gateway this season or opt to continue training for junior tennis opportunities.
�Memije blitzed the field in Section 3 singles last year, winning four matches en route to the title.
She won her first WPIAL match against P-T's Charlotte Vertes before having to default because of injury in quarterfinals.
Gateway kicks off its season with an exhibition match Saturday at South Park.
The Gators continue exhibition play next Wednesday at Baldwin and on Aug. 22 at home against West Mifflin before starting section action against Hempfield on Aug. 25 at the Gateway High School courts.
Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media He can be reached at 412-388-5825 or at email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.