ShareThis Page

After 13th straight WPIAL title, Sewickley Academy boys turn focus to PIAA tournament

| Monday, May 16, 2016, 1:39 p.m.
Members of Sewickley Academy's WPIAL championship team include, in front, from left, Neil Rana and Ryan Gex; in back, Sam Sauter, Luke Ross, Will Nocito, Don Gex, Brian Rosario, Dylan Parda and Nichant Purewal.
Members of Sewickley Academy's WPIAL championship team include, in front, from left, Neil Rana and Ryan Gex; in back, Sam Sauter, Luke Ross, Will Nocito, Don Gex, Brian Rosario, Dylan Parda and Nichant Purewal.

The Sewickley Academy boys tennis team was optimistic about winning its first state title since 2006 at the PIAA Class AA team championship tournament this week.

The Panthers qualified by capturing their 13th consecutive WPIAL crown May 11.

Panthers' coach Whitney Snyder said his team has the depth to contend.

“We're exceptionally strong at singles,” he said.

The Panthers played a first-round match Tuesday in Monroeville against District 9 champion Brockway.

The winner will advance to the quarterfinals Friday in Hershey, where the semifinals and final also will be held.

Quaker Valley placed third at the WPIAL championship and advanced as well.

Sewickley Academy has been bolstered by the return of junior Luke Ross, a nationally ranked junior player who missed last season to train in Florida.

Ross won his second WPIAL singles title this year.

Ross and juniors Sam Sauter and Ryan Gex were undefeated in singles during the WPIAL team tournament.

Seniors Don Gex and Brian Rosario and sophomore Dylan Parda and junior Neil Rana had unblemished records playing doubles.

Rosario, the captain, expects experience to help the Panthers at the state tournament. They reached the semifinals the past five seasons and were a finalist in 2014.

“Everyone has been on the varsity (before), so we all understand the atmosphere in Hershey and (what's) at stake,” said Rosario, 18, of Moon.

Ryan Gex, 17, of Sewickley Heights was impressed by how easily the Panthers beat Indiana in the WPIAL final.

“I was a little surprised everyone put away their opponents pretty quickly,” he said.

Sewickley Academy (15-5 overall) suffered its only losses in nonsection matches against Class AAA teams. The Panthers were Section 4-AA champion.

Quaker Valley looked forward to competing at the state playoffs for the first time since 2007.

The Quakers met District 10 champion Fairview in a an opening-round match Tuesday in Erie.

Quaker Valley coach Darren Mariano said his squad was eager for an upset.

“If they continue to play at such a high level, their goal of obtaining a state title is achievable,” Mariano said.

The Quakers downed Hopewell by one point in the WPIAL consolation match after losing to Sewickley Academy in the semifinals.

Junior Walter Hubsch, junior Amos Luptak, sophomore Landon Grant, junior Nate Carver, senior Jonathan Reboton, senior Charlie Veeck and freshman Thomas David competed for the Quakers.

Veeck, 18, of Bell Acres was encouraged by the way the Quakers played.

“We know we're a really strong team,” he said.

Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using 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.

click me