Fox Chapel, Quaker Valley girls win WPIAL doubles titles
For the second straight year, Fox Chapel junior Laurel Shymansky walked away from the WPIAL Class AAA girls tennis doubles championship with a gold medal draped around her neck.
This time, Shymansky teamed with freshman Amanda Nord to defeat North Allegheny's Tina Li and Eugenia Lee in a back-and-forth three-set battle, 6-3, 2-6, 7-5.
“The first set we were in control, the second set they took the momentum and then it was pretty even all the way until the end,” Shymansky said.
The North Allegheny tandem of Li and Lee pushed the Fox Chapel duo to the brink in the third set, but Shymansky and Nord were effective in using their ball-placement and agility to outmaneuver the powerful style of play employed by the two Tigers.
“When I played in the finals in states, I played against Tina (Li) and that was another three-set match,” Shymansky said. “So I was ready for it, and I just told Amanda, ‘We can win this,' ”
Nord played the well at the net and returned serve after blistering serve from Li and Lee. Despite this being her first WPIAL finals match, the freshman said she didn't feel any pressure going into the crucial last set.
“I felt really good out there,” Nord said. “I just wanted to win.”
In the Class AA title match, a clash between two pairs of sisters was settled with Quaker Valley's Farrah and Zoe Bojalad earning a 7-5, 6-4 win over Beaver's Mattie and Ann Taylor.
The key to the match came in the first set, when the Taylor sisters' early 5-2 lead prompted a change of strategy for the Bojalad pair.
“We decided we would both stay back off the net, because we both weren't playing well at the net today. We started playing better after that,” said Farrah, a junior. “It's the first time we have done it in the tournament. It definitely made the difference.”
After the change of scheme, the QV girls came back to take the first set and began to settle into a comfort zone, countering difficult volleys from their Beaver opponents to take control of the match.
“We became really consistent with our shots, which was important,” said Zoe, a freshman. “We hit a few good lob shots too.”
Farrah added: “I think moving back on the court helped us a lot. I was running around a lot, but it gave me a lot of chances to finish with my backhand.”
The Bojalad duo, along with the rest of the Class AA and AAA finals participants, advance to the PIAA girls tennis doubles championships, Oct. 31 at Hershey Racquet Club.
South Park's Alyssa Snodgrass and Savannah Curry also advanced after defeating Valley's Emily and Catherine Armstrong, 7-5, 6-4, in the WPIAL Class AA consolation match.
In Class AAA, the final bid for states was secured by Peters Township's Jenn Holcombe and Megan Hixon after their hard-fought 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 consolation match victory over Lindsey Miller and Devin Gramley from Shady Side Academy.
Kevin Lohman is a freelance writer.