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Fox Chapel advances to final

| Friday, Oct. 22, 2004

NEW KENSINGTON -- Like a steam locomotive, the Fox Chapel girls tennis team seems to gain more speed and power with every match.

Fox Chapel continued its remarkable streak of not surrendering a point as it defeated North Allegheny, 5-0, in the WPIAL Class AAA team semifinals Thursday at the Valley Sports Complex.

The Foxes' next stop is the WPIAL championship match, set for 3 p.m. today at North Allegheny High School.

The Foxes (16-0), who will take on Upper St. Clair for the title, are already guaranteed a spot in the PIAA playoffs because the top two teams automaticaly advance.

"The matches get tougher the farther we go," No. 1 singles player Vanessa Steiner said. "It's really exciting."

It was an energy-filled atmosphere as North Allegheny and Fox Chapel parents, fans and teammates cheered on the players.

Coach Emma Dieffenbach said the Lady Foxes get their strength from the team.

"Twenty girls travel together as a team, supporting each other and cheering each other on," Dieffenbach said. "It makes us strong."

Dieffenbach said every member of the team has a job including making signs, making up cheers for the match and even organizing food. They work together like a well-oiled machine.

Elyse Steiner has returned to the starting lineup in the No. 1 doubles position. Steiner, who was the No. 1 singles player, is recuperating from a back injury suffered in a section singles match.

Steiner said she is disappointed because she isn't in the singles spot, but is happy to be playing with teammate Sarah Short at doubles.

"Sarah and I compliment each other on the court," Steiner said. "I'm just glad to be playing again."

Her injury still appears to be bothersome as she quickly applied ice to her back after her match was over Thursday.

The Foxes played Upper St. Clair earlier this season in an exhibition match. The match was called due to bad weather while Fox Chapel was leading.

Dieffenbach said her team has the spirit and ability to win.

"It will be a tough match, but we're seeing progression at every match," Dieffenbach said. "It's making us tougher and tougher. We are rising to the challenge."

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