Norwin girls tennis team 'hungry for more' in 2014
TribLIVE Sports Videos
When Norwin girls tennis coach Ryan Hornick reviewed some old district yearbooks over the summer, he realized how significant his team's achievements from the past two seasons were.
“I think (the players have) seen a reasonable amount of steady success the last two seasons,” Hornick said. “We had winning records the last two years, which (after) looking back into Norwin yearbooks, it's been a while since that happened. The girls are excited about that, and they take a lot of personal pride and team pride in what they've accomplished so far.”
Nonetheless, the Knights enter the 2014 season, in Hornick's words, “hungry for more.”
Despite Norwin's success over the past two seasons, the team didn't qualify for the playoffs in either year. The Knights are making that their primary goal in 2014.
“I know how hard these girls have worked, (and) I know the amount of experience they have on their side,” Hornick said. “I think it's very reasonable to have the goal of reaching the playoffs in mind — and not only that, but to see team success as far as winning the section championship and individual success as well in those tournaments.”
Hornick said the team worked hard this summer to prepare itself for the season. Norwin held a month-long tennis camp for the first time featuring players from the high school level all the way down to elementary school.
“This year, we've been trying really hard to get to the next level by doing the month-long camp we did this year, plus practice,” senior Autumn Miller said. “We're really going to try to step up our game this year.”
Starters Alexa Holleran, Courtney O'Connell and Jamie Barca graduated for Norwin, but the Knights return an experienced senior class of five players.
Miller will play singles for Norwin, while seniors Natalie Boczar, Mackenna Bressler, Rebecca Giles and Carson Snyder could see time at singles or doubles. Juniors Mary Hankewycz and Julia Szlis could also play singles or doubles for the Knights.
“All of our starters are pretty evenly matched,” Miller said. “We have a pretty strong team this year, so I'm excited.”
Newcomer Maria Santilli, a freshman, will play No. 1 singles for Norwin. Santilli competes in statewide, regional and national tournaments through the United States Tennis Association, and Hornick expects her to have a major impact in her freshman season.
“She's a very talented player already, but it's going to be exciting to see what she can accomplish throughout this tennis season,” Hornick said.
Norwin will compete in Section 1-AAA with Connellsville, Franklin Regional, Gateway, Hempfield, Kiski, Latrobe, Penn-Trafford and Plum. Unlike past years, Norwin will play section opponents once instead of twice, and four teams will make the playoffs instead of three.
“It's going to be hard, but I feel like some of the teams are going to be good competition,” Miller said.
Norwin began the season with a 5-0 win over Derry on Monday before hosting West Mifflin on Wednesday, past the deadline for this week's edition. The Knights will travel to McKeesport on Friday before opening section play at Connellsville on Monday.
Doug Gulasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-388-5830, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @dgulasy_Trib.
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.