ShareThis Page
High School Sports

Fox Chapel's balance, experience will be key

| Friday, March 21, 2008

Fox Chapel is looking to have another strong season in Class AAA boys tennis.

Since the Foxes graduated only one senior last year in Evan Verbofsky, who is now playing for Division III Denison, they are not lacking experience.

The team's lone senior in the top six positions is Jonathan Jordan. However, his veteran presence does not guarantee him the No. 1 singles spot.

"We have six guys on our team who could conceivably play singles," Fox Chapel coach Dave Prevost said. "The guys will be able to challenge each other in practice week in and week out, so they will probably rotate their positions."

Jordan will be challenged by juniors Jon Hahalyak and twins Sal and Rico Certo, sophomore Brad Portnoy, and freshman Shankar Rajupet.

Prevost has determined that the three singles positions, the first doubles team, and half of the second doubles team will come from this arsenal of players.

"It's going to be incumbent upon me to figure out personalities for who would make the strongest doubles team," Prevost said. "To compete with Shady Side, we're going to have to win one or even both doubles matches."

Shady Side Academy has a strong contingent of players back as well, including Apollo resident Josh Ferracio. Ferraccio made a strong showing by advancing to the consolation finals of the WPIAL Class AAA doubles tournament last year along with his partner Chris Mengel. However, the Shady Side Academy duo was not expected to compete in the tournament and, in fact, were replacements for teammates who could not compete in the section tournament. Mengel, a sophomore, and Ferraccio, a senior, will resume their normal spots as the No. 1 and No. 2 singles players for the Indians, as they look to have a strong 2008 season.

"We're looking to win the state team championship first," said Mengel, a Fox Chapel resident. "I think we improved over last year since we have some new guys coming up and others getting older. I think last year we had a legitimate chance, too."

Ferraccio has a strong chance to compete on his own as well. The senior is a two-time WPIAL qualifier and hopes he has saved his best tennis for his senior season.

Robert Livorio will return as Valley's No. 1 singles player. Livorio qualified for the WPIAL tournament not only as a singles competitor but as a doubles competitor along with his cousin, Patrick Brennan. The duo won one match before losing in the quarterfinals.

"He's smart on the tennis court. He's extremely intelligent and always thinking," said Valley coach Rachael Link of Livorio. "As soon as he entered into practice, he immediately became a leader."

Livorio started the tennis season late, as he was competing in the PIAA wwimming championships. The junior also plays soccer for Valley in the fall.

"He should be the leader in the section singles," Link said. "I think the team title for the section will come down to Burrell, Indiana, and us."

Riverview returns senior Dan Chirdon. Chirdon was the runner-up in the Section 4-AA tournament last season and qualified for the WPIAL tournament.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com 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