WPIAL players dominate PIAA tennis semis
HERSHEY - The Upper St. Clair girls tennis team had a doubles pair and a singles player each as third seeds entering Friday's PIAA Class AAA championships, but that didn't seem to matter.
The Panthers doubles team of Amanda El-Tobgy and Carrie Miller and singles player Shayna Miller each won two matches, knocking off the top seed from District 11 in the process, to advance to today's semifinals at the Hershey Racquet Club. Matches begin at 9 a.m.
Upper St. Clair, the defending PIAA and WPIAL team champions, were the only local team to advance both a singles player and a doubles team to today's action.
"I think the girls are still high from winning the state team championship (last weekend)," Upper St. Clair coach Marcy Bruce said. "They seem focused. They know what they need to do to win (today)."
Shayna Miller, who defeated top seed Anne Eiskowitz of Parkland in the first round, 6-3, 6-4, and Manheim Township's Kim Harclerode, 1-6, 6-3, 6-2, in the quarterfinals, said she and her teammates gained confidence after winning the PIAA Class AAA team title as well as the WPIAL team crown.
"We want it bad," Shayna Miller said. "It is so exciting to be here and to get this far. Every player on this team has experience, and if we play our game we can go a long way."
Carrie Miller and El-Tobgy downed the No. 1 seed Northampton squad of Kristina Snyder and Kelly Snyder, 6-2, 6-4, and then defeated Ali Moyer and Hilary Teeter of Gettysburg, 6-1, 6-2, in a quarterfinal. Carrie Miller and El-Tobgy said they feel their games are starting to click. Both also are playing more aggressively.
In addition to the Upper St. Clair trio, two WPIAL singles players and three doubles teams also advanced to the semis.
In Class AAA, defending WPIAL champion Michaela Kissell, of Greater Latrobe, cruised in a pair of two-set matches, only losing four games. Defending WPIAL doubles players Christie D'Achille and Sabrina Smyers from North Allegheny also advanced by defeating Allderdice's Emma Leibowicz and Julia Green, who won a first round match over a team from Lower Merion because of an injury forfeit.
"We played awesome," Smyers said. "We were thinking positively in both matches. I think we have it figured out how games can mix so we can play well."
In Class AA action, Alexandra Kaluza of Beaver advanced in singles. Bishop Canevin's Meghan Stubblebine and Patty Kaczmarek, the WPIAL doubles champion, won two matches yesterday to advance as did Natalie Castagnero and Shannon Benic of the Ellis School. Castagnero and Benic are total opposites but when they get on the court they play like one. They have to get past defending champions Ashley and Courtney Reed of Wyomissing to make it to the final.
The Canevin players said they had some incentive after losing in the first round of last weekend's PIAA team championship after winning the WPIAL Class AA team crown.
"We just need to continue to play our game (today)," Stubblebine said. "We have to continue making the shots that got us here."
Kaluza said it takes some time to get used to the glass-like courts at the club, but once she did, she felt she played well and a has a good chance to do well today.
Some surprises from yesterday were North Allegheny's Kim Whelan, who lost in the first round after reaching the final last year. WPIAL Class AA singles champion Annie Houghton of Quaker Valley lost in the quarterfinals.
Three WPIAL singles players and four doubles teams advance to the semifinals of the PIAA tennis championships.