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Sewickley boys tennis team earns PIAA Class AA title

| Saturday, May 21, 2016, 9:36 p.m.

HERSHEY — It has been a decade-long quest, but coach Whit Snyder and Sewickley Academy have a second PIAA team tennis title.

The Panthers swept District 3 champion Wyomissing, 5-0, on Saturday in the Class AA championship match at Hershey Racquet Club. It was a rematch of the 2014 final won by Wyomissing.

SA captured its first state trophy since Snyder's 2006 team beat Moravian Academy, 4-1. The Panthers had made three subsequent finals appearances and had come up empty. That changed Saturday with a dominating performance against the Spartans, who was making their eighth consecutive AA state championship appearance.

“We had nine kids who were in the starting lineup this year, so it's not just the seven who were here today,” Snyder said. “The strength of our singles lineup this year was just exceptionally strong. And the depth of doubles and how well our number one and two dubs came together at the end of the year.”

Fox Chapel advanced to the Class AAA championship match but lost to defending champ Lower Merion, 3-0.

WPIAL singles champion Luke Ross dissected Dan Trifoi, 6-0, 6-1, in 55 minutes to set the tone for South Allegheny. Ross displayed whip-like racquet head speed and had a flurry of sublimely place winners.

“I was happy with the way I served, and I was hitting my ground strokes well, too,” said Ross, a junior. “We've been looking forward to this all year. I know our seniors have been working really hard, and they were ready for this. We lost here in the finals my freshman year and it feels great to win it now.”

Ryan Gex beat Wyomissing's Ben Chen, 6-2, 6-2, at third singles, and the second doubles team of Neil Rana and Dylan Parda dispatched Owen Pendergast and Will Schreck, 6-2, 6-3, to clinch the title.

SA's No. 2, Sam Sauter, beat Wyomissing's Sergio Perez-Sanchez, 6-1, 6-3. The top doubles pairing of Brian Rosario and Don Gex defeated Izaak Weaver-Herrera and Ben Croft, 6-4, 6-4.

Sewickley advanced to the finals with a 3-0 win over Scranton Prep earlier Saturday in the semifinals, with Ross and the two doubles teams delivering the points. Wyomissing turned back Bishop Guilfoyle, 5-0, in the other semifinal.

Fox Chapel clipped District 1 semifinalist Council Rock North, 3-2, in the Class AAA morning session.

Lower Merion won the top singles and both doubles. Nos. 2 and 3 singles were declared as Did Not Finish.

Fox Chapel's Robby Shymansky lost to Lower Merion's Matthew Chen, 6-1, 6-4, at No. 1 singles. Jared Nord and Thomas Fennell lost to Lucas Kreuzer and Will Rieke, 6-3, 6-3, at No. 1 doubles, and Kurran Singh and Jay Kashyap were rebuffed by LM's Jared Robinson and Simon Sheintoch, 6-1, 6-3.

“It was a phenomenal season for us,” Foxes coach Alex Slezak said.

Jeff Dewees is a freelance writer.

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