Tennis game coming together for Sewickley Academy grad Sam Sauter at St. Joseph’s
After two injury-riddled seasons, things are falling into place for Sewickley Academy graduate and St. Joseph’s junior men’s tennis player Sam Sauter.
Sauter, 20, and his doubles partner led the Hawks in the season-opening Villanova Invitational, reaching the final of the Wildcat Draw.
In the St. Joseph’s Invitational a week later, Sauter made it to the semifinals in the fourth singles flight, where he lost to the eventual champion from Villanova, 6-2, 6-2.
Sauter won a pair of matches to reach the semis, including a 6-7, 7-5, 10-8 decision over a player from Hartford.
St. Joseph’s coach Ian Crookenden said things are starting to jell for Sauter. He expects him to contend for a doubles spot because of his size (6-foot-3) and strength.
“He is looking to be a good adult player,” Crookenden said.
Sauter hopes to be part of the contingent headed to the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Regional tournament Oct. 17-22 in Virginia.
The regional champions and finalists will qualify for the Oracle ITA National Championships on Nov. 6-10 in California.
Sauter, who grew up in Presto, broke his foot as a freshman, then reinjured it last season.
He finished last season with a 2-8 overall record in singles and a 4-7 record in doubles. The Hawks, who are based in Philadelphia, were 6-16.
He is grateful to be healthy.
“I definitely appreciate it more — love tennis more — than I ever have,” said Sauter, a three-time PIAA Class AA singles tournament qualifier who helped Sewickley Academy to two PIAA titles. “Good came out of the injury.”
Crookenden said Sauter is someone who wants it so badly, he overthinks things. He said Sauter, who is studying computer science, is a great kid.
Sauter, whose mother, Missie Berteotti, played 14 years on the LPGA tour, has dedicated time to the mental part of the game.
He reads books, as well as watches tapes Crookenden gives him, on the subject.
“I think I’m going to do really, really great things,” Sauter said.
Karen Kadilak is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.